Thursday, September 18, 2014

DIY: A Felted Ball Mobile Tutorial

 My baby girl needed a mobile. And I wanted to make one! So I put together a felted ball mobile and decided to make a tutorial of it, in case you wanted to make one too. Some people have found wet felting to be an intimidating process to try, but it can really be pretty simple. This is a nice beginner project to try to build up confidence. It is hard to get this one wrong! I use a bit of needle felting in the beginning to help out with the wet felting later, but you might be able to skip this part.

What You Will Need:
plain white wool roving
multiple colours of wool roving
a felting needle (this is a special needle that has barbs on it)
a grater
hot water
white vinegar

And for the mobile assembly:
copper wire
wire cutters
needle nosed pliers
white thread
hot glue gun

Step 1:
Pull off about a 5inch long section of white roving. I always pull it apart and never cut it, as cutting leaves weird short fibres.

 Step 2:
Form the white wool into a loose ball.
 Step 3:
Use your needle felting needle to stab it a few times until it holds its shape as a ball.
 This is what it looks like after jabbing it a few times all around.
 Step 4:
Spread your coloured roving apart by pulling it.
 Step 5:
Wrap the coloured roving around your ball to loosely cover it. Pull off the rest of the roving that you don't need.
 Step 6:
Use your needle felting needle to stab all around the ball again, securing the colour in place and making sure that all the white spots are covered. Pull off more coloured roving and use it to cover any white spots if you still find you have holes.
 Your ball should look something like this when it is ready to be wet felted.
 Step 7:
Move to a place where it is ok to get wet. I like to use a bath tub. Now you'll need some soap and a grater along with a watering can filled with really hot water (for this wet felting project, you could probably just use the tap).
 Step 8:
Grate some soap flakes onto your ball.
 Step 9:
Sprinkle some really hot water onto your ball. Make sure it isn't too hot though- you have to be able to handle the ball.
Step 10:
 Pick up the ball and squeeze it in your hands repeatedly. You should feel it start to shrink up right away.
 Step 11:
Roll the ball around in your hands (like how you would make a play dough ball). Use lots of pressure. Within minutes the ball will have shrunk right down and will feel solid.
 This is what the felted ball will look like when it is done.
Step 12:
Rinse the ball under lukewarm water until all the soap is out of it.
 Step 13:
Soak the ball in 10 parts water, 1 part white vinegar. The vinegar neutralizes any soap that may be remaining in the felt. If you skip this stage, the felt may eventually rot. Soak them for 10 minutes.
Step 14:
Rinse the balls under water until you get most of the vinegar out and let them dry. This took about two days before they were fully dry, but I am impatient and assembled my mobile while they were still wet. They dried just fine while hanging in the air.

How to assemble the mobile:
Take a pair of wire cutters and cut a roughly 6inch piece from the copper wire. Use the needle nosed pliers to roll the ends under and gently bend a curve into the wire. Cut as many of these as you need for your style of mobile. I cut 3 6inch pieces, and one larger 10inch piece.
Next, thread your needle and put a knot in the end. Pull this through one ball, then make another knot about 1.5inches above the ball and thread another ball onto the string. Tie this onto one of the loops on the copper wire piece. Repeat for the other side. Then use a thread to attach this piece from the centre to a loop on another copper wire piece (see the picture of the mobile). Build from the the bottom up and balance the mobile by sliding the threads. When everything is in place how you like it, use a tiny glob of hot glue gun glue to keep the threads in place and from sliding. Make one large thread to hang from the ceiling. DONE! Enjoy your mobile! I know my little girl loves hers!

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