This is a quick and fun project to make with children – in an hour or so your child can make a masterpiece! Most children tend to love the tactility of felt making – the fluffiness of the wool top and the squishiness of the felt once its all wet.
To make a flower picture you will need:
A sushi mat
Plastic tray (cat litter or garden cutting)
Piece of tutu netting
Merino wool top/roving (we used white, blue, green, yellow and purple)
Merino wool yarn (we used Rowan Biggy)
Soap (liquid and bar)
Empty plastic milk carton
2 Rubber bands
Wash out a plastic milk carton and punch some holes through the plastic lid to make a shaker bottle.
Put in some warm water and a good squirt of liquid soap (ecover washing-up liquid is suitable).
Unroll the sushi mat and place it in the plastic tray.
Pull off tufts of white merino roving and lay it vertically on the sushi mat as shown below:
Pull off tufts of green and blue merino roving and lay it horizontally on the sushi mat as shown below:
Again, pull off tufts of green and blue merino roving, but this time lay it vertically and put the blue down first so that the green overlaps the blue at the join (makes it look like grass against the sky):
Carefully lay a piece of tutu net over the wool and sprinkle soapy water all over it so that it’s wet but not swimming, then gently push down all over until the water is taken up by all the wool and it’s all quite flat:
Carefully remove the net and place pieces of yarn to look like stems. Take small pieces of roving and twist and pull at them to make them look like light, fluffy clouds then put them in place to look like flower heads:
Put the net back over the sushi mat and push down gently on the flower stems and heads and surplus water should soak up through (if not, then sprinkle some more on). Rub a wet bar of soap (we used Olive Oil Soap) over the surface of the net being careful not to ‘drag’ the fibres underneath the net. Then gently rub the wool (through the net) in small, circular motion to begin the felting process:
You’ll need to rub the wool for a few minutes and then it will look as if it is beginning to hold together – however, be sure to carefully release the net from the wool every minute or so because the fibres will start to travel through the net (and it will be difficult to remove the net from your picture if you felt it too far with the net in place). Once you are happy that the felt is holding together, put the net aside and roll the felt tightly in the sushi mat:
Gently squeeze out any surplus water:
Put rubber bands around the mat to keep it in a roll:
Gently Roll the mat backwards and forwards for a minute:
Undo the mat and peel the felt off (the fibres will stick a little to the mat). Lay it back on the mat with the underneath side up and repeat the rolling process for a minute.
Undo the mat and turn the felt so that the next rolling will be from side to side.
The felt will shrink in the direction it’s rolled, so repeat the rolling until the felt holds together firmly and it’s the shape you want.
Put the felt into a bowl of tepid water to remove the soap. Do not handle the felt roughly at this stage because it will distort. Do not wring it, but place it on a towel and roll it up then squeeze the towel. Flatten the felt and put it to dry on a rack (a cake cooling rack is ideal)
When the felt is dry, sew beads into the centre of the flowerheads.
The picture is now finished. You can pin it straight to the wall or mount it on a stretched canvas as in the photo – we used cross stitches around the edge (matching the thread to the wool) and some stitching in the flowerhead as the beads make the felt heavy in that area. And of course, the young artist could sign the canvas as Emily has done!