crafting with wool
To help show you the many different and magical ways that wool can be used as a craft material we have been busy putting together some ideas below to inspire!
Wool is all natural, renewable, ecological and biodegradable. We stock lots of toys made from wool, and craft materials too such as knitting, felting, weaving, wool supplies and craft kits. Wool has so many benefits for the young child, for the environment and is so unbelievably versatile as a craft material.
Every year we celebrate Wool Week, hoping to share with you our love of this material, and this year it runs from the 7th October to the 20th October 2019. Its aim is to help highlight wool’s wonderful natural performance qualities and ecological benefits. Check out The Campaign For Wool website if you want to find out more.
Here’s some inspiration for different ways you can craft with wool!
felted wool pine cone mouse
We made this sweet little pine cone mouse by felting carded wool around a pine cone – a quick way to get the body shape and also makes it feel like you can feel the little mouse’s body inside! A warm and tactile little toy to hold in your hand.
1. Wrap carded wool around a pine cone. 2. Keep going until you have a large fluffy egg shape. 3. Repeatedly submerge the body into warm soapy water (pure olive soap works well) and rub the body in your hands to felt the wool and make it feel tighter until it feels matted and firm. 4. Lay out strands of carded wool to make the tail. 5. Sprinkle soapy water on the top. 6. Lightly roll it for the strands to come together. 7. Keep rolling and adding more soapy water. 8. Let the body and tail dry. 9. Sew or needle felt the tail onto the body and cut out little ears – we used pale stockinette. 10. Pinch the ears at the bottom and sew onto the body. 11. Using cotton thread sew a little nose and whiskers. 12. Embroider some eyes on and then your mouse is ready!
magic wool doll and swan
Carded merino wool , also known as magic wool, is a soft, vibrant material, perfect for making fairies and characters, and with such a whimsical feel it really feeds the imagination perfect for story puppets or for the season table as done in Waldorf kindergartens.
We sell beautiful organic plant-dyed fairy wool and also packs of different coloured silken merino wool – like our rainbow merino mix, this and a pipe cleaner is all you need to make most of the creations, we had a go and made the doll and swan above.
To Make the Doll
1. First make the head by winding fleece into a firm ball, then gently put layers of merino wool over the ball and tie underneath with some of the wool. 2. Then place a pipe cleaner tightly under the neck to form the arms. 3. Wrap more flesh coloured merino wool around the pipe cleaner to form hands and forearms. 4. Then to make the dress, wrap coloured strands of merino wool around the arms, and then form a body by just adding more and more layers. 5. Keep wrapping layers to build the shape of a dress. 6. Needle-felt the base a little to help her stand up. 7. Put some wool fleece as hair on the doll, needle felting it on as a centre parting to attach it to the head. You can then add plaits or accessories as you wish.
To Make the Swan
1. Form a 2D swan shape with pipe cleaners. 2. Then start wrapping white merino wool around the pipe cleaner. 3. Make a soft ball of wool for body and nestle inside the shape and then wrap more merino wool around this to form the rounded body. 4. Lay some strands of the soft merino wool together to make a wing shape. 5. Needle felt the wings on just where they would attach on the bird and let the fluffy wool be the rest of the feathers. 6. Use a little black and orange merino wool wrapped around the beak and needle-felt it a bit to make it tight and more formed.
There are more fairies, mermaids, dolls and animals in these lovely books, and we have more magic wool books too if you want more inspiration!
magic wool flower garland
Another idea for the beautiful silken rainbow merino wool is to make a flower garland to wear! Perfect for making a birthday child feel special – you could sweetly do the number of flowers the same as the child’s age, for festival days or for dressing up!
1. Lay out the green strands to plait, putting aside your flower colours. 2. Clamp one end and then plait the lengths of merino wool. 3. Continue plaiting until long enough to go around the child’s head. 4. Tie the plait into a circular head band. 5. For the flowers wrap the silken merino wool around a flat ruler. 6. Add different strands of colours for interest. 7. Put some thread through the middle. 8. Slide the wrapped tube off the ruler. 9. Pull the thread tight and knot so the two ends of the tube meet making a circular donut shape. 10. Tie a knot in a length of merino wool for your flower centre. 11. Push the two ends either side of the knot through the middle of the donut shape, leaving the knot on top. 12. Sew the flower and the flower centre to the plait, repeat until you have 3 or 4 beautiful flowers on your flower garland and then its ready to wear!
felted bag from carded fleece
Felting is a really magical process where you can turn a fluffy cloud of carded wool in just a few steps into a really strong, beautiful and useful textile without any spinning or weaving and fun for all ages. Just wonderful! Here I made a bag by felting carded felting wool and using plant-dyed felting wool to give it its dreamy colours.
1. Lay out strands of carded wool horizontally. 2. Then build it up by laying the next layer vertically. 3. Keep criss-crossing each layer until you have about 5 layers of a fluffy cloud! 4. Then add plant-dyed wool to add a pattern or picture and colour, you can mix the colours by carding them. 5. Carry on until you’ve finished your colour layer. 6. Then put a piece of netting over and sprinkle warm soapy water all over. 7. Keep adding the soapy water until it is soaked and you can start to pat and squash it down. 8. Rub all over with a circular motion keeping hands flat. 9. Rub a piece of olive soap all over to really help it felt and the fibres mat and become more dense. 10. Do both sides and then peel off the netting, folding in any wispy edges. 11. Lay the felted piece down on some bubble wrap and then roll them together around a dowel, securing with an elastic band. 12. Keep rolling for 5/10 minutes and then open it up and give the felted piece a quarter turn, roll back up and repeat for each side. 13. Remove the felted piece, scrunch it up and scrub it on a washboard, this is the milling process and shrinks the felt even more making it an even stronger and denser textile. 14. Thoroughly rinse the felted piece to remove any soap residue. 15. Squeeze as much water out as possible (there will be lots!). 16. Squeeze it even more! 17. Pull the felted piece into shape and iron it flat. 18. Leave it to dry. 19. For making into a sewing bag, it can make it stronger for holding scissors etc. if you sew a lining to the inside, so cut out some fabric and pin to inside of felted piece. 20. Blanket stitch the lining to the inside. 21. Fold the felted piece as shown to form the bag. 22. Sew each side together as shown. 23 Using embroidery thread or wool yarn, finger-knit a length to form a button loop. 24. Sew the loop onto the top edge of the bag. 25. Sew a button onto the bag to be able to close it and all done! Fluffy cloud to strong, beautiful and useful item – magical!
felted changing seasons tree
You can also make lovely felted pictures and wall hangings. Here we made a special one that can change with the seasons! We felted a picture of a bare tree – using our Organic Felting Wool and then laying the Merino Rainbow Mix and Hair Colours Merino Mix to create the tree base and sky before wet felting. We then sewed the top edge with thread to a small wooden branch to hang it on the wall. With some of our Nature Colours Merino Mix pack or Organic Plant Dyed Fairy Wool you can then add some silken fluffy merino wool to match what the trees outside are doing in each season, the merino wool and fairy wool just naturally clings to the felted fibre to create the seasonal embellishments, then can be pulled off to change as leaves grow, change colour and fall. A magical, seasonal and living piece of art for children to have great fun with too!
We have lots of other lovely crafts to make with wool, wool’s wonderful elasticity makes it easy to knit or weave giving beautiful results, and the wool felt crafts are so easy and lovely to hold and touch… check out our crafts section for even more wonderful crafts with the wonderful fibre of wool!