Who says you can’t felt an emotion like love? The two do not have to be hard – you CAN felt, and you CAN love.
In this post, you’ll learn how to create a simple felted heart.
I was looking for something a little different than the norm to help young elementary-aged kids to learn how to felt, and even though I’ve been felting for awhile I needed something that was going to work in a more fast-paced classroom. As always, the Universe heard my thoughts and I stumbled upon an article on how to felt a heart patch on a shirt.
Why didn’t I think of that?
So, I had to give it a try. I felted a cool little heart within minutes, and then Punkee (6)- always my artsy guinea pig – had to give it a go. She created one within 20 minutes. She was so happy with it she mailed it to her best friend (her compassionate, crystal-child self).
Anyone can do this. And here’s how:
Objective: to create a neat felted heart using a cookie-cutter as a guide
Deeper Objective: to create a heart-shaped masterpiece felting dyed sheep’s wool as a gift for oneself or for someone you love.
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1. felting needle
2. finger guards
3. foam block
4. wool roving
5. heart cookie cutters in two sizes
1. Take enough wool to fit inside of the heart in a small bundle. If you use too much it’ll be a bit bulky, but if you use too little you can always add on.
2. Place fingers (with guards) on the edge of the cookie cutter and begin felting by moving the needle up and down fairly quickly. You will find your rhythm. I always tell my students that they can stop, take a break, and keep going… it’s not a race, and they can go as slow or fast as they want (but they don’t want to lose control and end up sticking their hands).
3. Continue to felt around the edges of the heart and then move towards the center. With the black foam blocks I found that the child has to peel the heart up every once in awhile or it gets stuck – or felted – to the block, then the back is pretty hairy-looking. This is why I like to felt around the edge of the cookie-cutter first so that the shape is basically formed, which makes it easier to peel it off of the block.
4. After you are confident your heart shape is felted enough, you can take the cookie-cutter away and continue to felt with the needle until you’re happy with the heart. Make sure it’s firm. You can do this by gently pulling on it, and if it stays together really well then you’re good to go. If you find that the wool pulls apart too easily than you need to felt it together a little more.
Making the tiny heart:
For this particular felting experiment, I like using the multi-sized heart cookie cutters because of the option of felting a smaller heart within the larger heart. This is a great Mother’s Day or Father’s Day gift, or for someone special in general because you have my heart.
5. Next, take the tiny heart cookie-cutter and place it in the center of the large felted heart. Take a very small amount of roving of another color and use your pinky to push it into the tiny heart.
6. Go slower as you push the needle up and down since the heart is small enough to where it’s easier for your hands to get stuck by the needle’s sharp tip. Go around the inside edge until you are satisfied with the shape (you can keep lifting the cookie-cutter up to see how it’s going).
7. When you’re happy with your work, pat yourself on the back… after you’ve put your needle down.
The Dimensions Feltworks Felting Starter Kit was my first one ever. It’s very, very basic and the block lasted through a tree frog project and then was too thin to use. The needles held up well and I still have one of them.
The Heidifeathers Needle Felting Starter Kit is a fun and beautiful kit to begin with. I love the box it comes in, the whole assortment of roving colors, and the large foam block. Everything looks whimsical and natural, but my only reservation are the finger guards.
I am so very paranoid about getting stuck with the needle – especially the thought of any of the kids getting stuck – that I never take any chances. I always shake my head and tsk tsk at the courage many folks have to felt without guards. After getting stuck only a couple of times (and the wild howls of pain that erupt even from an adult) I strongly suggest getting the guards.
Add some science to your art:
From a classroom perspective, I explained to the students about friction and showed them the tiny barbs along the edge of the needle. We talked about how the process of the needle continuously moving up and down (creating friction) causes the wool to make tiny knots, which is the felting process.
I also read to them a great book called Weaving the Rainbow by George Ella Lyon. I’m a sucker for watercolor, and these illustrations are beautifully done.
Here is an example of the setup I had when introducing the lesson on our morning circle. It was more consolidated and aesthetically pleasing on the shelf, but I feel the kids were already so excited to do this work that I could have put it in a garbage bag and they still would made a beeline for it during work cycle!
** I am not receiving any sort of payment by any of the companies I have linked to. These are solely based on my experiences and personal opinions.