I’m not sure where the last 7 weeks went, but my unintentional break has finally come to an end – just in time to squeeze in some felted Santa ornaments, before the trees come down!
- wool batting or roving in a variety of colours
- bowl for water
- dishwashing liquid
- felting needles (medium and course)
- needle and decorative thread
1. There are many fun Santa images to be found on the internet, and while the traditional colour combinations are great, there are plenty of other possibilities as well. The amount of wool roving required to make a Santa will depend on how big you want him to be.
Cut a length of wool roving (mine was about 8 inches long), and separate into thin sections lengthwise. Take one section and gently spread it apart.
Take the next section, cut it in half, and layer it on top of the first horizontally. Continue layering like this, alternating directions.
Roll it into a ball shape, and rotate gently between your hands until it holds that shape. It will shrink to about half the size once wet, so make sure you use enough roving.
2. Prepare a bowl of water, as hot as your hands can tolerate. Add a small amount of dishwashing liquid, and mix together. Hold the ball you have made and submerge in the water. Allow the air bubbles to be released, ensuring the inside of the ball is getting wet. Remove the ball from the water, and gently rotate in your hands. Make sure it gets nice and soapy, adding more dishwashing liquid directly to the ball if necessary. This, along with the hot water, is what enables the felting process to occur.
Alternate between rolling the ball in your hands, and dipping it in the hot water. The ball will eventually become firmer, using gentle pressure. As it firms up, you can begin to shape it into a flat oval, by applying pressure when you roll it in your hands. Set aside, and continue to make as many as you need, changing the water as necessary, so it continues to be hot.
3. Begin adding features and colours with a felting needle. I found medium and course needles worked best. Fine ones were great, but broke very easily, at least when I used them! To add shapes, hold them in place and repeatedly poke a felting needle on and around the piece of roving, until it attaches to the surface.
Apply the eyes, nose and mouth first, before adding the beard, moustache and hat.
Using a felting needle is best left to older kids, since younger ones can poke their fingers. They can, instead, be involved in making the oval shape, and selecting colours.