Sunday, December 12, 2010

How to Make Needle Felted Mushrooms and baby ferns - a fun craft for even the craft-phobic!

I don't consider myself a "crafty" person, but I so enjoy needle felting. It's easy, relaxing and even a novice can turn out a nice product. It is an inexpensive craft to both start and maintain.

Here are the instructions for how to make some really cute Needle Felted Mushrooms and baby ferns (called fiddleheads). For basic instructions on the technique, please view this YouTube video before beginning.

100% wool roving (Hobby Lobby carries small amounts from "Felt Works" for $1.99 that are perfect for this project. For larger amounts, order online.)
Felting needle refill (here it is at Hobby Lobby for $7.99) You will use the needle alone, not in a holder.
piece of styrofoam
Here is a nice needle and foam set for $3.99
Here is a starter set for $19.95

First take a nice amount of white wool roving for the mushroom cap. Always make the cap first so you can make an appropriate sized stem for it later.

Shape it into a circle. It doesn't have to be perfect. Start punching into the wool. The fibers become tangled and start to compact together to form the cap of the mushroom.  WARNING: the needle is very sharp and very brittle. Don't do this while you are distracted or when watching TV. You WILL poke yourself and it won't be fun. Don't bend the needle. Go in straight and come out staight. Go slow at first.

Punch several times and move the mushroom cap to prevent it from being embedded into the styrofoam. Turn it over and get the other side too. CAREFULLY punch the side of the cap to form the shape you like.

Now let's do the stem. Take a long piece of roving and roll it up.

Once it is rolled up, hold it tight and start punching where the loose fibers were the end of the roll so that the fibers tangle and it doesn't come unrolled. Then start punching it all over the stem so it is nice and firm. Leave the ends of the stem loose so that you can attach them later to the cap of the mushroom and the "dirt" base we will make later.

Now attach the stem to the cap. Punch from the underside of the mushroom cap all around at an angle to secure the stem. Be sure and go straight in and out at the same angle or your needle with break.

Here is the finished mushroom.

Uh oh, I got my yougest hooked on this! I would NOT recommend a child do this craft. He only begged so much and I constantly supervised him. He did poke himself.

My son will demonstrate how to make the "dirt". Take a nice amount of brown or black wool roving and form it into a sort of oval. If you are putting it into a container, use the base of the container as your guide to how big your "dirt" should be. The more you poke it, the flatter it will be. Don't get it too flat. You want to have some fibers to help the mushrooms and baby ferns stick to it. You can poke on the sides of the "dirt" to make the diameter smaller. Now attach the bottom of the mushrooms into the dirt the same way you attached the stems to the cap. That's it!

Baby Ferns or "fiddleheads". They seem to go naturally with the mushrooms. I used green and brown roving.

First, I made a long "snake" with the green roving. I rubbed it between my hands to compact the fibers a bit and then I needled it a bit to make it firm.

Then I wound the snake around a bamboo skewer.

I took it off the skewer and needled it a bit to keep the curl from coming apart.

I took a very small amount of brown roving. This is the "hair" of the baby fern.

I layed it gentle on the top of the baby fern and needled it a few times to keep it in place. Gently here.

Here is my first attempt at a "cricket".

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