Some of the quickest, simplest, and most beautiful holiday gifts can be made through felting. It is faster than knitting or crochet, and can be light and airy, or heavy and water repelling. Felting is versatile, and does not require a lot of equipment, just wool, soap, water, and time.
Felting is fun and gifts made by felting are unusual so they are appreciated. Felting is an art form. It works up faster than knitting or crochet and so it is a really good way to make some fun, useful, and unique gifts in a short time.
It’s time to make some simple gifts from wool and release your inner child and play. Needle Felting and wet felting are great crafts to do with school age kids, too, so don’t keep all the fun to yourself. I surfed the net just for you and found some fantastic woolly crafts to help you on your way to a relaxing. loving, and happy gift season. These range in difficulty from Easy to Expert. Be sure to book mark this page and come back often to check it out for inspiration.
Why wool? Wool is biodegradable, natural, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and malleable. Wool is renewable, and often locally produced. Most wool will felt easily with soap and water or with a felting needle, the exception is down-breed sheep and superwash treated fibers. To do these felting crafts you will need natural wool roving, batting, or washed fleece, not polyester craft felt.
Each year we pick someone who is lonely, or needy and include them in our gift giving to brighten their season, let them know that they are not forgotten, and give them hope. Receiving a homemade gift lets the recipient know that they aren’t expected to return the favor. These 12 gift ideas are inexpensive but fused with love. So as you look at the list, think outside of your own family and look for someone who you can include in your blessing list, too, not to add to your burden but to increase your JOY.
To do needle felting you will need:
- Small amounts of wool roving in various colors or you can dye your own naturally. You can also use carded or combed wool locks from clean and washed fleece, if you don’t have roving.
- Felting needles and an optional felting needle punch
- A felting foam to work on
- An idea of what you want to make (use this list for inspiration)
To do wet felting you will need:
- Wool roving in the colors of your choice
- Natural Soap
- Hot and cold water
- Bubble wrap
These felting projects are simple and easy to make, as long as you know the basics of felting. Some do require sewing, but you can get by with hand-sewing for many of them if you do not have a machine. Enjoy browsing the list, and deciding what you would like to try. Felting is also a great introduction into the wonderful world of natural wool, however, if you have a wool allergy it is inadvisable to work with wool.
Also, when working with wool roving you may be tempted to try cutting the wool roving with scissors. Don’t do that. Wool roving will slide apart easily in your hands if you just hold your hands about 6 inches apart and pull. If you cut the wool, you will weaken the fibers and your final felt won’t be as strong or as smooth. So play with the roving, coax it gently apart and you will have felting success.
1. Felted Wool Garland can be themed after any of the autumn, winter, or spring holidays. Use needle felting to create suitable shapes, either free-hand or using cookie cutters as molds. Felt each shape till firm, and then felt one end of the shape to your garland string or yarn. Combine shapes and colors for best results, this technique can also be used for wreaths, tree decorations, or table top decorations.
2. Needle Felted Sheep can be a cute option for winter holiday decorations or gifts. Use pipe cleaners to create the basic skeleton (legs, back, head) of the sheep. Wrap naturally colored wool roving around the pipe cleaner skeleton and lightly needle felt in place. Add a string to hang, by tying it around the body, or leave string-less if desired. You can also do firmly needle felted sheep, without the pipe cleaner skeleton, but the legs do end up being a bit harder to do.
3. Nuno-felted lattice work scarf. This is a great teacher appreciation gift that looks stylish, and is easy to make unique and personalized. We’ve made these scarves for teachers, with added details like music notes and a treble clef for specific teachers. You lay out thin strips of roving on bubble wrap, both length-wise and width-wise. Then dampen with soap and water, and sandwich between more bubble wrap. Felt using the bubble wrap to agitate.
4. If someone on your gift list is a sewer, a new pincushion might be a fun gift. Use needle felting to create a firm ball, cone, cube, or cup shape. Once the base shape is established and mostly firmly felted, add designs in other colors to create a teacup, apple, or other fun pincushion-esque design.
5. Build the washcloth into the soap with a simple felted soap. Start with regular roving and wrap it around a bar of hard soap. Needle felt lightly in place. Needle felt at an angle around the soap bar, being careful not to directly stab the soap (you will break your felting needle). when the base layer is lightly firmed, add colored roving and needle felt in a personalized design. When you’re happy with your needle felting, wet down the wool and soap and carefully start wet felting the wool layers to the bar of soap. Once you can no longer pull up wool fibers, and the wool layers seem tight to the bar, your soap is completed and can be set aside to dry. Add a rope to make an easy-use camping soap.
6. Create Needle Felted Hearts, personalized with names, dates, or initials if desired. These are great for mailing, and a great way to help remind your friends and family that you are thinking of them. These are also a great way to commemorate important dates, events, or anniversaries. Needle felt the base heart from natural colored roving. Felt until mostly firm. Cover with roving in the color of your choice, and felt down. When the felted heart is mostly firm, add your felting design with more needle felting, or with embroidery, buttons, beads, and more.
7. Densely felted wool balls make great soft-toys for kids, or dryer balls for adults. You can personalize the wool balls with needle felting, colored rovings, and more. Felt with a cat-ball inside to make cat toys if desired.
8. A Needle Felted Teddy Bear is a great gift for children and adults. Personalize the bear with needle felted or sewn accessories to match, or resemble, the recipients favorite character, or something they like collecting. You only need naturally colored roving, and some colored roving for the design elements.
9. Felting designs to personalize your knits or felted gifts. Use dissolvable interfacing to help transfer your design on the gift item. Needle felt in the design as traced or printed. Wash to remove interfacing, and dry flat or over a form. Great for use on felted hats, scarves, mittens, and even on knit sweaters, vests, and more.
10. You can create sculpted dolls, santas, and more with needle felting. These take a bit more patience and care than a quick needle felted project. Needle felt a firm base, and basic features before beginning to add the more personalized details. If you’re new to needle felting, start with a teddy or basic ball to help get an idea for how firm to make the felt if you want to do more intricate sculpting.
Felting projects from wool sweaters
And finally, some projects that use recycled wool sweaters — from the thrift store or from your own collection. These ones require some sewing but they can be sewn by hand if you don’t have a sewing machine.
For these projects, start by pre-felting the, to-be-upcycled, sweater in the washing machine. Yes, you get to put a wool garment through all the hot and cold cycles of the washing machine. Need the wool felt to be fluffy? throw it through the dryer too!
11. Up-cycle a sweater for these felted mittens, some sewing required. Make a paper pattern, ensure the thumb is wider than you think necessary (seam allowances!). Place the pattern on the lower edge of the sweater. The sweater’s waist ribbing makes good cuffs for the mittens. Cut out four mitten pieces, sew wrong sides together with a 1/4 seam allowance and turn right-side out. Add leather palm reinforcement if desired.
12. Up-cycle a wool sweater into pot holders add felt applique designs to personalize, or needle felted designs. Cut the felted wool sweater into squares, diamonds, hearts, or whatever shape you want. Make at least two of each shape. Place wrong sides together and top-stitch them together. Blanket stitch around the edges with bright yarn or embroidery floss to finish.
13. Make a hat from a recycled sweater. Look at different felt hat designs and choose one that requires a few pieces. Cut the sweater according to the design you want, and sew together. Use bright yarn or embroidery floss to top-stitch seams or add decoration as desired. Can also create needle felted decorations.
14. A Felted Tea Cosy is another great option to create from an up-cycled sweater, and makes a great gift for the tea-lover on your list. Use an average teapot size as a guide, or plan the cosy as a joint gift with a new teapot to make sure it fits. Cut two half-circle shapes from the sweater. Stitch the curved edges, right sides together. Leave the bottom edge unstitched. Turn right-side out. Add decoration, embellishments, and finish the edge with blanket stitch if needed.
Have fun with this and tell me what you made. Remember this season is supposed to be fun, relaxing and transcendent. Don’t get caught up in the musts and should haves, but follow your creativity and enjoy the season.
Don’t charge up the credit cards, but instead use your own hands to infuse love into everything you do. Give presence more than presents!
If you are looking for ways to DIY Christmas gifts and make happy Christmas memories while living within the health and budget constraints that have been handed to you this year, I created a resource that will help.
This DIY Christmas Planner workbook will help you make a solid plan you can live with for a Happy Holiday season. You’ll find inspiring DIY gift ideas, space to reflect on what is important to you, and a place to set goals for bringing a happy and meaningful Christmas to your family this year.
Get on Santa’s Permanent Nice list by staying organized, calm, and in control this Christmas Season.