How to Wet Felt Beads for use in Jewelry
About this Project
Making felt beads is one of the easiest felt making Projects you can do, making them as described below makes it a breeze, even a child could be taught how with just a little adult supervision. Add a few recycled charm bracelets to the mix and you will soon have the youngsters teaching each other how to make simple but charming gifts at just a fraction of store-bought jewellery. The beads can be made into necklaces, bracelets and earrings.
Woolen beads with lots of charm!
How to make wet felted beads
- A quantity of merino wool roving in your choice of lovely bright colors.
- A small quantity of dish washing liquid or grated olive oil soap dissolved in hot water.
- A small plastic squeeze bottle
- A sushi mat
- Silk threads or bits of silk roving which can be used to embellish the beads during the creation of the beads.
- Elastic suitable for threading jewelry. Shirring elastic can be used.
- Thin strips of leather or ribbon for threading if preferred.
- 2 Large eyed sewing needles for threading the elastic. Use one needle on each end of the threaded elastic. It helps to be able to thread both sides of the necklace at the same time.
- A recycled charm bracelet with silver beads, pearls, red glass or ceramic beads etc.,
- A little silk embroidery thread for embroidered felt beads, if desired.
An easy step by step photo tutorial
Pull off three pieces of merino wool roving
Getting the wet felted beads the right size
- Pull off a piece of wool roving as shown above. The amount which has been pulled off equates to three beads.
- The finished size of each bead will end up being the size of a large cherry.
- You can weigh the beads if you want each one exactly the same size..
Add a little color
Add a little color if preferred and tie a knot in the wool roving as shown.
Tuck in the wool roving
Fold in the loose wool
Fold in the loose wool roving until you have a nice round ball shape.
Wet with hot soapy water
Wet with a little soapy water
Add a little hot soapy water to the ball and then roll gently in your cupped hand.
Roll gently at first until you have a round ball shape.
A soft ball shape
One soft ball!
After rolling the first ball, continue with making the next two beads.
It is possible to roll around four to five per hand, especially as you grow more accustomed to working with more beads at a time.
Two knotted pieces of wool roving and a completed ball
Use only a little hot water
Add a small quantity of hot soapy water to the ball and begin rolling in the palm of your hand. Only add a little soapy water at a time, just sufficient to wet the ball without saturating it.
Adding a little extra color if desired
Roll more than one bead at a time!
Speed up the process!
Roll several beads at a time, if you feel so inclined. This really does help to speed up the whole process.
Getting a little too soapy!
Sometimes when you roll the little beads on the sushi mat, they become a little soapy.
If they do, roll the ball on a kitchen tea towel.
Rolling on a Piece of Towelling
A final roll on a sushi mat
A final rinse in hot and then cold water!
Rinse the beads in hot water and then cold water until the water runs clear.
Give a final rub on a clean dry sushi mat. This will remove any excess water. Dry and thread the necklace as shown.
Want to make different shaped beads!
- Roll the beads lengthwise to create long beads. Begin shaping by rolling the ends of the ball on the sushi mat.
- To make a disc-shaped bead, hit the rounded ball with something heavy until it becomes flattened. A small hammer will do the trick.
- For variegated beads use roving which either comes in mixed colors or add your own color and texture to the top layer before you start rolling.
- A simple bracelet can be made with felt beads and shirring elastic or elastic bought specifically for threading beads.
- First, measure the wrist of the recipient and add the correct number of beads for the length of elastic.
- Add sufficient felt beads and/or a mix of felt, metal or glass beads to compliment the color scheme.
- Use a thin pointed needle with a large eye for threading the elastic.
- A double thread should be used for extra strength.
- A thick darning needle may well be needed to thread-thin strips of the leather but use a needle which has a sharp point.
- A blunt or rounded needle makes it difficult to penetrate the beads.
- You may need to use pliers to pull the leather through.
Putting. the necklace together
What can the finished felt beads be used for:
- Add to the end of hair clips for decoration.
- Can be used for zip pulls, bags and purses
- Combine with glass or ceramic beads or even silver beads to make your own custom made jewelry.
- For Christmas Decorations
A few facts!
This bracelet was made from plain, round felt beads and metal beads.from some cheap charm bracelets.
The felt beads shown here are the size of large cherries.
A simple metal choker can be used instead, just add a few felt beads to the lower part.
A length of ribbon can be used instead of elastic. Tie the end into a bow around the neck to complete the necklace.
Jewelry findings can be found online at Amazon or e-Bay very cheaply. I also like to buy used charm bracelets from thrift stores and combine the metal or glass beads with the felt beads.
To make a simple necklace, poke a hole in each felt bead with a thick darning needle, You may need to use pliers to pull the needle through the felt bead.
Assembling the necklace
Handmade or Handcrafted Gifts!
Do you like to receive gifts which have been hand crafted?
Embellishing the necklace
Felt beads can be embellished in a variety of ways:-
Beading with glass beads, sequins etc.
Use some of your favorite embroidery stitches
Felt beads can easily be embroidered with 2-3 strands of embroidery thread.
You can use traditional embroidery stitches
Needle felt stripes or spots on the beads.
Felt beads can be wrapped with wire or crochet chains to ‘cage’ the beads.
Creating your own jewelry
I hope this brief introduction to making felt beads will be the inspiration you need to make some unique hand crafted gifts.
How to make felt beads
© 2014 Sally Gulbrandsen