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How to Wet Felt Beads for use in Jewelry

Updated on August 4, 2016
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Sally Gulbrandsen Feltmaker: Her tutorials & techniques are as individual as she is — unique, experimental and always interesting.

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!

Silk roving adds a little shine!
Silk roving adds a little shine! | Source
Felt Beads and recycled charms from a bracelet
Felt Beads and recycled charms from a bracelet | Source

How to make wet felted beads

Requirements:

  1. A quantity of merino wool roving in your choice of lovely bright colors.
  2. A small quantity of dish washing liquid or grated olive oil soap dissolved in hot water.
  3. A small plastic squeeze bottle
  4. A sushi mat
  5. Silk threads or bits of silk roving which can be used to embellish the beads during the creation of the beads.
  6. Elastic suitable for threading jewelry. Shirring elastic can be used.
  7. Thin strips of leather or ribbon for threading if preferred.
  8. 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.
  9. A recycled charm bracelet with silver beads, pearls, red glass or ceramic beads etc.,
  10. A little silk embroidery thread for embroidered felt beads, if desired.

An easy step by step photo tutorial

A quantity of merino wool roving
A quantity of merino wool roving | Source

Pull off three pieces of merino wool roving

Pull off three pieces of merino wool roving
Pull off three pieces of merino wool roving | Source

Getting the wet felted beads the right size

  1. Pull off a piece of wool roving as shown above. The amount which has been pulled off equates to three beads.
  2. The finished size of each bead will end up being the size of a large cherry.
  3. You can weigh the beads if you want each one exactly the same size..

Source

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

Tuck in the loose wool to form a round ball
Tuck in the loose wool to form a round ball | Source

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 hot soapy water
Wet with hot soapy water | Source

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

Form a soft ball and roll gently on the sushi mat.
Form a soft ball and roll gently on the sushi mat. | Source

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

One incomplete ball and two pieces of knotted roving
One incomplete ball and two pieces of knotted roving | Source

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

Adding a little color to the ball
Adding a little color to the ball | Source

Roll more than one bead at a time!

Roll three beads at a time, or more!
Roll three beads at a time, or more! | Source

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.

Soapy Beads!

The beads may become a little soapy!
The beads may become a little soapy! | Source

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

Removing a little excess soapy and moisture on a tea towel.
Removing a little excess soapy and moisture on a tea towel. | Source

A final roll on a sushi mat

A final roll on a tea towel until the bead becomes firm under the fingers.
A final roll on a tea towel until the bead becomes firm under the fingers. | Source

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!

  1. Roll the beads lengthwise to create long beads. Begin shaping by rolling the ends of the ball on the sushi mat.
  2. To make a disc-shaped bead, hit the rounded ball with something heavy until it becomes flattened. A small hammer will do the trick.
  3. 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.
  4. A simple bracelet can be made with felt beads and shirring elastic or elastic bought specifically for threading beads.
  5. First, measure the wrist of the recipient and add the correct number of beads for the length of elastic.
  6. Add sufficient felt beads and/or a mix of felt, metal or glass beads to compliment the color scheme.
  7. Use a thin pointed needle with a large eye for threading the elastic.
  8. A double thread should be used for extra strength.
  9. A thick darning needle may well be needed to thread-thin strips of the leather but use a needle which has a sharp point.
  10. A blunt or rounded needle makes it difficult to penetrate the beads.
  11. You may need to use pliers to pull the leather through.

Putting. the necklace together

Tools and charms assembled together, waiting to be threaded.
Tools and charms assembled together, waiting to be threaded. | Source

What can the finished felt beads be used for:

  1. Necklaces
  2. Bracelets
  3. Earrings
  4. Add to the end of hair clips for decoration.
  5. Can be used for zip pulls, bags and purses
  6. Combine with glass or ceramic beads or even silver beads to make your own custom made jewelry.
  7. 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

Lovely felt beads with recycled charms
Lovely felt beads with recycled charms | Source

Handmade or Handcrafted Gifts!

Do you like to receive gifts which have been hand crafted?

See results

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

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    • sallybea profile image
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      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      lucille12

      Thank you for your comment. I am sorry for the delay in replying to it but for some reason it was marked as spam It clearly is not.

    • lucille12 profile image

      lucille12 2 years ago

      Traditionally putting on a heart pendant on a beaded necklace gives the accessory piece an increasingly casual, entertaining and whimsical appearance.

    • sallybea profile image
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      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      ChitrangadaSharan

      You are very welcome, I am glad you enjoyed this wet felting tutorial and I hope you enjoy making the felt bead necklace.

      Thanks so much for the share and the vote up - both are much appreciated.

      Sally

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

      This is beautiful and I love the color combination. Wonderful and creative with helpful pictures and instructions.

      I would love to try this. Thanks for sharing and voted up!

    • sallybea profile image
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      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      teaches12345

      I am glad you found the instructions easy to follow. I hope that you will attempt this project as this is definitely one of the easiest and certainly one of the most rewarding, I appreciate the comment, thank you so much.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 2 years ago

      Sally, this necklace is beautiful. You certainly do bring us the most interesting topics and your detailed instructions are easy to follow. One day I may just have to do one of these pretty felt creations.

    • sallybea profile image
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      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Ann1Az2

      You are welcome, thank you so much, your very kind comment is appreciated. I hope some of my friends and relatives enjoy these as gifts:)

      Have a great Christmas.

    • Ann1Az2 profile image

      Ann1Az2 2 years ago from Orange, Texas

      You are without a doubt the wet felting queen! These are beautiful and would made a really nice gift. Thanks for sharing.

    • sallybea profile image
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      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Joyfulcrown

      Thank you, that is a very nice thing to say - like you name by the way, we can do with loads of Joy around here:)

    • Joyfulcrown profile image

      Joyfulcrown 2 years ago

      I love it. It is sooo creative!

    • sallybea profile image
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      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Jo Goldmith

      Hi Jo,

      You are a delight.

      I think this is perhaps the one of the simplest but one of the nicest projects I have done to date. Whoever said that things have to be complicated in order to be nice! The charms bracelets certainly give the necklace an individual look but you could also add some silver jewelry findings if you were so inclined. The felt beads certainly come into their own with a little silver added. These would make great presents.

      Thanks again Jo for your continued support, awesome, shared etc., I am so appreciative.

      Hope you Christmas is wonderful,

      Sally

    • Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

      Jo_Goldsmith11 2 years ago

      I just love, love, love this! You are so creative it is wonderful! :-)

      Now, if I can find some spare time to collect the materials and the time to make myself some really neat and one of a kind necklaces. This would be nice! :-) It is neat how you can change up the colors with the felt.

      And the jewelry that you put with it can be different than anyone elses too, I would imagine. Awesome! Shared and up! :-)

    • sallybea profile image
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      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Iris Draak,

      Thank you very much Iris and it is always a pleasure to find you on one of my pages! Thanks for passing this one to your friends, I hope you end up being one of the lucky recipients :)

      Sally

    • Iris Draak profile image

      Cristen Iris 2 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Sally, that is really lovely! I have several friends and relatives who make their own jewelry. I passed your article on to them.

    • sallybea profile image
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      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      MsDora

      I am always delighted to have you grace one of my pages. If you are able to help give some exposure to this craft by telling a friend or two about this project, that will be very nice! I know I loved creating this necklace, it is my hope that others will enjoy it too.

      Thank you for your very kind comment,

      Sally

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      What a charming necklace/bracelet! Will share with at least one person I know would be interested. Thanks for the exposure to these delightful crafts.

    • sallybea profile image
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      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      pstraubie487

      Thanks for the visit, pin and comment. I hope you daughter finds this very useful.

      I have not seen any Angels since I first believed that they lived at the bottom of the garden but I sure will enjoy seeing them:)

      Sally

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 2 years ago from sunny Florida

      Quite a clever little project. My daughter makes all kinds of jewelry. I will have to show her this.

      Pinning

      Angels are on the way to you this evening. ps

    • sallybea profile image
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      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Glimmer Twin Fan

      Thank you so much! Your visits to my hubs are valued and appreciated.

      I made some more beads yesterday in some gorgeous tones of blue and aquamarine. I am thrilled with how they turned out. The potential for creativity using these felt balls is amazing. I can't wait to explore a few more ideas I have in my head.

      Best wishes,

      Sally

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 2 years ago

      Just beautiful Sally - Love the vivid colors and boy I can see a nice long necklace with lots of beads on it. Great photos too!

    • sallybea profile image
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      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      oceansunsets

      This is probably one of the easiest ways of making felt beads. I do hope that you begin your felt making journey with this tutorial because you could not start with a more satisfying project. I so appreciate your visit and your comment, especially the one regarding the video! thank you, it means a lot.

      Best wishes,

      Sally

    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 2 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hi Sally, your hub caught my eye! I love to make jewelry with beads of all kinds, but have never used felt before! I love the idea of making your own beads, something I have been curious about for a while, but have never really branched out and done it. This is so neat, and interesting also. Its fun using a different texture altogether I am sure. I hope to try it sometime, and know where to go when I do! Your video was great as well, wonderful!

    • sallybea profile image
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      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      btrbell

      Definitely worth a go, especially if you have some 'bling' at home waiting for a project like this. The felt beads are definitely enhanced by the silver beads. This is such an easy project. Even young children and teenagers might be interested in trying this craft if they can make something so simple, yet beautiful. Thanks for the vote up+ I really appreciate your stopping by to comment.

      Sally

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 2 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Interesting and beautiful! I had never heard of wet felting until you learned it here on Hubpages. I admit I have only annoyed and never tried. But..I do have a lot of jewelry findings here. Maybe this will be a good one to try! Thank you for the step by step instructions and helpful tips! Up+

    • sallybea profile image
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      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Arachnea

      There is no time like the present:) I really hope you do have a go. Your comment is valued and appreciated. Thank you.so much.

      Sally

    • sallybea profile image
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      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Anamika

      I understand that hobbies like these can be time consuming but sometimes the need to create does overtakes and I do find myself having to make something for the pleasure of doing it. I guess it is a bit like an artist who has to paint! I appreciate your very kind comments, awesome, Hub share and tweet.. Thank you so much for your lovely comment.

      Best wishes,

      Sally

    • sallybea profile image
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      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      peachpurple

      Thank you for stopping by. I don't have a lot for ladies to buy as I am more often than not writing about this craft than selling items. I hope to alter this situation soon as I intend putting some of them onto my own site.

      Sally

    • sallybea profile image
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      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Phyllis Doyle

      Good to hear that this project might be useful for you Phyllis. I particularly enjoyed your comment about hand crafted Christmas presents. I wish more people would do this. I love to receive something made especially for me.

      Thank you for the vote up etc., it is much appreciated.

      Have a great day,

      Sally

    • sallybea profile image
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      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      PurvisBobbi44

      Hello Bobbi, I am glad you enjoyed this tutorial. I think the possibilities for making a variety of handcrafted jewelry items with felt beads are endless. I love the look of silver with the beads - this could of course be real silver if you are good at working with this precious metal. I appreciate the comment about the video as this was a fledgling step into my doing a live show:)

      Thanks so much for the share on Twitter and Pin.

      You have a wonderful new week too,

      Sally

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      tillsontitan

      I grow increasing interested in this art form. It is quite magical. I adore the colors one gets to work with.

      Thank you very much for your very kind comments plus Voted up, useful, beautiful, and interesting.

      Sally

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Devika,

      Thank you very much. I am so glad you liked this one. I find myself totally hooked on making beautiful felt beads. I had to go and produce another whole batch today:)

      Thank you too for the vote up, beautiful and interesting.

    • Arachnea profile image

      Tanya Jones 2 years ago from Texas USA

      I've been wanting to play with felted beads for a while now. I also want to do some felted soaps. This is marvelous.

    • Anamika S profile image

      Anamika S 2 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India

      It's so beautiful! I love the red and black combination. When I was a teenager, I loved doing stuff like this that are time consuming. Now I would rather purchase one than taking the time out to make one, Awesome Hub! Shared on twitter.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      beautiful craft for any occasions. I bet many ladies are interested in buying from you

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      Working with wool/felt this way is absolutely fascinating. I love the finished product too. Your additions are certainly a stand out. Well done Sally.

      Voted up, useful, beautiful, and interesting.

    • PurvisBobbi44 profile image

      PurvisBobbi44 2 years ago from Florida

      Hi,

      This was a delight to read as I enjoy making jewelry. Such great instructions with the perfect video. It is so relaxing and fun for me to design something special and then make it.

      I believe this is the first time for me of seeing felt beads. I am amazed at the beauty of them and the great possibilities of using them in different ways of expressions.

      I will share this with Twitter and Pin it on my repin board.

      You have a wonderful new week.

      Bobbi Purvis

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hi Sally. I work a lot with beads but have never made or seen felt beads before - they are pretty and make lovely jewelry. Your instructions and photos are very helpful and clear. Thanks for sharing this crafty idea. What nice Christmas gifts they make. I love receiving home crafted gifts and love to give them.

      Voted Up, across and H+

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Wow! I love this idea! I do value your creative craft. I found this hub to be very interesting, useful, beautiful and voted up!

    • sallybea profile image
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      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      annart

      You are very welcome. I hope you enjoy your time spent together.

      Sally

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Exactly! I've just had a thought - my granddaughter would love helping her mum with these too. Anything to do with making and getting sticky is right up her street! Thanks again.

      Ann

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      annart

      Thank you so much! Making felt beads this way is a breeze and as you say with the addition of some charm bracelet beads they do look individual and professional. I picked up my charms from a charity shop and I am sure you daughter can do the same. I hope she gets as much fun out of this method of making felt balls as I do. You actually don't need the patience of a saint but I always say, stick to the things which make you happy.

      Best wishes,

      Sally

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      These products look so professional. I was intrigued with the rolling process and it doesn't look as fiddly as I'd imagined. They all look beautiful.

      My daughter makes lovely jewellery from scratch or from charity shop buys and many look similar to yours but without the felt. She'll be interested to see this so I'll pass it on to her. She has the patience and skill to do this (which I don't!). Thanks for the great ideas.

      Ann

    • sallybea profile image
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      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      DJ Anderson

      Love that you take the time to comment even if you say your artsy-crafty days have passed by. I did not think that possible!

      Nevertheless you are valued,

      Have a happy week-end

      Sally

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      DJ Anderson 2 years ago

      I always enjoy your tutorials, Sally.

      My artsy-crafty days have passed, but I do believe

      this would be great fun.

      You explain the process so nicely.

      Thank you for passing along these great ideas.

      My best to you!

      DJ.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Billy, thank you, your comment which is appreciated as always. I hope the crafty folk enjoy the tutorial. It is a busy time around here near Christmas but I do have a few more articles on the boil along with the home made fudge.

      Happy Weekend to you too Billy

      Sally

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      purl3agony

      I am so glad I was able to inspire you with the possibilities of turning some cheap charm bracelets into a beautiful necklace. I love the way the necklace turned out. I can't wait to make a few more for Christmas presents. Your comment is valued as always,

      Thank you,

      Sally

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm passing this on to the crafty people in our family. I'm sure they will love it.

      Good to see a new article from you. Nicely done as always.

      Happy Weekend to you, Sally.

      bill

    • purl3agony profile image

      Donna Herron 2 years ago from USA

      Oh, I love this idea! I have some small amounts of lovely colored wool roving but I didn't know what to do with it. This technique would be perfect, and I can see that this process makes beautiful beads. Thanks so much for posting and sharing. I love the possibilities of this technique!