Sally Gulbrandsen Feltmaker: Her tutorials & techniques are as individual as she is — unique, experimental and always interesting.
Jiffy Bag Wet Felting With Children
This simple felting project has been designed for children. This simple method of felting using Jiffy Bags is well-suited for little hands—perhaps not quite as young as the little helper I had, but with a little help and encouragement, we were able to produce a charming gift for his mum on Mother’s Day.
Introducing crafts to your children at an early age is the one of the best ways to spend quality time with children or grandchildren. I hope this little craft module will be the first of many projects which you and your children will share together.
Things You Will Need
- 1 pair of willing little hands.
- 1 Jiffy Bag. Choose the right size bag for your project. Shrinkage should be estimated to be around 30 – 40%, so use a bag which is about twice as large as the desired size.
- 2 sheets of soft, thin card or white paper. Cut the card or paper so that it fit neatly into your chosen Jiffy Bag with just a little room to spare.
- Botany Lap Waste. These fibres are excellent value for your money and are simply perfect for working with children or adults. The fibres are usually a mix of Merino wool and some synthetics which are always useful for adding extra shine and interest to a project. We chose pink, green, yellow and blue fibres for this project.
- A small plastic squeeze bottle filled with warm soapy water.
- Dishwashing liquid (add a little of the soap liquid to the warm water)
- A sushi or bamboo mat with to roll the project in.
- White vinegar for adding to the rinsing water. Just a few teaspoons will do.
1. Cover the White Card Stock With a Layer of Pink Fibre
Cover the thin white board or card with a thin layer of pink fibre as is shown below.
2. Remember to Keep Little Hands Dry!
Keep little hands dry, otherwise the fibres are sure to cling to their fingers.
3. Creating the Background
Cover the card stock in an even layer of pink merino wool as shown.
4. Putting the Fibres Down
Cover the card stock in an even layer of pink merino wool as shown. Ensure that each layer is put down with the fibres running in the opposite direction.
5. Making the Petals
Roll 10 softly formed little balls of wool in one colour (blue) and two more balls using yellow to create the centre for each flower.
6. Creating the Image
- Create two flowers on the surface of the pink wool with the rolled balls of wool.
- Use a few green strands of wool to create two stems and two leaves on each stem.
- Place a few thin strands of wool over the top of the flowers, stems and leaves. This helps to embed the flowers into the background. (See images below.)
7. Cover the Image With a Piece of White Card
- Put the second piece of white board on top of the pink background. Press the two pieces of card together, just enough to flatten the fibres between the two pieces of card.
- Doing this will make it much easier to get the project safely inside the Jiffy Bag.
- Lift the encased wool and place the contents gently into the Jiffy Bag.
- Try not to disturb the flower image.
- Gently extract the bottom board and the top board from the bag without disturbing the fibres.
8. Insert the Project Into the Jiffy Bag
The project inside the Jiffy bag, ready to wet with the warm soapy water.
9. Wet the Fibres
- Wet the project with the warm soapy water.
- Try not to displace the fibres.
- Use only enough water to wet the wool without soaking it.
10. Seal the Jiffy Bag
- Prepare to roll the project inside a bamboo mat or sushi roll.
- Roll it first in one direction and then in another.
- Keep on turning the project within the bamboo mat to roll it evenly from all directions. (See images below.)
11. Remove Any Excess Soap Suds
Open the bag and pat dry any excess soap which may appear during the rolling process.
12. Change the Direction of the Roll
Keep on changing the direction of the roll by turning the Jiffy bag in different directions. This will help the felting process and shrink the felt evenly from all sides.
- Keep on changing the direction in which the project is rolled.
- Roll until the mat inside begins to harden and shrink.
- The edges of the mat will start to curl when this happens.
14. Secure the Mat With an Elastic Band
Seal the bamboo mat with an elastic band to make it easier for little hands to roll the project.
15. Perform a ‘Pinch Test’
- Open the bag and check to see if the fibres have felted together!
- Use two fingers to pinch the wool to see if the fibres have fused together.
- If they still need more rolling, seal the bag again and roll until fibres no longer move.
16. Shrink the Fibres
- Shock with hot and then cold water.
- Repeat twice more and give a final rinse in a solution of cold water with a dash of white vinegar added.
17. Hot and Cold Water
Put the project into a small dish or bowl and add a little boiling water and then plunge into shock cold water.
18. Shape and Dry
- Press and shape the completed project.
- Press with a warm iron and leave to dry in a warm spot.
The Completed Project
- You may find it easier to use a larger Jiffy bag than the one which was used in the pictures.
- It will not matter if the wool does not reach into the corners! It will certainly make it a lot easier to get the project into the bag without disturbing the fibres.
- Try to ensure that the layers of wool are always evenly put down as uneven layers will always result in thin spots or even holes in the finished project!
- You can always create a lovely little needle book from the little mat. Simply add a piece of matching store bought felt or fabric for the centre of the book (or make your own).
- Sew a line of stitches down the middle-fold and pin a selection of needles to the needle book.
Enjoy! There is nothing more precious than time spent with a little one learning a new craft.
© 2013 Sally Gulbrandsen
Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on April 30, 2013:
Try Wingham Wool, they are great and will send any items you want within a couple of days. Try using bags of different sizee. Make sure you look for felting wool - Tops or Roving work equally well.
Thanks for your visit and your comments, happy felting.
Louise Lately from London, UK on April 30, 2013:
Hi sallybea! Great hub! I had no idea that it could be that straightforward to create shapes with felt. If I can get hold of the material here in London then I will definitely try it out!
Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on April 26, 2013:
CMakmom, I think you may even have more success if you use a larger bag than you need. I have not tried it myself yet but do think the larger the jiffy bag you use, the more success you will have and the larger the project you can do. I intend placing my fibers onto some kitchen wrap next time, fold it up like a flat sandwich and then insert it into the bag instead of the board. The sandwich wrap makes no difference at all to the felting process. I have used it with great success making 3D Flowers. As soon as the fibers are stable enough you will be able to remove the wrap. With felting, there is no right way. If it works for you that is the most important thing. Let me know how it goes. Best wishes Sally
CMAKmom on April 26, 2013:
I like how you use the cardboard to keep the design in place as you put it into the bag. I had trouble doing this with a different tutorial which did not use that hint. I will retry using this method. Thanks!
Tirralan Watkins from Los Angeles, CA on March 24, 2013:
Sallybea, this is such a neat idea. I'm always looking for new things for my kids to do. They will love this! Thank you for sharing.
Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on March 12, 2013:
Hi Jamie Brock, So glad you liked it! Thank you for your visit.
Jamie Brock from Texas on March 11, 2013:
What a neat little project! Thank you for sharing :)
Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on March 11, 2013:
Thanks rebeccamealey, glad you enjoyed the hub. Felting is addictive and can be as creative as you would like it to be. So glad you stopped by.
Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on March 11, 2013:
Looks like fun, and really pretty results. I have never heard of this craft.I vote VERY interesting!
Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on March 09, 2013:
Yes, we had lots of fun.
summerberrie on March 08, 2013:
Looks like loads of fun!
Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on March 07, 2013:
Hello MsDora, My little pair of 'willing hands' was the most important ingredient. I could not have done it without him! Thank you so much for your vote and also the comment. It is much appreciated.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on March 07, 2013:
Glad you include "willing hands" in the ingredients. It's also a qualifier. Very clear instructions. Voted Up and Useful.
Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on March 07, 2013:
Hi Natashalh, glad you liked it. It is nice way of entertaining the children for half an hour and making a little hand made present for Mother's day. I will appreciate the pin once you get your computer! Thank you.
Natasha from Hawaii on March 07, 2013:
Great, easy to follow instructions! I'll be pinning this once I get to a computer.
Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on March 06, 2013:
Thank you Wonder wool, nice that you could stop by.
Priyanka Estambale from United States on March 06, 2013:
Easy and Fun. Kids will enjoy for sure :)