How to Make a Wet-Felted Heart Cushion for Valentine's Day
A Love Potion
Love is in the air! Weave a little magic as you cast your own spell to bring together these two sweet(heart) cushions on Valentine's Day. Let the magic begin as you blend wool clipped from a sheep's back. Add soapy water, dye, toil, and friction to put the magic spell together!
What You'll Need
- Merino Wool Roving: Choose colors of your choice. Avoid red wool unless you know for sure it is colorfast. The red wool will bleed into the white if you are not careful. Trust me, I learned the hard way!
- Pencil Roving: You only need a small quantity to highlight the edges of the heart.
- Hot Soapy Water
- Bubble Wrap
- A Sheet of Foam Underfloor Layment: You will use these to create two templates, one heart and one rectangle. They'll measure 50x55cm, and I used the same template for both cushions. Underfloor layment is the perfect choice for these templates because they can be used re-used over and over again.
- 2 Saucers: Your saucers should measure 17cm in diameter.
- Scissors: Make sure you have a sharp pair!
- Felt-Tip Pen: This is for drawing the templates. It sometimes pays to wipe the color off once you have cut out the template, as it can bleed into the wool.
- 1 or 2 ( 42x41cm) . I used two of them and recommend buying good-quality cushions. They really do make a difference to the end result! Duck-Feather Cushions
- Contrasting Embroidery Threads: You'll use these to chain stitch around the inner edges of the heart.
- Backing Fabric: You'll need half a meter of contrasting or matching backing fabric for the cushions.
- Piping: Cut the piping from the same material. It should be cut the cross. You can use ready-made piping if you wish.
- A Continuous Length of Zipping: I used 1 meter and cut the zips to size. It can be a little tricky to attach the zip ends, but I've included a video below which will show you how to do it.
- Zip Ends: You will also need two zip ends, one for each cushion.
- Bamboo Blind: You'll use this to roll the project.
1. Create the Templates
Place the two saucers on a sheet of foam layment and trace out the shape. Use a long ruler to connect the lines to create a heart shape. Then, cut around the lines.
Next, draw a 50x50cm rectangle on the sheet.
2. Check Your Measurements
Check to make sure the heart template covers almost the entire area of the inner cushion. Remember that some allowance has been given for shrinkage.
3. Choose Your Colors Carefully
I used two layers of a lighter wool roving shade for the bottom two layers.
- Lilac was used to cover the first two layers.
- Decorative fibers were added that reached past the heart template.
- The pencil-thin roving was added to the edges of the template to define the heart shape. In retrospect, I should have added a little embellishment fiber.
4. Layer the Roving
Cover the rectangle template with two layers of merino wool roving. Check for any thin spots before moving onto the next layer and fill in any thin spots. Remember, thin spots will result in holes if you don't remedy this early on.
- Lay the first layer in one direction.
- Lay the second layer perpendicular to the first layer.
Cover the layers with a layer of darker wool. I used a pale lilac in the center of the heart and darker shades of purple for the outside area. The color of the third layer will become the center of the heart, so it's important to choose a good color that allows the heart to stand out.
5. Wet the Center of the Wool-Covered Template
Line the heart template in the center of the cushion. Press down on the heart template and smooth the wool down beneath it.
6. Embellish the Area Around the Heart
Add beautiful woolen fibers to the third layer. They should be darker than the wool used for the heart.
7. Make the Heart Stand Out
Wrap thin pieces of pencil roving to add nice details to the area around the heart. Push the fibers into the wet wool and carefully smooth them out.
8. Cover the Project
Cover the wool with bubble wrap and wet the bubble wrap's surface with hot, soapy water. Rub it carefully.
9. Rub the Surface
Rub gently at first, taking care not to displace any of the pencil roving placed around the heart template.
10. Remove the Template
Carefully lift the template from the fibers when it becomes clear that the felting process has begun.
Roll the project inside a large, heavy-duty bamboo blind. Do this very carefully so that you don't displace any of the fibers. When it becomes obvious that the felting process has begun, roll harder.
12. Change Direction
Keep turning the project inside the bamboo blind to facilitate even shrinkage on all sides of the cushion cover.
13. Rinse and Dry
Rinse the cushion several times with water, alternating between hot and cold to help shrink the fibers more. You will soon start to feel them tightening under your fingers. Continue rinsing until the water runs clear and squeeze out the excess water. Drop the project onto a hard surface to tighten the fibers, or use a tumble dryer to assist the felting process.
- Check the contents of the tumble dryer regularly. Compare one cushion to the other until they shrink to the same size.
14. Chain Stitch
Embroider a row of chain stitch along the inner edge of the cushion to further define the heart. Use several threads at a time.
15. Assemble the Covers
Press and trim the cushion fronts to the necessary size. Prepare piping if you intend to use it, and then tack it on. You can buy ready-made piping. Then, cut the backing fabric to size. I used a concealed zip with a flap. You may choose to assemble it with a different method.
- Attach the zipper to the back cover or on one edge.
- Place the wet-felted cushion and the backing right sides together. Then, pin or tack them in place.
- Sew the pieces together with a sewing machine.
- Press the covers and put the feather cushions inside.
How to Sew on Ready-Made Piping
How to Insert a Slider Onto a Continuous Zip
Another Way to Make the Center of the Heart
If you want to try a different method to create the heart center, try the following steps:
- Cover the template with red wool.
- Wet it with warm, soapy water and turn the edges over.
- Remove the template, and voila! You have a heart with defined edges.
© 2018 Sally Gulbrandsen