Sally Gulbrandsen Feltmaker: Her tutorials and techniques are as individual as she is—unique, experimental and always interesting.
An Easy Flower Project!
This tutorial has been designed for those who are new fairly new to the process of wet felting.
Merino wool roving or merino tops are my fibres of choice for this easy project. Those of you who are new to wet felting will find that it felts very quickly. It comes in a wide range of beautiful colours.
A few silk fibres can be added to the surface of the flower for a little shine if this is the effect you are looking for.
- Merino wool roving or wool tops suitable for felting in colours of your choice
- Green merino wool for the leaves
- A heavy-duty bamboo mat or a sushi mat
- A pair of scissors
- A small squeeze bottle
- Dishwashing liquid or grated olive oil soap diluted in hot water
- A roll of plastic food wrap
- A kitchen or small bathroom towel for absorbing any excess water
- An elastic band
- A needle with matching thread
Step 1: Make the Leaves
- Put a towel down onto a waterproof surface.
- Place a bamboo mat on the towel.
- Cut a piece of cling wrap from the roll and put it down onto the mat. The piece of plastic wrap should be cut large enough to accommodate the flower which you intend making.
- Use the green wool roving to create 4 leaves on the surface of the plastic as shown above.
- Wet the leaves with hot soapy water and smooth out the petals using your fingers and the soapy water.
Step 2: Smooth Out the Petals
- Smooth the edges of the petals using hot soapy water and your fingers.
- Cover the petals with another sheet of cling wrap.
Step 3: Cut a Hole in the Plastic
Cut a hole in the centre of the cling wrap as shown above.
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Step 4: Layer the Petals and Cut Another Hole in the Plastic
- Create the red and yellow petals in the spaces created by the leaves.
- Cut a hole in the middle of the flower.
Step 5: Create the Second Layer of Petals
Create a 2nd layer of petals in the spaces created by the previous layer.
Step 6: Wet, Cover and Cut
Wet the petals and cut a hole in the centre of the plastic.
Step 7: Create the Third Layer of Petals
- Create the 3rd layer of petals in between the spaces created by the previous layer of petals.
- Cover with bubble wrap.
Step 8: Wet the Bubble Wrap
- Wet the surface of the bubble wrap with the warm soapy water.
- This water helps create a slippery surface on which you can rub on.
Step 9: Rub Well
Rub the wet surface very well.
Step 10: Turn the Project Over
- Rub the leaves well from the other side
- Concentrate much of the rubbing over the central core of the flower. This is important if you want these fibres to knit together.
Step 11: Roll in the Bamboo Mat
- Put the project on the bamboo mat.
- Include the bubble wrap and roll.
- Start gently at first but increase the pressure as the flower begins to felt properly.
- Concentrate a lot of effort on the middle of the flower.
Step 12: Turn the Flower Regularly
- Roll for several minutes and then open the mat and turn the flower so that the flower gets rolled from various directions.
- Turn the flower, not the mat! These mats can only be rolled in one direction!
- Turning the flower ensures that the flower will be evenly rolled throughout the project.
- Repeat this several times.
Step 13: Check the Central Core of the Flower
Open the layers of plastic and check to see if the core has fused together.
Step 14: Do a Pinch Test
- When you pinch the exposed fibres between 2 two fingers, you should feel no movement below.
- If the fibres still appear loose, add a little soapy water and continue rolling until they longer move.
- Repeat the ‘pinch test’.
- Once you are satisfied that the contents of the plastic wrap have felted together remove the cling wrap.
- Cup the leaves and petals in the palm of the hand as shown above.
- Twist an elastic band around the bowl of the flower to form a base as shown.
- This area can be flattened and rolled into a less round stem shape later on.
- If the central core did not knit together for some reason, stack the leaves and petals together in a pleasing way and stitch them together and then follow the last two steps.
Step 15: Rinse the Flower in Hot and Then Cold Water
- Rinse the flower, first under hot and then cold water.
- Massage the fibres gently under the water to help with the felting process.
- Rinse until the water runs clear.
- The final rinse should have a little white vinegar added to it.
- Throw the flower down onto a hard surface and then shape as desired.
Step 16: Shape the Flower
- Gently squeeze any excess water from the flower using a small towel.
- Shape the damp flower and put a couple of stitches through the base of the flower to secure the 'stem' in place.
- Remove the elastic band.
- Wet the 'bowl' shape at the bottom of the flower and roll it between your fingers mat to form a stem.
- I find it helpful to push a pen or pencil into the centre of the flower. Press down hard on it and continue shaping the flower.
- Please see the image above.
Hints and Tips
- Mats: It is surprising how little rolling is required if you use a sushi mat or bamboo mat for this project. You may use bubble wrap instead of the mats, but it will take a while longer to get to the ‘pinch test’ stage.
- Thicker Petals: If you make your petals a lot thicker than those shown in the video, you can expect to do a lot more rolling!
- More Petals: The layers of petals can be increased should you wish to make a more 3D effect for your flower. More layers will mean more rolling!
- No Leaves: You may wish to leave out the leaves or sepals completely and increase the Petal layers by one or two layers according to your preference. Again, more rolling will be required.
- Variations: Once you have learned this technique, it can be used for making various other items, including handbags where you may wish to incorporate a side pocket!
I hope you will enjoy this tutorial. If you decide to try making your own flowers, please feel free to send me your images, I would love to see them.
Gallery: More 3D Flower Examples
© 2013 Sally Gulbrandsen
Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on April 08, 2017:
I do sell my work locally and also in my Etsy store but feel that it might be prohibitively expensive to make enough flowers to cover a 7-foot tree. Making these flowers or similar ones are simple once you have learned the basics of felting. I suggest starting with one of my earlier felt flowers Tutorials and progressing onto this one. Felting can be very addictive but it can also be very time-consuming. I very much appreciate the feedback. Thank you so much.
Nancy Bisogno on April 08, 2017:
I do not think I could make this but it's beautiful! Do you sell your work. I have a tree in my house about seven feet tall and bare. I am thinking of something to put all over it besides the standard silk leaves. Maybe flowers or beautifies?
Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on February 02, 2013:
Thanks Ann, so nice of you to stop by. Have the grandchildren send me a whole bunch of flowers - I look forward to seeing all of them!
Ann Knoff on February 02, 2013:
Great video tutorial Sally, very well done, very easy to follow. My grandkids will love it
Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on January 31, 2013:
Thank you so much Vickiw and Bake Like a Pro, so glad you enjoyed the video - and thank you so much for voting up, you comments are appreciated as always.
Vickiw on January 30, 2013:
Interesting Hub, Sallybea. Hope I get time to try it sometime.
Bake Like a Pro on January 30, 2013:
Your article is so detailed and easy to follow Sally. I enjoyed the video about making 3D felt flowers, so interesting. Thank you for sharing it. I am voting and sharing this with others :)