Please read all the instructions before commencing.
If you are using a new technique always practice first.
These felt beads can be used to make modern jewellery, sewn on to fabric or knitted bags or attached to items, such as keyrings.
Merino Wool Tops (Fibres - Merino Wool Tops)
Olive or Dove soap (Tools - Olive Soap - TS 654 O)
Prefelt (Fibres - Prefelt - PF 655 W)
1. Decide how many beads you would like to make. If you are making 5 beads divide the Merino Wool Tops into 6 equal strips. This will make 5 beads plus one strip to add to the beads if they are unequal in size. If you cannot make the beads the same size, put the largest bead in the middle of the necklace and grade them to the smallest at the outer edge.
2. Take a strip of Merino Wool Tops and divide it into strips about ¼” (1cm) wide. Tease out each of these strips until they look equal with no thick or thin areas. The strip will become approximately 3 or 4 times wider. It is easier to do this when your hands are dry.
3. Take a piece of prefelt about 1” (2.5cm) square and fold the corners into the middle to form a rough ball shape. If the felt bead is ½” (1.5cm) or less prefelt is not required.
4. Take a piece of teased Merino Wool Tops and wrap it around the prefelt. Add more Merino Wool Tops until all the prefelt is covered making sure you wind the Merino Wool Tops in all directions like you would if you were winding a ball of knitting wool. Bear in mind that the Merino Wool Tops will shrink by about one third, so the bead needs to be made larger than the required size.
5. Dip the bead into hot water but do not make it too wet. Shake off any excess water. Rub the wet ball on the soap. Keeping your hands flat, roll the bead very, very gently between your fingers. If the bead is too wet it will become a disc. Gently pat the disc to make it into a bead shape. As the bead becomes harder more pressure can be applied when rolling it. You can also roll the felt beads on the textured side of bubblewrap.
6. Continue to add Merino Wool Tops, hot water and soap until the bead has become hard and the correct size. The final winding of Merino Wool Tops is very important and should be completely teased to prevent lines appearing on the bead. If the bead is too large keep rolling it to make it smaller. When the bead is finished place it on a teatowel and make more beads. When all the beads are finished rinse them to remove the soap and leave them to dry on a teatowel. The finished bead should bounce like a ball!
7. To make a hole in the bead use a thick needle with a sharp point. Insert the needle all the way through the bead taking care to keep the hole in the middle of the bead. Remove the needle and insert a size 13 (2.25mm) metal knitting needle into the hole to increase the size of the hole. The beads can be kept on the knitting needle until required.
a. Thread the beads on to Waxed Cotton Cord (Jewellery - Waxed Cotton Cord)
b. Thread the beads on to Waxed Cotton Cord together with other items.
Large holed beads (Beads - Large Holed Beads)
Discs (Beads - Large Holed Beads)
Beads - size 6 (Beads - Cubes, Frosted, Oily or Silverlined)
Beads - Batik Fabric (Beads - Batik Fabric)
Buttons - (Buttons - Coconut)
c. Make a long necklace and tie a knot to secure.
d. Make a short necklace and use a fastening (Jewellery - Fastenings)
How to attach the fastening - Go to Free Design October 2007 Knitted coloured Wire Bracelet with Glass Beads - follow step 12.
e. Dismantle any old necklaces you may have and use some of the beads.
f. Make a bracelet using Bracelet Elastic (Jewellery - Bracelet Elastic)
© Torbay Textiles 2009