I’ve been working on some simple needle felting projects lately. It’s fun to get the satisfaction of finishing a project that is less time intensive than my needle felted dolls.
This project brings together rough twigs and soft wool into a rustic coaster that would work equally well in your home, cabin, or bus.
Needle felting let’s you shape wool like you would clay, but since the wool doesn’t stick to itself on it own, we use a barbed needle to make it adhere to itself. As the needle goes in and out of the wool, the barbs catch the fibers and intertwine them. It’s a simple process, but the needles are sharp so I can’t recommend needle felting for kids under 9 years old. I’ve pricked myself several times.
1/4 -1/2 oz Wool Roving (unspun wool) in contrasting colors (I used yellow-green and black)
4 inch twigs
Extra paper or a magazine to protect your work surface from inadvertent pokes
1. For this project I used 1/4 ounce of wool roving in a 14 inch long strip to make a coaster 3 inches diameter. The size and thickness of your finished coaster will depend on the amount of wool you use. Roll a strip of your main color roving into a spiral. The resulting circle should have a diameter an inch or so larger than the desired diameter for your finished coaster. It should be around an 1 1/2 thick. As you felt the wool with your felting needle, the wool will compress.
2. Place your wool roving on a sponge. Insert your needle all over the surface of the wool to achieve even felting. Do this for a minute or so on one side. They flip and repeat. You do not want to let your needle embed deeply in the sponge. This will cause the wool to adhere to the sponge. Instead, consider the sponge to be a soft “landing pad” for the tip of your needle.
3. The wool will have begun to cling to itself a little bit. Now insert your needle into the outer rim of your coaster. This will involve inserting your needle horizontally into the wool. Circle around the rim several times. This will intertwine the wool from the opposite direction and will make your coaster stronger.
4. Check to make sure the diameter of your coaster is where you want it. If it is two wide, you can needle around the outer rim of the coaster several more times.
5. Now needle the top and bottom of the coaster, flipping every couple of minutes. In 15-20 minutes, you will have a firm, fairly smooth surface. Remember to insert your needle all over the surface. Don’t neglect the edges.
6. To make the tree trunk, take a wisp of your contrasting roving and roll it between your fingers. Lay it on the coaster and needle along it until it adheres. This will create an indent in the coaster. To counter that, needle all over the coaster again.
7. Add the branches to the tree in a similar manner.
8. Place two inch-long strands of roving on your sponge and needle them for a couple of minutes, flipping frequently.
9. Place one twig against your coaster. Wrap the felt “strap over the twig. Needle from the front and back to lock into place. Repeat for the other twig.
10. Relax with a glass of lemonade and no fear for your end table.
Looking for needle felting supplies? This project is available as a kit in the Catching Eddies Etsy shop.