It is great fun making felt balls - especially with the
help from enthusiastic children! The balls can be used to
make jewellery, toys, mobiles, embellishments, costume and more.
Felt is made from wool fibres, and Merino wool is
particularly good for this. It has a long fine fibre
which felts readily and is available as natural, and in a
choice of 27 colours (see
our range of Felt Making wools).
wool fibre needs water, soap and elbow grease to cause the
felting. For these balls, an empty detergent bottle with a
spray attachment was filled with hot water with a few
drops of washing up liquid.
The spray bottle helped to regulate the application of
the soapy water.
Instructions for making the Felt
Felting the balls (see also
washing machine method).
Take your wool fibres and pull until a small loose
handful comes away from the roving.
Gently shape the fibres in the hollow of a cupped
hand and spray a little soapy water onto them.
Pass the fibres to your other hand and spray the
other side of the fibres.
Bring your hands together, cupping the loose fibres
between them. Gently begin to rotate your palms to make
the shape of a loose ball.
Increase the pressure and speed as you feel the ball
begin to take shape. Add more soapy water to help with
Sometimes the fibres create folds and cracks on the
surface of the ball. To repair these, add a few strands
of the wool fibre, lay them across the surface and
repeat step 4.
The ball can take between 5 to 10 minutes to become
fully felted, depending on the density required. When
you are happy with it, rinse in clean water and squeeze
it a few times by rolling between your palms.
Place the damp balls in the airing cupboard to dry
The felted caterpillar is constructed from different sized
balls, the largest being the head. The felted ball is
solid and robust.
Thread a darning needle with a strong cord at least
three times the length of the intended caterpillar.
Begin with the smallest ball and push the darning
needle through the centre (a pair of pliers may be
needed to pull the needle out through the other side).
Add the subsequent balls until they are all strung
together and the thread is protruding through the
Make a stitch and take the thread back through the
ball and through the remaining balls. Pull the thread
carefully until it makes a crease in the 'head' ball to
make a mouth.
Tie the ends of the thread together in a knot.
To make the antenna, lay out a small amount of
fibres and spray with soapy water. Roll them between
your fingers to create a sausage. Felt the fibres
vigorously until the sausage thins out and lengthens.
Tie a knot in either end and cut in the middle.
Thread a needle with cotton and push the needle
through from the knot end and up the length of the
antenna. Stitch it in place, taking care not to make
indentations in the felted surface and return the thread
up the length of the antenna.
For the nose, sew a bead just above the crease of