Needle Felt Fairy Tutorial (body)

 

Needle felting is still pretty new to me, I started when pregnant as my ever growing belly meant sitting at the sewing machine (and indeed reaching the sewing machine)  was rather uncomfortable! Needle felt, I could with my feet up on the sofa! As always, I watched a few videos, studied a few pictures and learnt through trial and error, it took a while! This was my first attempt…

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Making them in Waldorf style was much easier. Waldorf characters don’t have facial features, leaves their expression open for interpretation, but also a damn sight easier!!

Here’s the tutorial for making just the body – I will do some more tutorials to show how to make a little character.  But that would make this a very long tutorial and you have this as an easy reference for how to make the body into any character you like!

First, you will need…

a needle felt needle (duh!)

Wool roving (the felt!)

a styrofoam/foam board

small pipe cleaners

(don’t worry about the wooden skewer for now, you’ll only need that for the hat)

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You don’t need to spend a lot on this gear, I got a cheap start kit from good old Amazon!

Here we go:

Pull over a strip off flesh coloured wool, tie a knot in the middle. Fold one ‘tail’ over the knot. Go crazy with needle around the base form the neck.

TIP if you want the wool to form part of the structur and hold in place, you want to push the needle quite deep and lots of stabbing. If you’re adding wool for decoration, I.e. Hair, clothes often you want the stand lightly and less frequently!

You might find the head isn’t particularly round, you can gently needle around to make the shape. Don’t worry about the back, the hair will cover this!

Now, make the body from pipe cleaners. Getting the proportions right are tricky, there is not rule on how big or small you can go. My pipe cleaners are 150mm x 4mm, I find them slightly too big, so I fold over the ends!  At this point the body will look too small, but once you add the wool of the body and clothes it will work out!

To to add the head, spilt the tail in two and pull up to the base of the head, so it sits nice and tight to the body.  Wrap the tails around the body. Needle the ends in and the body quite firmly!

The last part for making the body is to cover the arms and legs, wrap a strand of wool around the limbs, starting and finishing close to the body.  I always struggle to get the hands and feet looking neat, I can’t offer much advice, other than try and hope for the best! Perhaps someone could offer me advice!!  I left the upper arms bare, because this will eventually be covered by clothes!

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So, that’s how you make the body of a Waldorf needle felt character, ready to be made into a wizard, fairy or gnome…here’s some inspiration

Christmas Tree Dress

This has to be best Christmas tree I have ever had!  Our mischievous little cat, Zeb, makes having a Christmas hard work.  He delights in climbing or knocking the thing over and has a great time chasing the baubles, he can’t understand how we don’t find it as equally fun!!  Plus we usually go home to our parents at Christmas so we usually don’t bother….but then I came across Christmas Tree Dresses!  How could I resist, I had to make one!

It’s sturdy enough that Zeb can’t knock it over but delicate enough that he can’t find any purchase to climb it!  It’s so striking that I don’t think it needs baubles, so there’s less temptation!

It was surprisingly easy to do, it probably took me about 3 or 4 hours, but it was so exciting to see it taking shape that the hours just slipped by.

To make one yourself, you will need:

  • A dress form (I happened to already have one!)
  • Chicken wire, wire
  • Wire or sturdy ties
  • A top/fabric to make the top of the dress.
  • A Christmas tree.  I used an artificial one (I think you could a real one, but there;s a lot of cutting and fiddling so you’ll inevitably knock off loads of needles, plus some trees are poisonous to cats).

How to do it:

  • Slip the top on to the dress form
  • Wrap the chicken wire around the waist of the dress form to form the skirt and shape – remember the branch will add volume so keep the skirt slightly small than you the dress to be when you’re finished.
  • Cut the branches from the tree, wrap some wire (about 6 inches long) and wrap around the base of the branch, leaving a couple of inches to make a hook
  • Start with the large branches and hook on the chicken wire.
  • Working from the bottom up and keep moving around in circle building up the layers as you go.
  • Step back from time to time and make sure the branch are nice and even.
  • When you reach the top of the wire you need to hide any exposed wire or gnarly ends of the branches.  I cut some individual branches and wrapped them through the wire then finished it off with a pretty ribbon.
  • Then wrap around the lights

I’m going to make a chunky necklace with baubles to disguise the neckline and make the top pretty, I’ll upload the photos when it’s done!

Now, it feels like Christmas!

 

Arm Knit Blanket | Free Tutorial

For regular visitors to my blog, you may remember I started an arm knitting project a few months ago, well…..I finally finished it!!

(I only bought a couple of balls of yarn to see if I liked it but the store ran out, so I had to wait while until it came back into stock!)

Here is the finished master piece and shots of it in progress!)

The blanket is so warm and the yarn is beautifully soft, perfect for snuggling into on these chilly evenings! So cozy it gets the cats seal of approval!

Arm Knitting Tutorial | Bonsai Hewes

I found the tutorial on Pinterest by Simply Maggie.  She does a great video tutorial and she makes some lovely scarfs, definitely worth checking out!

Arm knitting may be my only venture into knitting – I just suck at regular knitting!  Knitting needles are too fiddly for me and its takes so much concentration – it gets me really frustrated.  But arm knitting is so much easier, I think for me not having tools is the key!  The movement is nice and repetitive so it gets into muscle memory – which means my concentration is freed up to chilled out and watch TV or listen to music while doing it!

I will be honest, it took me a lot longer than 45 minutes to make, probably nearer 3 hours!  I don’t really have the patience to sit still for that long, so I used my hubby’s weight bar to transfer to knitting on to so I could get off my arms for a break.  I think Lee was slightly offended his weight bar was used for knitting, but at least it was getting some use!  It’s just so new that it took me a while to get into the rhythm, but I was getting much quicker towards the end, so the next one definitely won’t take as long!

Wire Wrapped Rings | Free Tutorial

Georgie was getting married and Becky and I were planning her hen weekend in Cornwall! Becky struck gold, when she found Sarah Drew’s jewellery workshop! I would definitely recommend her workshops and books!

We spent a lovely afternoon making rings and pendents made from beads, shells and sea glass from the Cornish Coast.  Inspired by the workshop I have continued to make rings made from old or broken bits of jewellery, beads and sea glass scavenged from the beach.

The process for making these rings is pretty straight forward, but it takes time to learn how to work the wire, a technique I still haven’t quite perfected!

This is the easiest style to make when you’re starting out! Wire Wrapped Rings|Bonsai Hewes

You will need:

Wire Wrapped Rings|Bonsai Hewes

  • 20 gauge wire (tarnish resistant), cut to about 10 inches
  • a bead
  • ring mandrel (or other circular object the correct size of your ring)
  • wire cutters and pillars

Wire Wrapped Rings|Bonsai Hewes

Feed the bead so it sits half way along the wire and Place the bead on the mandrel at the correct size, with the bead facing up.

Now to form the band. Wrap the wire around the back of the mandrel and bring to the front. Try to keep the wire quite tight. Wrap the wire around the bead so the wire goes either side of the bead.

Continue to wrap the wire around the bead, creating a little nest for the bead to sit in. I  found wrapping on end of the wire half way around the bead then repeat for the other end to keep it nice and even. Try to keep the wire low down on the bead.

Once you have about an inch of wire left you want to twist the wire around the band. This can be a fiddle! Slip the ring off the mandrel and use the pillars to push rather than pull the wire around the side of the band.

Wire Wrapped Rings|Bonsai Hewes

After about three twists, Snip the excess wire on the outside of band so it does scratch you skin.  You may need to use the pillars to push the twist towards the bead to keep it neat.  If the band loses it round shape you can push it back on the mandrel and gentle use hammer to tap the band to reshape it!

Wire Wrapped Rings|Bonsai Hewes

Ta dah!

This next ring pushes your skills a little more, but once you get the hang of it, it’s not too hard!

Depending on the number of beads you use, you may need a longer piece of wire.

Start again by making the band, exactly as before, just without the bead! Keep the wire a little loose, the size of the band will reduce as you add beads and wrap the wire.

Feed a bead on to one end the wire, then wrap the wire around the band.  Keeping on going, building up the ring, one bead at a time, alternating between the two ends of wire.

When you have an inch of wire left, wrap it around the band as before.  If  you like you can cut a much longer piece of wire and wrap it the whole length of the band.  This is a particularly useful trick if your ring is too large or if you want to strengthen the band.

Check out my pinterest board for more wire wrapped jewellery ideas by fellow crafters!

No Sew Fabric Pin Board | Free Tutorial

This is an easy one, not a sewing machine in sight!  The perfect project for a lazy Sunday morning!  The beautiful fabric could be a piece of art in itself and they are a wonderful way to display photos, card, recipe cards, to do list, whatever you want really!

For this fabric pin board you will need, a canvas board, staple gun, wadding, fabric, ribbon and scissors.

Fabric Pin Board | Bonsai Hewes

Lay the board on top of the wadding and fabric, cut around leaving a couple of inches all the way around.

Staple the wadding to the board.  Try not to hit any existing staples and watch those fingers! Keep it tight at the corners.  The wadding only needs a few staples, just enough to hold it in place.  The fabric will have more staples, so no need to go over kill now!

Then do the same for fabric, pulling the fabric a little tightly, but not so much the you can see the pulling on the right side.

Next, staple your ribbon, you can lay out the ribbon any way you want, just make sure the ribbon is pulled tightly across the fabric, so it will hold your photos, cards etc!

Here it is, looking gorgeous on the living room bookcase!

 

 

 

Handmade coasters | Project

I love these coasters, they are the prefect craft to make in front of the telly, watching all the Christmassy films!

Coaster

They do take some time, as you need to let the layers of glue and varnish dry, but they are pretty simple!

 

I made mine with samples of Pip Studio wallpaper, but the possibilities are endless!  You can use any kind of paper, fabric, maps, photographs, sheet music, napkins or pages of books!

Once you you have chosen your cover, you will need:

  • small tiles
  • medium paint brush
  • PVA glue
  • clear varnish
  • Felt pads

First, trace around the tile on the back oft he paper and cut.  Cover the tile in a thin layer a PVA and carefully place the paper on the tile, gently smoothing out creases. Allow to dry for several hours.

Paint a layer of PVA over the top of the paper, pay particular attention to the edges of paper, ensuring they are stuck to the tile. Allow to dry again, ideally overnight.

The next steps involving apply several layers of clear varnish, allowing each layer to dry overnight.  This seals the PVA and makes it heat proof, otherwise the coaster sticks to hot mugs of tea!! I used about 3 layers in the end, but it’s worth testing it out yourself, if the coaster sticks, give it another coat of varnish.

Once the varnish has dried, stick the felt pads, or squares of felt cut to size and stick to the bottom.