Felted balls like these are really easy to make - a great project for beginners... It all started when my mother sent me a cutting from an old magazine about felting balls.
I read the instructions and this seemed very simple - so simple that I could do it while babysitting. I thought it would be a good afternoon activity and felting lesson for my one year old granddaughter who was suffering from a cold on Monday and was tired of playing with toys! I got her interest by putting the sticky tape and two bottle tops on her little plastic table ... and so the process began.
Step1 : Making the rattle for inside the ball - take two bottle tops and put some little stones inside one and tape the other on top. Check that the tape is secure.
Step 2: Gathering wool supplies - you will need some wool for the core of the ball ( wool roving, pieces of an old woollen garment or blanket.), some wool roving for the outside of the ball and some novelty yarns, silk threads, or feature yarns to add some interest.
Step 3: Making the core of the ball - wrap some wool around the bottle top rattle, trying to make a fairly basic spherical shape. Wrap some wool yarn around this core to keep it all together and to maintain the basic shape.
Step 4: Outer layer of the ball - cover the core with wool roving and wind a contrasting or novelty yarn ( natural fibres are best) around the roving to hold it in place.
Step 5: Preparing the ball for felting - put the "ball" into the toe of of a nylon stocking - take care not to to push any of the wool or fibres out of place and thus change the shape too much. Tie a knot to secure the ball in the stocking . Check the knot will not come undone. ( My assistant felter found this step the most fun, as you can also bounce the ball on the ground whilst holding the end of the stocking. )
Step 6: Wet felting- Add the ball in the stocking to a bowl of hot soapy water - warning, for children, you need to supply their own bowl of lukewarm water. When the ball is saturated, begin to roll the ball in your hands, causing the friction needed for the wool fibres to felt. This usually take approximately 5 minutes.
Step 7: Remove the ball from the stocking, and continue to roll the ball in your hands to shape. Rinse thoroughly to remove all soapy water and roll again in a towel to remove excess moisture. Allow to dry naturally. This can take a few days depending on the weather.
I will probably add some surface embroidery, but this ball makes a great sound when shaken, and is a safe toy for toddlers, as well as quite a decorative item.
I did say at the beginning of this post that this was an easy project - now you can see, simple enough for even a one year old!