Friday, March 22, 2013

DIY: Tiny felted earrings

I've been thinking for a while that I should needle-felt some earrings--this week I decided to go for it. Turns out, it's a super-simple project, even if you've never needle-felted a day in your life...

What you need: earring posts, glue, wool roving, felting needle, and foam block. The earring posts can be picked up at any craft store, while the needle felting supplies can be found at some craft stores. My foam block and felting needles were purchased at Canvas Works in Olympia, and most of my wool roving is from Paradise Fibers here in Spokane. They have an amazing selection, both roving and yarn in abundance (and even spinning wheels and drop spindles!).

Start with a small amount of wool roving, just a woolly wisp.

Roll the wool (roll the wool! roll the wool! roll the wool!) between your thumb and forefinger until it forms a ball. This will put all the wild strands in one place. All the better (read: easier) to felt with.

Once you have a hand-rolled wool ball, you'll need to tighten it up with needle felting. Insert the needle in the center of your ball, lifting the needle and punching it back into the wool. The notches in the needle will catch the wool and make the fibers intertwine. Try to keep your needle thrusts fairly shallow, or you'll end up felting your wool right into the foam block. If that happens, it's not a huge deal. You just pull the wool from the block and felt the fibers back into place.

To get the needle felted ball to tighten, you'll need to pull all the loose wool along the edges towards the center. I accomplish this by using the tip of the needle to fold in the wool at the edges. It's really difficult to capture in photos (especially when it's just you felting and taking pictures), and I'm not doing a great job articulating the process, but I always think of kneading bread while I'm doing it. Just keeping tucking everything to the center. 

Eventually, you'll end up with a nice tight little ball. 

Smoosh that ball! Unless you want really round earrings, in which case, leave the ball ball-y.

I used my felting block to hold the earring posts while I applied glue.

Then just stick your flattened felted ball to the earring post and press to make sure it adheres. 

Trim any crazy straggly fibers--oh, there will definitely be some--and then allow the glue to dry.

And that'll do it. Wear them out and about, in matching or mixed-color pairs. Cute and easy, just like I like.

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