Sweet, right? They are woolly and cute, but I especially love the cheery colours and shiny silver ring shanks, which keep them looking pretty modern for a felted craft.
- Wool rovings (any colour)
- Bowl of hot, hot, hot water
- Bowl of cold, cold, cold water
- Liquid dish soap or hand soap
- Ring shank for cabochons
- Jewellery glue or gel epoxy (this is my favorite)
- Calipers or measuring tape
The how-to is super simple, and even a little repetitive (especially for all you folks who have tried my billy button tutorial).
How to Make a Felted Wool Ball:
1. Measure the diameter of your ring shank. Write that down because you'll totally forget (I did).
2. Grab some wool roving. Pull (don't cut) a tuft off and form it into a loose ball shape. Remember, a finished ball will be about half the size once felted.
3. Once you've got the wool formed loosely into a ball, felt it! Check here for my original tutorial on how to make a felted ball and see here for my troubleshooting tips. I've put together a collage of the steps as a refresher, but those two posts have all the details. Try to felt your ball as firmly and as densely as possible. When it's done, smooth down any loose fibers with a soapy finger.
4. Stop and check the size. The size you need will vary, depending on the size of your shank. At first I was felting them too big, so I started off with a much smaller ball than I needed, added a layer of wool, kept felting, measured, added a layer of wool, kept felting, and measured again until it was the right size. I am very scientific ;)
Hubby has calipers, which helped, but a simple measuring tape works too! There's a little room for error when matching the diameter of your felted ball and the diameter of your ring shank because the wool is flexible.
5. Let the wool dry for a couple of days. I swear, don't touch it yet.
6. Grab a pair of large, sharp scissors and cut the ball in half (just eye ball it, lol). One half became convex, the other concave, from the way my scissors made the cut. The concave side worked better. Marvel at how nifty the ball looks inside (and also check your felting skills: it should be nice and dense).
7. Dab gel epoxy in a thin layer on the ring shank, using a toothpick to spread it around. Make sure it gets to the very edges and even coat a little bit on the sides of the shank, close to the bottom.
8. Place the flat part of the wool bead onto the ring shank and wiggle it into place. Hold it firmly for a minute or so. Use the toothpick to tuck in/under any loose fibres.
9. Set aside to dry overnight.
Caring for Felted Wool Ball Jewellery:
This felted wool ring can get wet and soapy, but I found it's best to take it off before washing my hands. The dark teal one (top) was worn and washed for days and looks a touch looser and fuzzier than the others.