Sunday, March 28, 2010

How To Make Needle Felted Bowls-Part 1

In this article I am going to give you the basic instructions for making a needle felted bowl.  Please feel free to email me or leave a comment if you have questions or need more information on any of the steps.

Wool- I recommend you have at least 8 ounces of various colors.
( I generally stay away from Merino as I don't want that really tight flat finish that Merino gives. I use Corridale or something similar. I am a handspinner so I often have stuff lying around. If you are not and are buying some wool, I would look for Corriedale wool for this project.

If you make more of these later on, you can experiment to see what fibers you like best. 

Additional optional embellishments that really make the bowls lovely if you have access or really get into it like I have and want to get more supplies.
pieces of wool or mohair yarn
mohair blend or fiber
Other feltable blends with wool, silk, and other animal fibers.
These will go on the final layers and you will not use them at the beginning.

Felting needles of a large or medium size or a felting tool like the Clover Felting Needle Tool

A foam mat

Something soft that you can put on the inside of your bowl as you shape to hold the bowl shape. I use a zip lock bag full of old yarn, or a smaller piece of foam cut and rolled into a round sort of shape.

Basic Steps
The Base
I start with basic felting wool for the first steps. The clover wool works well like the Clover Wool Roving Assortment B Lime Green, Teal, Orange and Violet)

I start shaping a round flat base of the size I want the bowl bottom to be. Keep felting and adding to it until it is starting to feel firm and solid.  In later steps, you can add decorative colors, but don't do this now if you plan to.  Just get a basic firm shape.

Adding the Sides
There are two ways to do it that I have found.  You are going to be shaping the bowl as if it were a piece of pottery.  You can use a coil that you keep wrapping around or you can make a flat side of the height you want for the finished bowl and attach it. The choice of method will affect the shape of the bowl.
The flat material side will give you a straight sided bowl. The coil method will give you a bowl that can turn in at the top.

This bowl was made using the flat method.
You can see that it has rather

 This second bowl is made using the
coil method. It has a much more
rounded shape at the top. I like
the artistry of the coiled ones. This one I left pretty thick. It really looks nice with dried twigs or bittersweet in it.

Once you have decided on your method, we can begin attaching the sides.  We will be working on getting the shape first, then adding fiber to it later on.  As you work, you will want your felt to be firm enough to hold together, but you don't need to have a finished look yet.  If you are coiling there will be spaces between the coils that you will have to go and fill in on a later phase. I will tell you more about this later on. If you are using the flat piece method you won't have so much filling in to do, just adding your final layers at the end.

How To Make Needle Felted Bowls Part -2 can be accessed here

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