Handmade Natural Wool Fiber Play Ball – A Craft Idea

hand made wool play ball2

Are you trying to think of a meaningful gift to give to your daycare children?  Do they have every plastic toy under the sun already? How about a beautiful soft wool ball that can be used for a variety of games or pretend play?

It’’s great for small toddlers who love to toss a ball around inside the house.  It’’s open ended for preschoolers who will pretend it is a magical egg one day and a cannon ball the next day.  It’’s also fantastic for school age children who will construct an elaborate ramp system to see it roll down a series of slides.

A beautiful handmade gift shows the child and their parents how much you appreciate them in your daycare.   This craft is also so easy that young children aged three or four years old have the skills necessary to make one.  You don’’t need to be super crafty to make this gift.  I would suggest you make a ‘practice’ one to begin with to get the feel of the process.  Natural wool is very forgiving and any mistakes that you make will not show in the finished product.

 

How To Make A Wet Felted Wool Play Ball

 

Materials:

1. Natural sheep’’s wool roving in a variety of colours. (check out a craft store near you or follow the amazon link)

2. Soap

3. Water  (warm and cool)

Either in a bowl or work beside your sink.

 

4. Old Towel

One ball takes about 15 minutes to complete.

 

Procedure:

Take a strip of plain wool and pull it apart to get the desired length of wool you would like for your ball.  The longer the strip the bigger the ball.  The wool pulls apart very easily.  The end product will be much smaller than the size of ball you start with initially.

Wind the wool into a small ball.  This will be your center.

 

Cover the inner ball with a different colour of wool that you have pulled off into small lengths.

 

Wind the wool around the center ball.

Try to wind it tightly.

 

Add several layers in a variety of colours.

Dunk the ball in warm water.
Add some soap to the ball.
Rub the ball in your hands or on a bumpy surface (bubble wrap works well) to work the soap into a suds.  Keep rubbing the ball for 7 minutes to allow the fibers in the wool to bind to one another.  You will feel the ball getting smaller and more dense as the soap, water and agitation works the fibers of the wool together.

Keep rubbing the ball and squeezing it for the full 7 minutes.  The ball will feel harder when it is done.

Rinse out the soap in the ball under the tap using cool water. Dry the ball by squeezing out the excess water in a towel.

How does it look?

You can cut off any extra strings or hairs that didn’’t get completely worked in.  If there are bare spots that you don’’t like you can needle felt (instructions below) some wool over top of those areas.

You could also needle felt some details onto your ball if you desire.  Small flaws in handmade objects make them look authentic.  Celebrate your success!  You just made your first wet felted object.  Hooray!!

 

 Needle Felting Instructions (to add detail or fix mistakes)

Materials:

Natural sheep wool batting

Felting needle (from a craft or knitting store)

A piece of foam

Procedure:

Pull off a small piece of wool from your long strip in the colour you desire.  Put the piece of wool onto your piece of foam.

Your foam will protect you from getting poked.  It is used only as a work surface. Shape the wool into a small circle by poking it with the needle repeatedly.

Work another piece of wool into a shape if you wish.

Once you have the shape you desire, place the circle onto your ball.  Poke all around the edges of your circle using your needle.  Keep stabbing the needle into the circle of wool and into your ball to allow the wool fibers of the circle to attach to the wool fibers of the ball.

Stand back and admire your work!

What a beautiful gift you just created!  The recipient will be awed at your talent and hard work.

 

Remember, you can do this even if you aren’t crafty.  Here is a three year old making a wet felted snake following this exact technique.  If he can do it, you can do it too!

 

Happy wet felting!

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