Monday, September 10, 2012

Felted Autumn Tree and Book Giveaways

I have a great felting project for you to try, an autumn tree.  I think felting intimidates a lot of people but it is really easy.  It's also a clean project as you use only warm soapy water.

The main thing is to have patience.  I would recommend this project for Grade 3 or higher.

I'll give you all the details on this project but first I want to introduce 2 new felting books from my friends at Creative Publishing International.

First up is "The Complete Photo Guide to Felting" by Ruth Lane.  This book tells you everything about felting with tons of color photos and step by step instructions.

A great reference book for beginners or experienced felters.  I have read quite a few books on felting but this was the first time I encountered one that covered absolutely everything!

-Soft cover
- suggested retail $27.99 Can, $24.99 USA
- over 800 pictures

It has 239 pages full of information on wet felting, needle felting and Nuno felting.

I especially liked the info pages on sheep and wool varieties.  I am fortunate to have a weaving supplier who carries many types of wool but they all react to felting differently.

This book goes through each variety, shows a picture of each type and what felt it will produce, how long it will take, resulting texture, and shrinkage.
Ruth goes through the entire process from raw wool to dyeing procedures to designing projects with exacting detail and terrific pictures.

Lots to keep you busy!

The second charming book is "Felted Feathered Friends" by Laurie Sharp.  This book focuses on needle felted birds.

Honestly I haven't done much needle felting.  I'm mostly a wet felter but I'm a sucker for birds and I can't wait to try some of these out.

Check out this woodpecker, adorable!  I just saw a Hairy Woodpecker in my backyard last week.

There are 20 different bird projects.

There is a short (just right) chapter on basic supplies and techniques.  You then get a nice large picture of the completed bird, the Materials list, and then step by step photos and instructions.
hmmm.....very much like this blog.

So if you like my format you are sure to like this book.  Wait till you see the flamingo!

- hard cover
- 264 pages
- 500 pictures
- suggested retail $21.99 Can, $19.99 USA

I'm giving away a copy of each book so check out the end of the post for details.

Now back to my felted Autumn Tree Project:


- cleaned and carded wool , plain and dyed in Fall colors. Check out this old post on how to dye wool with good old Koolaid
- a recycled water bottle, I like the squeeze type
- an old towel
- liquid dish soap and a bar of soap
- a piece of netting or tulle
- warm water
- ziploc bag, optional
- either a sushi mat, bubble wrap, or that bumpy non slip shelf liner


Lay out your towel on your workspace.

I like to use that bumpy non slip shelf liner.  You can buy a big roll of it (Rubbermaid) and then cut to size for a class set.  You'll use these over and over again.

Place your piece on top of your towel.  You can also use a sushi mat or a piece of bubble wrap.

We are going to build our base first and then add the colors.

Take the plain wool and taking little sections lay onto your shelf liner all going the same way.  I try to separate and flatten it out as much as I can.  You don't want big clumps.

Don't worry if your wool goes past the shelf liner we will trim this later.

Do the same thing again but this time run the pieces the other way.

Repeat this process again so you have 4 layers of wool.

It will seem a bit bulky but don't worry once you start felting it will be flat.

You can trim the excess now.

Save to use for another project.

This part is optional.  I just happened to have blue and green wool so I added these to my background but the tree will look awesome just on a plain background as well.

I'm just adding one layer here.  I left some of the white showing for clouds.

Add your Fall colors in a tree shape. (just the leaves)  Don't worry about the trunk or branches at this time.

I had about 2 layers of colored wool for the leaves.

Put a squirt or two of liquid dish soap into your squeeze bottle.  Add hot water.  Shake a little and start squirting onto your wool.

You want your wool to be fully saturated.

Place a piece of netting or tulle on top of your wet wool.

Take your soap bar and rub over the netting/tulle.  Just enough to make it bubbly and foamy.

Now it's time to rub.  You can just use your bare hand but I find it keeps messing with my netting. So I put my hand into a ziploc.  It keeps the netting from moving.

This is where the patience comes in, it takes anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes of rubbing.  It depends on the variety of wool. Keep adding water and soap as needed.

You know you have rubbed enough when if you pinch the felt it tents.  If fibres pull loose keep on rubbing.

When done pick up the felted piece in the palm of your hand. Move to the drier half of the towel.

Take the netting off and fold the towel over top like a sandwich.

Push down to blot out water.

Roll up the towel and push down to further blot out the water.

Put your piece aside to dry. 

Now we will make the trunk and branches.

Lay out some brown wool fleece in a tree shape.

There is no layering here just a good clump.  We will be rolling our felt.

Set it up just like before.  Shelf liner, wool fleece, warm soapy water, netting, and then rub with soap bar.

When I get it nice and soapy I take the netting off for a minute and twist the wool.

Then put the netting on again and start rubbing and rolling the wool.

When done roll in dry part of the towel and blot out the water.

Let's put our tree together.

I could needle felt my trunk in place but I want this to be kid friendly so I'm going to glue it in place.

Figure out where you want your branches to go and trim excess.

I cut the branches to a taper and then twist the ends further.

Now you can just wet felt the tree trunk into the background. Repeat the same method as described before.  Lay on top, soak the piece. add netting, more soap and rub.  But I decided to take the easy way out.

Put some tacky glue on the back and press into place on your felted background.

Finally I glued the whole felted picture to a burlap backing.  I added a stick to the top with a glue gun and then tied on a string.

That's it.

Now if you are interested in the book giveaways you can enter in one of the following ways:

- leave a comment on this post
- like or comment on this link on my Facebook page
- send me an email at

There will be one winner for each book.

Please only Canadian and USA residents only.

Enter by 11:59pm Thurs, Sept 13th/12 and I will make the draw Friday morning.

Good luck everyone and Happy Felting!


  1. What a fun project! I'm sure my kids would like to make trees of their own. Thanks for the chance for a felting book as well!

  2. I saw the glue come out and I totally yelled at the computer screen. You so do not need to glue the tree trunk in! You can wet felt it along with the whole picture. There's also a great way to speed up the felting process. Make the layers just like you describe on the shelf liner mat, lay a piece of tulle over top and then wrap the whole thing (shelf liner and all) around a piece of "pool noodle" or foam pipe insulation or PVC pipe. Then roll just like a rolling pin, pressing down and rolling back and forth. Once in a while open up your roll and flip the felt picture over and rotate 90 degrees. This helps it shrink more evenly. Once it's flipped, then roll it back up and keep doing the rolling pin thing. I also like liquid dishwashing soap mixed right with the water, rather than a bar of soap. I have great luck doing this method with kids - this is one of our most popular projects.
    -- Becka Rahn
    Education Director, Textile Center

  3. Hey Becka, I know I could have felted the tree trunk right along with the whole picture. I was taking the easy way out. I do often glue felted pieces and embellishments to my mixed media work so I was just thnking down that road. I didn't mean to upset you and will add the option of wet felting the trunk to the post. I haven't tried the pool noodle method so I will have to give that a try.
    Take care

  4. Wow in so many way... great project Gail!

  5. You always have such fun and creative projects... that book on the felted birds looks darling!!!

  6. Thanks for the tutorial Gail! Your project is lovely and the books look great. I have some wool felt here that I've been playing with but I don't have any instructions so I'm just winging it- a book would come in handy ! : ) Thanks!


  7. I will be doing this project with my daughter - she's going to live this! Thanks for the instructions!

  8. Inspiring post! Perfect fall project. I'm also a bird lover. This weekend I saw a hummingbird moth. Who knew a moth could be so cute.

  9. I've never felted before, but always wanted to. You made this process look so easy, maybe even easy enough I'll get past that initial hurdle and try my hand at felting.

  10. Wonderful posts! I would love to try felting. I'm a big knitter, but I want to try something new.

  11. I must get my needle felting supplies out again with fall coming...this is pretty! I'd love to win that book on birds...yes, they are pretty irresistible!

  12. Both of these books look great! Would love to have either one of them. Thank you for offering them.

  13. Thank you for such a comprehensive post. I often wondered exactly how felting was done. I can see why you gear it to students in grade 3 or higher. I'd like to try it on my own for fun.

  14. Another gorgeous project! Love the colours!
    What a great giveaway!

  15. Hi Gail
    Thank you for yet another wonderful idea to try. I teach a multigrade class, and your projects always lend themselves so well!
    I've never felted in this way, and would like to try it.

  16. Thanks for the chance, and for a great inspirational blog of what things to try with the kids!

  17. I stocked up on felt when I went to iceland and have been waiting for a way to use it! Would love to win one of these books!! :)

  18. The books (and your project) look gorgeous. I'd love to have esp. the "Felted Feathered Friends"- I love birds.
    Thanks for the giveaway.

    1. Great project idea with felting. I always enjoy your blog!

  19. I love to see what you come up with. I am not a teacher, but I am a grandma, and love to have new projects in mind to try. Thank you!

  20. Awesome. You never cease to inspire us Gail!

  21. I have never heard of felting before! I can't wait to learn more and see if I can give it a try with some students. You make is look easy! Thanks for the chance to win these great books.

  22. Hi! I love your tutorials, and again it is a great one. Thanks for sharing.

  23. I just attempted our first felting project this week with my 14 year old. I would love to try the projects in these books ( I love those birds!). Thanks for sharing.

  24. I am so looking forward to felting. It is on my list of new crafts I want to try this season! Thanks for putting these books up for a giveaway.

  25. More great ideas to try! I have a new studio space and am anxious to start teaching workshops to adults and kids. Thank you for all of the work you do and share with us. The books look great and I would love to win one!

  26. Thanks for this post. I have always been interested in felting, but intimidated by the wet felting and have not tried it. I just got a needle felting kit and I am in love with this craft! I would be grateful to win either of the books and look forward to doing more fun crafts with felt.
    Best Regards,

  27. now felting is something i have always wanted to try though i've had plenty of accidental felting (throwing wool items into the dryer, oops) ;) thanks for sharing your creations and a fun giveaway.

  28. I like your projects very much. Thank you for the detailed tutorials! It would be nice to win the books!

  29. I have some felting supplies that I need to pull out with the kids. A book of projects for them to pick from would be great!

  30. The only things I've ever felted were sweaters but that wasn't on purpose!

    I've added you to my blog roll.


  31. I love it! Many of my most successful art projects have been inspired by your blog. Felting may be the next big thing I try...

  32. I would love to win a book! I've tried felting (without much idea of what to do) and haven't been to successful. I love you blog and all you fabulous ideas. Our homeschool group is starting a little co-op and I will be teaching art so I have been pouring over art teacher blogs the last few weeks looking for inspiration.

  33. I have never tried felting but it looks like fun. Thank you for the giveaway.

  34. ooh! the felting book looks like an incredible resource!

  35. Felting is quite intriguing. I'd love to try it someday.