Young and Crafty Sisters: 05/19/11

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dans le Townhouse {Tutorial}

Today I've got Tanya from Dans le Townhouse showing off a really cool, modern project! Be sure to go visit her blog too!

Yellow Craspedias (small, spherical flowers also known as “Billy Buttons” or “Woolyheads”) are so adorable that it is no wonder they are a constant feature in home décor magazines and blogs.  While making felted wool beads for a necklace, the ochre wool beads I created started to really look like stylized Yellow Craspedias.  Inspired, I made some extra felted wool beads, pierced them with cloth covered floral wire and made an arrangement in an inexpensive West Elm vase.  I’m really excited to share the how-to with fellow Young & Crafty readers. 
My FAUX Craspedias
REAL Craspedias
Photo Source
Supplies:
·         Mustard yellow wool roving (found in yarn/craft stores or online)
·         One bowl of hot, hot, hot as you can stand water
·         One bowl of cold, cold, cold as you can bear water
·         Cloth covered stem wire (found in the floral section of most craft stores – I used 20 gauge)
Here’s the how-to:
The whole process for one ball should only take a couple minutes.  First, tear off a piece of your wool roving, like you would tear off a piece of cotton candy.  You want ragged ends.  Remember that your wool ball will shrink a bit during the felting process.  Try starting with the same approximate amount of wool I use in the photo below to create a ball the same size as mine.  Real “Woolyheads” are about an inch in diameter.
Next, place a small drop of soap (I have used both hand soap and dish soap successfully) in your dry hands and also rub a tiny bit onto the piece of wool roving.
Then, roughly shape the wool into a ball before dipping it gently in the hot water – you want it a tad wet, not completely drenched.
Very, very gently roll the wool roving between your palms – like you would a clay ball.  At this stage, don’t squish the wool any harder than you would a baby chick.  Then dunk the roughly shaped ball into the cold water (this time you can soak it) and keep rolling. Then dunk the ball into the hot again, then the cold, rolling between dunks.  The change in temperature helps “shock” the wool fibres and is part of the felting process.  Plus, you want to rinse out the soap.
                               
As your ball becomes firmer (and thus smaller), you can apply more pressure.  Your ball is finished when it is firmer to the touch and feels “dense”.  You can see in the next photo how much smaller my ball has become.
Leave the felted wool ball(s) to dry, for 24 to 48 hours.  The dry felted wool ball should have a slight bounce to it when dropped on a countertop.  I recommend making a few as a “test” before diving into a dozen or so for an arrangement.
Once your felted wool ball is dry, simply pierce it with the end of the floral wire and twist & wiggle the wire into the felted ball until it almost pops out the other side.  Your ball should be dense enough to grip the wire.  I flung my finished “Billy Buttons” around and no felted balls went flying.  Then bend the wire as you please, making some droopy flowers or more rigid ones.  Bend the wire gently – you don’t want any kinks – just soft bends.
                             
And, voilà!
                          


Thanks so much Tanya! Those really are pretty neat and I LOVE the yellow!



If you would like to share a NEW tutorial please email me at youngancrafty @ gmail.com for more details!