I shipped off my first Custom Order today - based on my Woodland Felted Tree - the buyer requested I make it from the colors of her kitty. She lives in New York City and I really enjoyed making it for her.....
It is 14" high. The colors came out great and nicely marbelized.
How I made it:
1. I bought a 14" styrofoam cone
2. I added three layers (in different directions) of wool. The final layer featured all the different colors of brown.
3. I got a queen size pair of pantyhose (one leg cut off) and with the help of my husband, put it on the tree. Now this is no easy task as the wool tends to fall off and it is very dense. When we put the pantyhose on, it's like putting on a girdle and I must be very careful not to disturb the wool. So, I have my husband hold the cone and wool while I stretch the hose over the top and down, stuffing the wool as I go. I take a sigh of relief when everything is collected. The hose is not only to keep everything together but to add extra friction (which wool adores) so it felts faster.
4. Then comes the hot water and olive oil soap. Roll, roll, roll, add more water and soap and keep on a rollin'. When I see the wool come through the hose, I know it's starting to felt. I have to take the pantyhose off or it will felt to the wool - not nice.
5. Off comes the hose - easier now because the fibers have grabbed to each other. Then I put it back on again - also, easy. Now more of #4.
6. When I see that the bottom of the tree is beginning to pull away from the cone, it's time to take the pantyhose off. I pinch test the wool to make sure it's holding together. For this piece, I actually took a thin spatula and went in from the bottom to release it from the cone. The cone is very rough (which is also good for the wool) but tends to also grab the wool.
7. All off and then I start to do the "fulling". Fulling means to really get down to business...less water and soap, using a rolling pin on it, rolling it on bubble wrap bubble side up and in general giving it a good workout. I turned it inside out to make sure the inside was felted then turned it back again. I took a piece of bubblewrap and went over it. By this time, it got very fuzzy (depends on the wool) so I used the smooth side of the bubble wrap to try and get the fibers to lie down.
8. I whacked it against the side of the sink to further felt it, ran it under hot water and worked it with my hands over and over again. I stretched it to make it longer and wider.
9. When satisfied, I rinsed it in vinegar and water to balance the ph...then another rinse.
10. Then I stuffed it with plastic bags and put it ontop of a heat register and closed the door - nighty night.
11.I took the bags out to let it dry inside and waited. In this case, it turned out just fine!