Wednesday February 27, 2013
Imprint a plain bag with a fuzzy design of your own using easy needle-felting techniques
By LEE MEI LI
LAST year, we shared a tutorial on how to needle-felt tiny fuzzy dolls. Needle felting is one of the many crafts that requires practice but absolutely no prior skill to master.
But don’t get yourself confused with the “felt” word used here – needle felting uses raw wool roving; not yarn or the colourful felt squares you sew bags and toys with. Raw wool has a cotton candy-like texture that can be fashioned into various shapes with the help of a specialised barbed needle.
Recently, Japanese variety store Daiso has made the craft that much more affordable by stocking up on tri-colour wool roving for just RM5, as well as felting needles.
Needle felting is a breeze when you have a multiple-needle felting tool (it can be found at Yee’s Button craft store in SS2, Selangor). The tool lets you prick the wool in place seven needles at one go and is especially useful for needle felting on flat surfaces.
Here, we’ll show you how to needle-felt your way to a customised kawaii book bag. To start, grab a plain cloth bag from Muji (available from RM5 onwards) or upcycle an old one. For the base, try using a Daiso melamine foam – while it is originally used for home-cleaning purposes, the foam works perfectly well as a mat to cushion the needle pricks.
If sewing isn’t your thing, needle felting can be your next best friend to create fancy appliques for your clothes.
Skill level: Intermediate
Time required: 30 minutes
Stuff you’ll need: Linen bag, wool roving in white, black, grey and pink, melamine foam, plastic comb, felting tool with multiple needles, single felting needle, tracing paper, image for tracing and pencil.
1. Place the image you want to trace beneath the tracing paper. Use a pencil to draw along the lines.
2. Position the tracing paper face down on the centre of your linen bag. Transfer the design onto the bag by going over the image outline with the rounded edges of a comb.
3. Remove the tracing paper. If the outlines are too faint, draw over them with a pencil.
4. Insert the melamine foam into the bag and position it beneath the design – this creates a base to safeguard your needles and the other side of the bag. Tear off a small tuft of black wool – this will be for one of the panda’s ears. Hold it in place then carefully use the felting tool to “punch” the wool into the cloth, till the fuzz “sticks” on the fabric. Repeat the process with the other ear.
5. Tear off more tufts of black wool and needle-felt the panda’s upper body, arms, eyes and nose. Roll up small strips of wool and use these to help you fill in the gaps. As for the melamine foam inside the bag, you may move its position accordingly, depending on which surface requires a base.
6. Add on some grey wool for the lips. Try using the single felting needle to go over the smaller areas. (Tip: Do not bend the needle at an odd angle; always hold it straight.) Simply poke the needle in the direction you want the wool to go. Made a mistake? Gently peel off the wool piece and start over.
7. Now, needle-felt on some white wool to fill up the panda’s tummy and face. Ensure that the white layer does not cover over the black wool you needle-felted earlier.
8. Gently go over the panda’s face with the single felting needle to give the features more definition.
9. For a kawaii touch, add some pink wool onto the panda’s cheeks.
10. Go over the whole design once more with the felting tool to tame excess fuzz. Remove the melamine foam from within and the bag is ready for use.