Cheaters Guide to Dying Wool Felt

I have a confession to make... I cheat. There, I said it. Oh, not in anything important like a game of Candyland with the wee ones or on my taxes, BUT, I'm always on the lookout for shortcuts. Sometimes, I've made some awesome discoveries that I use over and over again, other times I've experienced some scathingly brilliant disasters! (There is a ponytail incident that comes to mind, but that truly is a blog in and of itself!)
Anyway, one of my many cheats... or let's just call them time savers... is when I dye felt. There are MANY sites out there that give great tutorials on how to dye wool that include heat and a setting agent. You should probably go read some of them... seriously : ) Today, I'm going to share how I dye wool felt to get the soft, subtle color variations that I love using a non-traditional, cheaters-shortcut.

A couple of things to know... these are not considered "colorfast". I do not do anything to "set" the color in, because I am using the felt for items that do not get wet, and I've yet to have any problems with the colors rubbing off or getting on your hands when they are made into toys. Remember... this is not an official tutorial on dying felt. This is my own fast and easy method. If you want to try it, make 1 piece of felt and make it into something. Use it for a while and see what you think. It works for me but might not be what you need.

So, having said all that, let's get started. All you need is a white piece of 100% wool felt and some food coloring.

I begin by getting the piece of felt completely wet using warm water. Squeeze out extra water. The felt will probably looked crumpled, and might even "felt" or shrink a bit. I'm okay with that!

Next, get out a jelly roll pan and put just enough water in it to cover the surface.

Now, squirt some drops of food coloring on the surface. I usually use 2 colors and lightly swirl.

This is what magically happens when you swirl blue and yellow... you get green, tah dah! If you wanted blue, you can do the same technique using only blue food coloring and leaving "white space" in the pan.

Here is some yellow and orange food coloring.

Place your piece of felt in the jelly roll pan, and press down. Do not move it around. You want to pick up the swirls and give it a mottled look. If you move it too much you will wind up with a solid color. (No photo for that step. Sorry!)

Remove the felt from the pan.

Using rags or paper towel, blot off some of the extra water.

Set on a wire rack to dry completely. I occasionally move the felt around the rack and turn it over while it is drying. This will stop the felt from developing lines from the rack.

That's all there is to it. When the felt is completely dry, you can use it for making gnomes and other projects. Notice the variation in color. I love it!

Before anyone asks, I get most of my felt from A Child's Dream. They got some of the loveliest felt around!

Copyright © Wee Folk Art, LLC 2008-2014. All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce our text, images or patterns without prior written consent. You may use one or two images on your blog as long as you reference Wee Folk Art and share a direct link back to our page. Please contact us with any questions.

Photos 1-22-14, 2-4-14


Puffy Hearts Wall Hanging

For Valentine's Day we made a plethora of puffy hearts. These sweet ornaments would make a lovely Valentine for teachers, friends, or relatives... or hang a bunch together as an adorable, colorful, wall hanging.

Muslin Fabric
Washable Fabric Pen
Fiber Fill
6 Stranded Embroidery Floss
Needle and pins
Water color or acrylic paints
Heart Pattern (draw and cut out a heart to use as a pattern)
Pinking Shear

Trace a heart pattern onto a sheet of muslin. Cut two pieces of muslin (one with the heart pattern and one plan) into a square leaving at least an inch around the pattern. Line up the two pieces and pin together.

Using all 6 strands of embroidery floss, use a running stitch to sew the pieces together. You can hide the knot between the two pieces of fabric.

Leave about an inch wide opening to stuff the heart.

Loosely, stuff the heart with fiber fill and then finish sewing the heart closed. Hide your knot between the layers.

Once your heart is complete, used watered down acrylic paints or water color paints to paint your heart. You can paint your heart solid or mix colors together. Painting some areas lighter and others darker, creates a lovely molted effect.

Feel free to use more than one color or paint patterns. Be sure to paint at least a 1/2 inch beyond your sewing stitch.

Hang to dry.

Once dry, use pinking shears to cut out around the edge of the heart, approximately 1/4 inch away from your seam.

Use the 6 stranded embroidery floss to create a hanging loop. Thread the floss onto the needle folded in half, doubling it to 12 strands. Pull through, slide the needle off, and slip the ends through the loop. Tie off the ends of the string and trim. If you want to make a wall hanging your loops should be slightly longer than the height of your hearts from bottom point to center dip.

You now have a lovely heart ornament.

They can be hung separately, given away as Valentines, or you can link them together to create a rainbow heart wall hanging. To link them, slip the purple heart loop over the blue heart loop and let it drop down. Now slip the blue loop over the teal loop, and so on.

Hang by the top loop.


If you would like, you can use printed fabrics instead of painting plain muslin.

Copyright © Wee Folk Art, LLC 2008-2014. All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce our text, images or patterns without prior written consent. You may use one or two images on your blog as long as you reference Wee Folk Art and share a direct link back to our page. Please contact us with any questions.

Photos- MB 2-10-14


Master Suite :: Week 1

For the past several weeks I have been talking about a BIG project we are working on. And when I said BIG, I really meant HUGE! Here's the back story. We live in a 2 story home with the bedrooms on the 2nd floor. As most of you have heard at one time or another, I have arthritis in my spine that is getting worse with each passing year. Stairs are already a real bugger, and Tim and I have talked about moving into a ranch. We love our house and our property and really did not want to move. We decided that when I couldn't do the stairs anymore, instead of moving, we would add a bedroom on the main floor. Tim suggested that instead of waiting, we get started now, and so we have!

It started with us drawing up a rough plan that included the master suite, we also wanted a screened in porch. We then meet with our builder who took our ideas and did the actual design. We loved the plan! Not only did we get the bedroom and bathroom on the main level and the screened in porch, we decided to add an extension to our basement which will become Tim's woodworking shop and a bathroom in the basement. As I said... a HUGE project!

Here are the actual floor plans:

First thing Monday morning... getting ready to break ground. Notice the man in the foreground with a snow blower. Before the backhoe started, they had to shovel the area! Who knew they could build in this kind of weather!

The first scoop. Now I feel like this is really going to happen!

This is Tuesday morning. They dug the basement in just 1 day. Amazing! Here they are pouring and leveling the footings. They covered the whole area with plastic blankets before they left. I guess even cement gets cold!

It was 25 degrees today, but snow and falling temperatures are suppose to come again tomorrow.

Bug busy watching the process. What fun!

I will be doing a weekly update... more for our family's benefit than anything else... but if you'd like to follow along, you can join us here :)


New Gnomes in the Thicket

Although your average woodland gnome has a life expectancy of hundreds of years, that's not always the case for friends that dwell in our gnome house. Although many of them live to a ripe old age, sadly, some have been carried off by beasties, sometimes known as puppies, others have mysteriously disappeared, only to be found later by mommies when going through the pockets of wee ones that have come to visit, and, occasionally, they go off on their own journeys, perhaps to other rooms in the house, and sometimes they are even discovered in the mailbox in our fairy forest! When these wandering gnomes do return, they are always ready to share tales of their adventures! But the sad truth is... occasionally we do lose a gnome of two or three. ((heavy sign))

From time to time we invite more gnomes to join us in The Thicket. Here are a couple of new gnome friends that now reside with us. It looks like they are dressed in their finest... perhaps for a spring wedding!

To make your own Wedding Guest Gnomes, follow the general directions for making gnomes which can be found HERE.

Gather your supplies. For the capes and hats I used hand dyed felt I dyed myself. I love the variations in colors you get. I will soon be posting how I dye my felt.

Follow the general DIRECTIONS for making gnomes until you come to the capes.

Important Note: People turnings (wooden pegs) are not all created equal. Even pegs bought from the same company can be slightly different. I highly suggest you make a copy of the pattern, cut it out of paper, and “try it on” your wooden pegs. Make adjusts to the paper pattern before cutting out your felt.

Needle felt a design on the cloaks. For the flowers I used white roving and began at the center of the flower, twisting the fibers as I went to create a spiral.

Next, I added some simple leaves using green roving.

Finally, I used a very little yellow roving for the flower center.

After you have needle felted the cloaks, continue with the general DIRECTIONS.

When I was sewing the cloak to the gnome, I added little dangles I had in my bead collection. Also, you will notice that these gnomes have little dreamy eyes. Fairy will play with faceless gnomes, but she does prefer the have eyes, so I oblige :) Use a very fine tipped, waterproof marker to make the eyes. (I used my Pigma Micron 01.)

These gnomes are now ready for spring and for the gnome wedding they have been invited to! They will be given fair warning to stay away from the friendly, but sometimes too rambunctious canines!

Copyright © Wee Folk Art, LLC 2008-2014. All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce our text, images or patterns without prior written consent. You may use one or two images on your blog as long as you reference Wee Folk Art and share a direct link back to our page. Please contact us with any questions.

Photos 2-4-14


Busy, Busy Hands

Snow, snow, and more snow.... but mostly cold. How to hold off cabin fever... keep your hands (or more importantly your kids' hands) busy. Fortunately most of my kids' Christmas gifts were activity based and as this winter has keep us mostly indoors... we have greatly appreciated all the crafty goodness.

Bug whittling with his new pocket knife.

Fairy making beaded jewelry.

Pixie painting by number.

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