Felting a Butterfly

To prepare: You will need an anti-slip mat or a piece of nylon fabric curtain for the felting process. Soapy water and of course raw wool (roving). Optionally, you may want to use a cookie sheet as a working place to catch soapy water that will be used later.

Step1: Lay out two strands of white wool for the wings on to of the anti-slip mat or a piece of curtain. Spread out the wool and shape it the way you like.

Step 2: For the body take a piece of brown or black wool to lay across.

Step 3: Make it wet with soapy water. Your butterfly is not a fish! It should be just moist so the wool isn't puffy anymore.

(How to make soapy water: 1 liter of warm/hot water mixed with two tablespoons of any soap. It should feel soapy and slippery between your fingers.)

Step 4: Use coloured wool to make your design.

Try to spread the wool finely without twisting it, because that will help a lot later with the felting process.

Step 5: Use a plastic bag or curtain fabric to start the first felting. If you use the plastic bag, put a little bit of soapy water on top so your hands can slide more easily. (What's that fabric/bag for? It prevents the coloured wool from sliding off your butterfly. Just protection from your rough hands;))

Be carful! Don't rub hard at this point. Very gently, move your hands in circles. One minute of stroking should be enough at this point. The idea is to let the fibers adhere to each other so that you can turn the butterfly to work on the other side. The actual felting will be done later.

Step 6: Flip over your butterfly and put another piece of black or brown wool on top of the body underneath.

Step 7: Make your design on the second side with coloured wool.

Step 8: Again, use fabric curtain or a plastic bag. Start with gentle strokes. After about one minute, take the fabric/plastic off and start working with your bare hands.

If your hands don't slide well enough, just take a little bit of pure soap and go on rubbing. Your butterfly likes massages.

Step 9: Once it's been felted from both sides with bare hands (the coloured fiber should now be attached to the white), you can roll your butterfly in the mat or piece of curtain fabric. Make a roll and then roll it back and forth for about one minute.

Open your roll gently. The wool might stick onto the mat. Turn your butterfly by 90 degrees.

Roll it again for another minute.

It depends on you now and your or your child's patience for how long you would like to go on with the rolling. The fiber will become denser and your piece of felt harder the longer you continue.

Step 10: Once you're done with the felting process, rinse your butterfly under clear water until there is no soap left in it. You can squeeze it hard at this point and wring it. It won't get hurt.

Let your butterfly dry.

Here it is: Ready to fly!

(You can use fishing rope to hang it up. The best way is to attach four strings, one string for each wing. Put the four strings together and make a knot.)