Monday, June 6, 2011

Craft Project: Felted Eggs

Making felted eggs is a creative project to keep your kids entertained on cold and rainy days. Once the eggs are complete, they make for cute and festive springtime decorations. When the season is over, you can easily store them until next spring.

A gang of felted eggs

This post was submitted by Mary Ann (Burch) Nøbben of Norway. She is the sister of Storey Publishing's director of production, Caroline Burch.

“I have been living in Norway for the last 17 years, an American married to a Norwegian farmer. I have been teaching in a local elementary school; directing the school choir; teaching English, art, and handwork to the children in grades 1 through 4. Our handwork project for Easter this year was to felt eggs. My sister Caroline works at Storey in North Adams, Massachusetts, six time zones behind mine. She was aware of this felting project, because I Skype our octogenarian mother in upstate New York each afternoon, and as we talk I do handwork to make multitasking use of the time (it’s only fair, since Mom often has one eye on a Yankees game). Mom then calls Caroline every night to fill her in on the latest news.

In the middle of all this, Caroline casually mentioned my project to her boss, Pam Art, also a craftsman, who happened to be looking for a project to do with visiting granddaughters that very night. Caroline immediately called Mom, knowing I would be Skyping with her, and asked me (over the speaker phone held up to Mom’s laptop . . .) to send photos of our work ASAP, thus sparking a flurry of photos and e-mails back and forth — ah, the delights and possibilities of living in the digital age. The following are photos and instructions for our project, which resulted in fun and success on both sides of the Atlantic.

Basic supplies for our project:
  • Old hand towels to lay on the table beneath our work
  • Plastic drink bottles filled with a very warm solution of water and a mild liquid soap
  • Carded wool: a base color to cover the egg, plus other colors to “decorate”
  • Hard plastic eggs (ours came filled with candy and a toy, which I removed beforehand)
Hard plastic eggs can be found at most drugstores and superstores in
abundance before Easter, but they may be hard to come by in the summer.
If you have some boxed with your Easter decorations, use those
— you can buy more next year when they are in season.

We placed the towels on the table, water bottles handy, and handed out enough wool to cover each plastic egg in an even layer, thick enough to avoid holes in the felt. A little of the warm water was poured on the egg, and the children began to squeeze and rub the warm, wet wool together. When the wool began to hold together, thin wisps of the decorative colored wool were added on top, with a bit more warm water and more squeezing and rubbing. Care needs to be taken not to add too much wool at a time but to pull the wool wide to avoid a “rope” of wool, which won’t felt into the base easily. When the base color has been decorated completely and the wool feels firm and “fast,” then it’s time to rinse the egg in cold running water until all the soap is out of the wool. Set the egg in a place to dry. When dry, take sharp scissors and cut through the wool, a bit down from one end, horizontally about three-quarters of the way around the egg, creating an opening flap. Carefully pop out the plastic egg, and allow the felted egg to dry thoroughly.

Carefully cut through the wool,
and pop the plastic egg out as seen on left egg.

Using a darning needle, I sewed a loop of narrow ribbon on the top of the egg above the opening, so the egg can hang on our Easter branches.

The children had already made little pom-pom chicks with felt beaks. Before putting them into the eggs, they put some carded wool into each egg to hold its form and to help the chick sit high enough to peek out the opening.

Voilà! And a “God PÃ¥ske!”

To learn more about felting, see Storey's books: Felt It!; Knit One, Felt Two; Uniquely Felt; Making Felted Friends.

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