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the workbench today – “felt-pearls” tutorial

“Felt-pearls” you say? . They are precious.

To make felt-pearls, you need a little tender loving care, wool/silk, soap and water.

Find yourself some delicious merino wool, mixed with a touch of silk. This batch is hand dyed by yours truly..

feltpearltutorial1

 

 

 

If you are planning to make matching pearls, make them at the same time, using equal amounts of wool. The amount of wool you use will determine the size of your pearl. Experience will teach you  that only trial end error will help you get it right almost every time!

You will be surprised just how small a well felted pearl ends up. Roll up the wool evenly such that you do not have any obvious creases or folds. 

feltpearltutorial2

Using soap and warm water, gently roll the ball in your hands. Do not be too aggressive at first, as deep folds and creases will greatly affect the final outcome. 

feltpearltutorial3

 

 

 

As you roll the ball, you will feel it start to felt. Resist the urge to squeeze it, as the secret to getting a perfect pearl is going slow and gentle. 

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The ball will shrink considerably as it felts. In the above image, you can see the difference from the start of the felting process compared to a nice hard finished pearl.

Once the skin of the pearl is nice and firm, you can really go at it, felting it harder and harder. (Your palms will be the softest, cleanest palms on earth at this point!) When you feel that there is very little give on the pearl when pressed, you are done.  

Rinse and let dry. 

feltpearltutorial5

TIP:  if you are looking for an oval pearl, you can begin shaping in the final stages, by rolling it back and forth on a hard surface.)

Once dry, the silk will shine again, giving your pearl the luster that makes it so precious.

These can be used in a variety of projects. 

I would love to see what you make with yours.

 

Tutorial copyright Cynthia Reynolds Design 2009.

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