Learn to make these needle felted Christmas ornament balls two ways.
When considering ideas for my holiday tree with red and white ornaments, I knew I wanted to make some needle felted ornaments. Recently, I enjoyed learning to do needle felting when making a hedgehog from a Dimensions kit. You can read more about it in my blog Hedgehog Needle Felting Fun.
Having read lots of needle felting tutorials online, I realized it is not necessary to needle felt a huge amount of wool roving into a ball. Instead, a Styrofoam ball may be used as a center. I came up with the idea of using a purchased 100% wool dryer ball as another alternative. These two methods will be used.
Stryofoam Ball Version
For supplies for both balls I used:
- Red wool roving
- White pencil roving for the striped ball
- 100% wool felt for the polka dot ball
- Clover Needle Felting Tool
- Clover Pen Style Felting Tool
- Clover Single Needle Felting Tool (optional)
- Stryofoam ball – I used the regular, non-smooth type, 4″ for one ball
- Purchased 100% wool dryer ball for the other ball
- Leather thimbles – large for thumb and medium for index finger for protection
- Long Doll Needles
- Red and white baker’s twine
There is a moment when you start or perhaps further along, when you wonder how you are going to get that pile of wool roving to look like you want it to. The first step is to cover the ball with layers of roving – enough to cover it generously. Since the area to needle felt was large with no detail work, the Clover Needle Felting Tool with four fine felting needles worked well to interlock the fibers into felted wool.
Needle felting is a slow process – not meant to be rushed. The secret to getting even felting without “dimples” from the needles is to continually rotate the ball as you gently punch the needles into the wool. The Styrofoam ball worked well too – the needles never got stuck in it.
About an hour later I was ready to add the pencil roving. Starting at the top, I wound the roving around the ball, felting along the way. The Clover Pen Style Needle Felting Tool helped do the more detailed work of adding the pencil roving.
The addition of the pencil roving was complete.
Using a 5″ doll needle threaded with baker’s twine, I entered at the top center, came out at the bottom center, went back up to the top center, and tied a knot, leaving enough twine to hang the ornament.
Dryer Ball Version
The supplies are about the same as the Stryofoam ball version, but this time I started with a purchased 100% wool dryer ball.
These photos show the ball as it is being needle felted. Some areas look better than others. The image on the right shows an uneven area that could use some more roving over it.
I added a thin layer to cover the uneven area and gently needle felted it in place. When satisfied with the red ball in general, I cut small circles out of 100% wool felt. Adding the small circles of wool was trickier than I expected. The four needle tool blurred the edges. I needed the control of one or two needles in the pen style or single needle tool and had to carefully tuck the white strands into the edges of the circle.
I decided some smaller polka dots were needed!
Both ornaments look great on my red and white holiday tree! I have a couple of more needle felted ornaments to blog about – so check back soon!