Summer Projects: Nature Prints, Fairy, Gnome and Shark!
Project 1: Clay Nature Prints
You will need: Air drying clay, rolling pin, small glass, gold colouring pencil or paint, lots of different textures from nature, leather string (optional - only if you would like to turn your keepsake into a necklace)
Gather lots of lovely natural textures from the garden, beach or forest. Roll out your clay and cut into circles using a small glass; we have used an old metal vase. The size of your circle does not matter. It's whatever you want it to be.
Once all your circles are cut out, place your natural object onto the clay and roll over it with a wooden rolling pin. You will have to press hard. Lift your plant, leaf or shell and you should have a clear imprint.
Try printing as many different textures as you can to see all the lovely patterns you can create. If turning it into a pendant, make a small hole using any sharp pointy object and leave to dry. Once dry, we coated ours with some olive oil then coloured them in gold. Lastly, thread onto your leather string and you have a lovely keepsake.
Project 2: Felt Summer Fairy
You will need: pipe cleaners x 2 (27cm), felting wool (coloured and skin tone), curly wool (optional), felting needle, felting pad, natural found thing to decorate. We used a dry hydrangea and lavender flower.
Divide your skin tone felting wool into small strips, approximately 10cm long. Fold your pipe cleaner down the middle and cut, so that it is about 14cm.
Fold the middle of the pipe cleaner. Using a small strip of wool, start to wind it around the folded end of your pipe cleaner.
Fold the bend in the pipe cleaners tightly and start to wind the wool around the folded end. This makes your finished hands. Using the other half of your pipe cleaner, create your fairy's torso by wrapping it around the arms. Create legs by wrapping and bending your other pipe cleaner. Wrap your skin tone wool around the legs, then fold the tips of your pipe cleaner, as you did for the hands and wrap with the wool to create the feet.
Create a head shape by rolling up a ball of your skin tone wool that is about 3cm. Roll as if winding a ball of wool. I like to wet felt the head; I find it much easier to create a nice smooth surface. To do this, drop a small amount of natural dish soap or felting soap on to the head. Hold it in the palm of your hand and gently roll it with the other hand. Keep doing this until you feel the wool starting to harden/felt up. Rinse under running warm water. Then leave it to dry. Once it's dry, sew on to the body of your fairy.
Using any coloured felting wool, start to drape it around the torso of your fairy. You can mix several different colours to create interesting clothing. Using a larger strip of wool felt, shape and drape it around legs to make a skirt. Gently start to needle felt the clothing on to your felted pipe cleaners. I rolled a bright length of yellow felting wool and made it into a belt which I needle felted on.
Using a bit of curly wool, start to work on the hair. Needle felt it on to your head. If you do not have curly wool, you can use any felting wool.
Once the hair was in place, I did a tiny plait and needle felted it to her hair line, then stuck some dried flowers into her hair and she was finished. I have also made some fairies with sewn rose petals to the skirt or as wings. Be as creative as you like - add feathers or shells to adorn your little fairy.
Project 2*: Felt Summer Gnome
You will need: Pipe cleaners x 2 (27cm), wool felt in skin tones, red, brown and dark green felt, curly wool, felting needle and felting pad.
Create the arms of your gnome using pipe cleaner and skin tone wool, follow the instructions for the fairy above. Wrap a small amount of red felting wool around the arms. Start near one end and wrap until you reach the other, leaving the very ends for hands. As you wrap, pull the wool a little. Once done, roll the arms gently in your hand to secure any loose ends.
Create legs by folding pipe cleaners and wrapping with your dark wool in the same way as the arms.
Using a long strip of red wool, wrap it around the body to create your gnome's tunic and needle felt it into place. You can leave it soft and fluffy or hard depending on how much needle felting you do. Wrap some green wool around the ends of your feet to create shoes and felt into place.
Make your felt head, using instructions in the fairy project. Sew on to body, use some curly wool and needle felt it to create a beard. Use another piece of curly wool to add some hair. If you do not have curly wool, you can use any felting wool and style it as you like. I have often plaited the ends of the beard.
Start to decorate your gnome with natural objects. I have used a leaf to make his hat; you can also use interesting seed pods, roll bark or maybe add some dried flowers and make him a flower gnome.
Project 3: Woodwork Animal Sculpture
You will need: Unfinished wood animal (horse, shark, lion), rasp, file and sandpaper
This project was a bit of a challenge - it take patience, time and care. The aim of the project is to find the animal within the shape you are provided with. You need to file away till you have a 3 dimensional animal shape. I have found that the best way to do this is to visualise the animal while you are working. It's intuitive and seems to work. Start by imagining your animal while rasping away all the sharp lines.
Sharks are barrel shaped, so I started to rasp in a curve, trying to recreate this. Work on the easiest areas first - this will help you get a feel for using your woodwork tools.
Use the rounded and half-rounded rasps. This does take time - enjoy the meditative process.
Once your shape is looking 3 dimensional, start to use your file, smoothing away all the marks and grooves. Start to add details like making a pointy shark's tail and fin. Use your sandpaper to really smooth out your shape.
When you are happy with your animal, varnish with a natural oil; I used olive oil. You can paint your animal or leave in natural. This project is a great introduction to woodwork and sculpture and teaches you the basic principles of working with wood.