Wet-felted Root Children Pods
Ssh! Don't tell anyone, but your washing machine can do this craft for you! Perfect for those who lack confidence with wet-felting or need to save on time, the end result will still be a lovingly made toy, ready for imaginative play.
The 'something smooth and round' is to create a cavity in the felt ball you are going to make, enabling it to become a pod! You can use whatever you like. We bundled up some plastic bags with rubber bands, which also allowed us to change the shape for different styles of pods.
Inspired by one of our favourite books to read at this time of year, The Story of the Root Children, we wanted to make little earthy pods for the root children to come out of when the time is right. That's why we're using greens and browns, but you can make these in any colours that take your fancy.
1. Wrap some pieces of wool around your 'smooth and round thing' until all of it is covered.
Bear in mind that your wool will condense in volume by up to a third when it felts, so you may want to add a few layers.
2. If you would like your pod to show layers of different coloured wool when you open it up, choose your next colour and add layers of that.
3. When your ball has got as many layers as you would like, stuff it into the leg of an old pair of tights.
4. Knot the tights on either side of the ball to hold it in place.
You can make multiple pods at the same time this way, by putting different pods between knots along the tights.
5. When you have a load of washing ready chuck the tights in with it, and pick up a book whilst your washing machine does the work.
Tip: The washing temperature doesn't have to be really hot to do the felting, it's the change from one temperature to another and the friction that does it.
6. We put ours in the tumble dryer too but I don't think the wool would take long to air dry once spun. When you are ready, cut the knots away from the sides of your pod.
7. Peel the tights away from the pod. You have to pull quite hard to separate the tights from the wool but don't worry, it still leaves a smooth surface.
8. Cut a slit in the pod, going deep enough to reveal your smooth round object.
If the felt is very thick you may have to get it started with a sharp knife.
9. Pull the two sides of your pod apart, (don't worry about stretching it, the felt has a lot of give), and remove your object.
10. Enjoy your pod!
Who shall live inside it? Or what precious treasures will you keep in there?
The pods make great toys, providing little homes for dolls in small world play, and they can also bring your nature table to life: pop a seed pod in, and when flowers start to bloom outside, so can your nature table!
And let's not forget the pocket dwarves - they love their new home!
And the colourful pods we made are great for looking after little treasures.
If you would like to extend your crafting, and make a sensory activity out of it, you can wet felt your pod by hand. Repeatedly soak your pod in hot soapy water, roll it and rub it, then rinse in cold water. We stock a beautiful Organic Felt Ball Kit if you would like to give it a try.
You may also enjoy making your own Springtime toys and decorations with our lovely tutorial on Flower Peg Dolls.