Wet Felted Beads

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This method of wet felting is used to make millefiori-type beads with a spiral design. It can also be used with one color to make a solid cord or bead. Tip: For a very durable and hard bead, mix up a solution of half white glue and half water. Soak the cord in glue solution and then let dry before slicing.
You Will Need:
- Wet-felting supplies
- Corrugated surface
- Fine wool roving or batting in a variety of colors
- Prefelt in a variety of colors (optional)
- White glue (PVA) (optional)
- Craft knife

Step 1

Lay out one layer of wool in a long rectangular shape. The length should equal the final length of the cord, and the width will determine the thickness of the cord. If the fibers are arranged lengthwise, the cord will shrink more in length.

Step 2

Layer different colors on top of each other. The colors will create the spiral effect when bead is cut. Make these layers slightly thinner than the bottom, outside layer so the outside layer will completely cover the roll. Simplify the process by using a stack of different colored prefelt or batts. For your first cord, keep it simple and use two colors. Add additional tufts of outer color wool if any thin spots are evident.

Step 3

Carefully roll the layers of wool together lengthwise while pushing as much air out of the roll as possible.

Step 4

Keeping pressure on the roll to prevent air coming back into the wool and wool rebounding, roll the log of wool across the corrugated surface. Continue dry rolling to remove as much air as possible.

Step 5

Spray lightly with warm, soapy water and gently roll with light pressure.

Step 6

Continue rolling and increasing pressure as the wool hardens.

Step 7

Dunk the cord in hot water and continue rolling. Stretch the cord lengthwise in between rolling.

Step 8

Shock the wool in alternating hot and cold water.

Step 9

Continue rolling with heavy pressure until the cord is completely fulled.
Rinse and let the cord dry. Roll the cord in a towel to alleviate as much moisture as possible. Due to their density, cords may take longer to dry than flat felt.
Slice into beads with a sharp craft knife.

Step 10

This needle-felting how-to is excerpted with permission from "The Complete Photo Guide to Felting" by Ruth Lane and published by Creative Publishing International.

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