Yes! YOU can make this MOST ADORABLE felted desert cactus plant in a terracotta pot (all by yourself) at home!
Here are the goodies you’ll get in your kit…
I’m excited to teach you EXACTLY how to make this felted cactus, from start to finish. The kit includes a detailed step-by-step tutorial with color photographs to guide you through every step.
It’s not difficult, I promise.
You’ll feel SO rewarded with what you have created… needle felting is THE BEST!
Make this needle felting project for someone special this Christmas? They’ll be impressed for sure!
Or, give this kit to your crafty loved-on to make for themselves?
It’s set to be a favorite gift under the tree!
I have other needle felted succulent kits to go with this cactus plant… please find them in The Magic Onions Shop in the Needle Felting Kits category. You’ll see LOTS of wonderfully creative kits available there.
There is something supremely satisfying for our children when they are able to make a tangible creation with their own two hands. It’s one of the things I love most about Waldorf education, this sense that kids can make whatever they want. I’ve seen the gift unfold often over the years. I have watched as they have toiled over handwork, woodwork, art. It’s not easy at first. But it’s wonderful to see that, with perseverance and encouragement, their little hands become more skilled and they grow in the confidence in their own ability. I’ve watched handwork turn into a love and a passion that I know they will both carry into adulthood. Lucky them!
Teddy knitted a cat the other day, all on his own. He thought he was the cleverest boy in the whole world. Just look at the photos of his face… do you see what a sense of accomplishment this project has given him? His eyes sparkle with triumph and he exudes ‘Yay!’.
I’ll share our easy knitting pattern, perfect for a child.
Teddy has become a proficient knitter. The entire project took him under an hour to complete.
With medium weight yarn, knit a square; 12 rows of 12 stitches. Here is a previous post we have shared on knitting with kids.
When your knitted square is complete, finger knit a 6 inch tail. Here is a previous post we shared on finger knitting with kids.
Here are the step-by-step instructions (drawings by Kitty).
3. Fold knitted square in half. Use your yarn to sew/thread the long edge together.
4. Use your yarn to sew/thread ONE short edge together.
5. Stuff your cat’s body with wool until he is nice and plump.
6. Finger knit a 6 inch tail for your cat. (Here’s an article on how to teach your children how to finger knit). Use your yarn to sew the tail onto the cat. Use a piece of red yarn to tie a bow around your cat’s neck. This yarn bow will form the cats head.
VOILA!! Your child has knitted a sweet and soft cat.
Spring has burst forth in full regalia here in Southern California. the trees are so pretty in their pinks and whites and magentas. And the birds have started to busy themselves building nests.
Spring is full of crafting inspiration and we have been making pretty needle felted spring nests too.
One of the things I love most about needle felting is that it can be a wonderfully quick and easy craft. You can sit down with a basket of wool and be holding a delightful spring nest in your hands in just a few minutes.
Needle felting requires three tools :
a felting needle
a protective foam board.
Wool roving looks a bit like cotton candy. When the sheep is sheered, the fleece is washed and dried and then it is ’carded’ – brushed so that all the knots and clumps are brushed out and the fibers of the wool all run the same way. It is then dyed… any wonderful color under the sun. This roving can then be spun into yarn (for knitting) or it can be felted with a needle.
The protective foam board is not always necessary but it is definitely recommended when you are learning to needle felt. The needle is very sharp and if you don’t have a board upon which to steady your work, you will find yourself painfully stabbed more than once.
The felting needle is about 3 inches long. It is very sharp. The tip of the needle has a number of small barbs and it is these barbs that felt the wool. You can see the barbs if you look closely at the tip of your needle. The outer surface of each fiber of wool has tiny, microscopic scales on it. When the fiber is agitated, the scales hook into one another, forming a tighter and tighter mass. The barbs of the needle ‘grab’ the fibers as you stab it into the wool, depositing the fibers deeper. The little scales on the fibers lock together, ensuring that the fibers stay in their new place. By stabbing the wool hundreds of times you can shape the wool into any form you wish.
DIY Needle Felted Spring Nest
You will need :
green and blue wool felt (found online or at a craft store)
a needle felting needle (found online or at a craft store)
a foam 4cm ball (found at a craft store)
Pull the green wool into a strip about the length of your hand, palm to fingertips, with a width the same as the tip of your thumb. Roll this strip of wool evenly around the bottom half of the foam ball.
Carefully stab the needle around the outside of the nest, poking the needle through the wool and into the foam. It is important to stab the needle in and out of the wool at the same angle. Changing the angle as you pull the needle out of the wool will increase your chance of breaking the needle as you work.
Evenly needle felt the inside of the nest.
Remove the foam ball from the nest by pulling it free. The nest will hold it’s shape but it will be very fuzzy. Using the protective foam pad, needle felt the nest, on the inside and the outside. The more you needle felt the nest, the less fuzzy it will become.
Pull the blue wool roving into a strip about the length and thickness of your index finger. Knot it in the center as you would a length of string. Fluff out one end of the knot, smooth it down over the knot and needle felt it evenly, rounding the end of the knot into a ball. Do the same with the other end of the knot to form a needle felted ball.
Make three Needle felted eggs to put into the your nest.
NOTE : For those of you who want to decorate your home for spring with your own needle felted nests, I have put together a DIY kit to make three spring nests in shades of green, available for purchase for $26 in The Magic Onions Shop : DIY Needle Felted Spring Nest Kit.
My children and I picked a few spring branches to put in a vase (here’s a tutorial for making our rainbow yarn vase). We carefully placed our needle felted nests in the twigs and added some feather butterflies for whimsy.
Beauty is all around us and inside us, all of the time.
Do you use wool dryer balls when you dry your clothes in your drying machine?
If you don’t, you should give them a try… they are FABULOUS!!
– They speed your drying time which can relate to a big saving on your monthly gas or electricity bill.
– They are reusable and last for many years.
– They are totally natural and don’t add toxic chemicals to your clothes… (do you know how many harmful toxins are in dryer sheets?)
– They decrease static in your clothes.
– They can make your clothes smell heavenly with all-natural essential oils.
– They are biodegradable and won’t clog landfills for generations to come.
Long story short… you’ll feel GOOD about using them!
And, they are fun, cheap and easy to make at home.
Here is what you’ll need :
– 100% wool yarn
– a recycled pair of nylon or lycra tights
– essential oil of your choice (optional)
It’s important to use 100% wool yarn when you make your dryer balls as we need the wool to felt slightly into a firm ball. Synthetic wool blends do not felt and will not work for this purpose.
Begin by wrapping the yarn into a tight ball.
When your ball is about 3 inches in diameter, cut the yarn and tuck the end neatly under the rolled strands.
Put the balls into lycra or nylon tights. Tie a knot between them and a knot in the end.
Pop them in the washing machine on the HOT cycle with a little detergent. It helps to have other items in the wash to help agitate the balls and felt them. I add my bathmats to the cycle as they do well in the hot water and are heavy enough to agitate the wool dryer balls perfectly.
When the cycle is complete put them into the dryer for a cycle.
Now that they are dry, they are ready to add to your dryer with your clothes.
You can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the dryer balls before setting them in with your clothes – your laundry will smell so wonderful.
Easy, reusable and good for your family… wool dryer balls are the best.
I bet you’ll never go back to those toxic dryer sheets ever again!
A few years ago, we made Granny a wreath for her door.
It’s still one of my favorite wreaths of all time and Kitty and I think we’ll make one for our own door this year.
Here’s our tutorial on how to make it.
* wool roving in rich fall colors (found on Etsy.com)
* a foam wreath form (found at craft stores)
* a needle felting needle (found on Etsy.com)
* soap detergent and warm water
* green felt (for a leaf)
* sewing need and green thread
* real acorn cap (picked up in nature or found on Etsy.com)
Arrange your felt roving in long strips in the order you’d like them to appear on your wreath.
Wrap each strip around the foam form, making sure the colors overlap a little on each side. It’s important to attach (through the process of felting) the color strips into each other so that they remain in their place when you come to wet felt the wreath later.
Using your needle felting needle, gently poke the wool all around. Poking the needle into the foam is fine.
Pay particular attention to the ends where the colors overlap and needle felt the overlapping wool firmly into the underlying wool.
When the entire wreath is covered with wool roving, take it to the sink to begin the wet felting process. Start with a small section. Wet the wool SLIGHTLY with warm water… you don’t want to use too much water at this early stage as the wool will loosen and come off the wreath.
Put a dime-sized amount of dish-washing soap onto the wool and begin to massage it gently. Pat it, rub it, kneed it… gently at first and then more vigorously as you feel the wool tighten around the wreath form. Add more water. Add more detergent. Your intuition will tell you when to wet the wool more and when to add more detergent. Slowly, slowly… we can’t rush.
Continue this wet felting method all around the wreath.
Once you feel that the wool has tightened around the wreath sufficiently, you can start felting it more vigorously. I find that using a ‘Chinese bangle’ (as my daughter, Kitty, calls it) works really well.
When you feel that the wool has felted firmly around the wreath, rinse it thoroughly, making sure to get all of the soap suds out of the felted wool.
Set it in the sun to dry completely.
Now let’s make the adornments.
Cut out the shape of an autumn leaf on a piece of paper.
Pin it to the green felt and cut around the edges to make your leaf.
Thread the sewing needle with green thread and finish the felt leaf off nicely by sewing a pretty border about a quarter of an inch inside the outside edge of the leaf.
With a little glue, stick the felt balls in to the acorn caps.
If you prefer, you can skip this stage and purchase the acorns (or the felted balls) in the colors you desire in The Magic Onions Shop.
With your needle and thread, sew the leaf and acorns in place on your dry wool wreath.
Voila! The prettiest felted fall wreath for you door.
There seriously is something magical about the felling and texture of wool felt… it glows with such a natural spirit and fills your room with a rich, organic, essence.
If you are in love with needle felting, as I am, I have many DIY needle felting kits available in The Magic Onions Shop… try your hand at making felted hearts or pumpkins or a myriad of other creations.
Here is a detailed step-by-step DIY needle felted Barn Owl tutorial for you…
Wool roving : white, brown and a pinch of tan
Wool roving string : brown
Needle Felting needle
Protective needle felting foam board
Begin by breaking off a piece of the white wool roving for your owl’s body. It should be about the length, width and thickness of your hand from palm to fingertips.
Roll the white wool roving between the palms of your hands as you would if you were rolling a piece of playdough into a snake.
Beginning at the short end, roll the wool ‘snake’ into a thick spiral.
Gently poke your needle into the wool on the outside of the spiral. This will felt it so that your spiral keeps its shape even when you let it go.
Round the top end of the spiral by poking your needle felting needle into the wool. This will be your owl’s head.
Felt the bottom end of your spiral flat with your needle. Continue until your owl’s body is able to stand on it’s own.
Now for your owl’s face. Break off two pieces of the brown wool string… about the length and thickness of your needle. Roll the string between the palms of your hands so that each piece becomes nice and compact.
With your needle, felt the wool string into your owl’s face in the shape of a heart.
To make the eyes, pinch a small amount of the brown wool roving and roll into two balls in the palms of your hands.
To make the owl’s beak, pinch a small amount of the tan wool and roll into a ball between the palms of your hands.
Using your needle, felt eyes and beak in place. Use your needle to pull a few strands of the eye wool loose so that you can shape them into the ‘tear’ shapes.
Voila… the sweetest little Barn Owl in town!
Now wasn’t that easy!
Yes, you CAN do it!
Don’t you just want to have him?!
Don’t you just want to eat him UP!
NOTE : I have a kit in my shop that contains EVERYTHING you’ll need to make at least TWO of these sweet barn owls. If you have been wanting to try a needle felting project… this is the one for you.
A step-by-step tutorial on how to make the cutest little needle felted bunny.
Who’s thinking about bunnies? With Easter just a few days away, I decided to get to work with my needle and wool to make my kids a couple of Easter bunny gifts. Alas, Teddy walked in and caught me in the act of making Kitty’s bunny. He fell deeply in love and now the brown bunny is Teddy’s and the white bunny belongs to Kitty. He was so excited to share his little Easter friend with his sister that all pretense of waiting for Easter Sunday fell by the wayside and both children are cuddling their fluffy bunnies as I write.
I know you’ll fall in love with this little sweetheart too and so have put together a step-by-step tutorial to get you on your way to making one for your own little ones.
One needle felting needle and a foam protective mat.
Tan-colored wool (about the length of your needle and about the width of your needle). Pink wool (just a little), white wool (just a little) and dark brown wool (also just a little).
1. Roll the tan wool into a long spiral snake.
2. Turn the rolled up snake of wool 90 degrees and roll it again, the other way, into a another, smaller spiral. This will give you the shape of the bunny’s body without too much needle felting required.
TIP : Rolling your wool forms first in this method will cut down remarkably on your needle felting time.
3. With your needle felting needle, felt all around the outside of your oval body shape. Needle felt around the ends to round them evenly.
4. At the 1/3 mark, needle felt a groove into the body for your bunnies head. Round the head.
5. Now for the ears. Break off two tufts of the same tan roving. about the length of your needle and as thick as your finger.
6. Roll it between the palms of your hands (as you would roll a ball of palydough into a snake) until your wool resembles a long tube.
7. Bend the tube into a U shape between your thumb and forefinger – this will be an ear.
8. Still holding the ear between your thumb and forefinger, carefully needle felt along the base of the ear, leaving a tuft free at the bottom end to attach to the bunny’s body later.
9. Continue all around the base of the ear so that it is nice and firm.
10. Needle felt in the middle of the ear to make a little indentation.
11. Fill the center of the ear with a little pink wool.
12. Fan the fluffy end of the ear evenly and press against a hard surface. Trim short by pulling the fluffy wool.
13. Set the fanned-out tufty end of the ear in place on the bunnies head and needle felt the fluffy wool firmly into the head.
14. Repeat with the second ear.
15. Roll the white wool into a ball and attach it to the rear of your bunny’s body.
16. Now for the nose. Roll a little tuft of pink wool into a ball and needle felt it onto the front of your bunny’s face.
17. The eyes. Roll a little of the dark brown wool into a ball and needle felt it into place on the bunny’s head. Repeat for the second eye.
Voila!! The cutest little Easter bunny around.
The boy won’t let his new bunny out if his sight.
But when he’s not around, I can’t help laying with the sweet little ball of fluff myself.
Here’s a step by step graphic to help you through. Come on, you know you want to give it a go!
Note : I have many step-by-step needle felting kits, including this Bunny Rabbit Kit, available in my shop.
Oh my gosh… it’s SUCH a joy to watch the birds begin to build their nests. We are hoping like mad that a bird will build a nest in our garden. More than anything, we are preying that one of the hundreds of hummingbirds that visit us will build a nest in our avocado tree. A few years ago a friend found a hummingbirds nest in her avo tree and it was the sweetest thing we had ever seen. Mr Hummingbird had fastened two leaves together and had built his teeny-tiny nest between them. It was smaller than a golf ball in diameter and was woven with string, moss, lichen and minute little feathers.Oh the enchantment!
I was thinking about this little nest the other day and, remembering how sweet it was, I could not resist the urge to make my own… with wool, my felting needle and a myraid of little nature treasures I collected, ofcourse. After seeing it, I’m sure you’ll want to make one for yourself and so I have put together a tutorial for you to follow. I have also made a needle felting kit available in my shop with EVERYTHING you’ll need for this wonderful little felting project – you can buy it here : Needle Felting Kit : Hummingbirds Nest.
Materials you’ll need :
a foam ball about 2 inches in diameter
a foam board and needle felting needles
variegated brown/grey wool
Start by wrapping a length of the variegated brown wool around half of the foam ball. Needle felt it where it overlaps. The foam ball will allow you to needle felt through the wool and into it. I love this method for making a hollow nest shape. Felt all around the ball until your nest shape is pretty firm.
Use your needle to round the edge of the nest by poking your needle between the ball and the inside layer of wool (as in photo #4)
Gently pull the foam ball away from the wool nest and there you have it… a perfect little hummingbirds nest.
Now we want to add the nature bits that are so enchanting in hummingbirds nests. Hold the little nest in your hands and gently pull the outside layer of wool into loose tufts.
Wind a few strands of burlap string randomly around the nest and secure by pulling the loose tufts of wool over the string and felting into the nest with your needle.
Lay some fluffy white wool in the palm of your hand and place a few feathers on top of the wool.
Place the nest on your protective needle felting board and line the inside of your nest with this fluffy, feathery wool. Needle felt gently to fasten.
We also want to fasten some feathers to the outside of the nest. Pull off the bottom part of the feather to expose the quill. If your feather looks too big, break it to the right length and use the top half to feather your nest.
Insert the sharp quill into the wool and needle felt it in place, pulling a little wool over the quill where you need to fasten it.
Now, randomly add moss to your nest… a little inside and some more outside.
There you have it… the sweetest little hummingbird nest in existence. If you are like me, you’ll place it in your avocado tree to try to start a trend and show the real hummingbirds that this tree is a VERY nice tree to build a nest in.
First off : Good news! The Tooth Fairy came in the night to collect Kitty’s molar. Phew… 5 nights late but better late than never, don’t you think?
Now for the Needle Felted Gnome tutorial I promised you… isn’t she just the cutest?
I’ve tried something a little different with this tutorial. As there are so many photos, I thought a photo collage would work best. I’ve broken it down into 3 parts : The Body, The Head and The Hair and Heart.
27 hours later…
The numbers in the collages correspond with the numbers of the instructions.
Needle Felted Valentine Gnome Tutorial :
To make this gnome, we’ll be using 2 shades of pink wool, red wool and white wool. Our tools are a needle felting needle and a foam board. I also picked a little Tea Tree flower for her hair (Tea Tree is in bloom in Southern California!)
1. The Body
We’ll be using the brighter of the two pink shades of wool.
1.) Break off a piece of fluffy pink wool about the size of your hand.
2.) Place it on the table and press it flat with the palm of your hand. Now roll it into a long sausage.
3.) Turn the sausage 90 degrees and, starting with the short end of the sausage, roll it into a tight spiral.
TIP : Rolling the wool like this first will make your needle felting nice and firm and cut down on the time it takes to needle felt it into the shape you want. This rolling process can be used for most projects.
4.) This photo shows you that my wool in rolled into a nice tight spiral.
5.) Place your spiral of wool on the foam board and needle felt all around the outside. This will ensure that your wool body keeps it’s shape.
6.) Choose the fattest end of the spiral and needle felt it flat. This will be the base of your gnome’s body.
7.) Turn the body the right way up and needle felt the neck part of your gnome’s body, rounding it nicely.
Voila! … your body is ready. Set it aside.
2. The Head
We will be using the white and red wool.
Let’s start by making a needle felted ball for the gnome’s head.
1.) Break off a piece of white wool about the length and half the width of your hand.
2.) Roll the wool between the palms of your hands as if you were rolling a piece of playdough into a snake. This firms up the wool and makes felting it easier.
3.) Roll the wool snake into a spiral.
4.) Set the spiral on the foam board and needle felt it along the outside. Fluff out the ends of the spiral and needle felt them together to cover the shape of the spiral. Keep needle felting the ball evenly until it becomes perfectly firm and round. This is your gnome’s head. If you need to see step by step photos of this process, visit this tutorial where I make little needle felted eggs.
5.) Now for the Gnomes hat. Break off a piece of wool about the length and half the thickness of your hand.
6.) Roll it in between the palms of your hands as you would roll a piece of palydough into a snake. This firms up the wool and makes it easier to work with. Roll the wool snake into a tight cone, making sure one end of the cone is thinner than the other end.
7.) Place the hat on the foam board and needle felt all around the outside… making sure to keep the cone shape ~ one end pointed and the other end flat. Work on getting a nice indent in the flat end of the cone as this is where your gnomes head will fit.
8.) Fit the gnome’s head into this indent and connect the two by needle felting the red hat wool into the head wool in a downward motion. Connect the red hat wool all around the covered half of the head.
9.) When the hat is well connected to the head, you’ll need to neaten up the shape of the hat by needle felting it where it has become bumpy.
10.) Now let’s connect the head to the gnome’s body. Place the head in place and needle felt the head-wool gently into the pink body-wool… all round the head.
11.) To fasten the head in place, needle felt the body-wool into the head-wool about a quarter of an inch below the head… all around the gnome’s body. You’ll need to neaten up the gnome’s body a little when you are done by needle felting it where it has become bumpy.
Voila! You have a gnome!
3. The Hair and Heart
Of course, you want to pretty your Valentine gnome up a little. She definitely needs hair and a heart.
We will use red wool for the heart, some white wool for her hands and the lighter shade of pink wool for her hair.
2.) When you have made a heart, place it on your gnome and connect it to your her by needle felting it where the red heart-wool connect to the pink body-wool.
3.) Now for hands that hold the heart. Break off a thin piece of white wool about the length of your needle.
4. ) Roll it in the palms of your hands as if you were rolling a piece of playdough into a snake. This makes the wool easier to work with. Roll the wool snake into a tight spiral.
5.) Place this little spiral of white wool in place on your gnome… one end on the gnome’s body, the other on the heart.
6.) Tuck the ends of the wool spiral into the crevice made by the body and heart and needle felt the ends into both the heart and the body until you have neat little gnome-hands holding the heart. Repeat for the other hand.
7.) She want’s pretty pink hair. Break your light pink wool into little tufts and roll the ends of the tufts into dreadlocks.
8.) Place the fluffy end of the pink tufts against the head and under the hat. Needle felt it into the head, along the hat line. Needle felt it along the length of the hair, into your gnome’s body.
9.) Keep adding layers all around her head until she has the perfect pink head of hair.
Voila!! Your valentine gnome is ready for LOVE!
Oh please, if you make one for yourself… please, please, please take a photo to show me… I’d LOVE to see how she turns out.
But here’s the best part… now that you can make a Valentine Gnome, you can make any kind of gnome! Had you thought of that? Want a boy? Make one with a red hat, a green body and short brown hair… he can be holding an acorn, a stick or a tiny pine cone. You can make a baby gnome, a grandmother gnome, a smaller gnome… a BIGGER gnome!! You can become a gnome lady just like me.
a.) For those of you who are now in love with needle felting and want to try other projects too, I have an assortment of needle felting kits in my shop here – Needle Felting Kits.
b.) For those of you who want other free needle felting tutorials, please visit my Needle Felting Page.