Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Making a Bird Using a Resist.

This project assumes you have some experience in wet felting as well as perfunctory knowledge in using a resist.

The first thing is to design your resist. I draw what I imagine my 2-D design to look like, then I add 25% . After that I add another 15-20% to the parts I would like to be fat after the felting is done and my creation is stuffed. So on the picture to the left I added to the belly the back and around the head and beak. The reason in the whole thing will be shrinking and we don't want our creation to look gaunt or skinny.

I then cut it from paper and use a plastic bag such as a grocery sack or Saranwrap to wrap it thoroughly. I run it through the sewing machine to tack down the edges.

This method the resist is not waterproof, but it works for me. Please note my resist is missing a tail area, I will later make up for this blunder with a triangle section of bubble wrap.

Choose your colors, silks, and fibers you wish to embellish with. I used silk scraps and yarns which I will be cutting into long thin "feathers". I also have picked a variety of wool roving's.

Place your resist under the bubble wrap or plastic sheet so you can see it.

Begin to pull small wispy amounts of roving and color your bird. I like to layer colors in cascading colors so you can really see a fade of color from the belly to the back.

As you lay the body color be certain to make a number of layers and fill in any thin spots. The beak is easiest if you pull small wispy bits and place them vertical to the tip then add a thicker bit horizontal . This will wrap better in a later step.

Another thing you will want to note is that on this side you are laying colors in the reverse order you will be laying them when we cover the resist and create the other side of the bird. The first layer of this side is the outside layer of your finished bird. I keep notes if my layout becomes elaborate.

To do the tail, I fist lay down a bit of colored roving, I leave many gaps so the fibers and silk can really mesh and nuno through here. After I lay the wool I lay the silks, yarns and fibers, then another layer of wool bits just as you see in the photo. Tufts here and there overlapping thinly. Basically just enough to catch the silk.
Now when you are ready to call this side finished gently spray your wool layout with soapy water. I don't bother with hot water, mine is room temp and it is just 1/2 tsp ivory liquid soap and water.
Spraying will make it easier to wrap it over the resist.

Gently pull your resist out from under the plastic and place it on top of your arranged out wool.

Mist the bare resist as well as the surrounding wool. Gently pull the wool over the resist, add a triangular piece of plastic to the tail area to keep the sides from felting together. (or you could have designed your resist so this was not a problem, I did not. )

Now in reversing order layer the colors so your bird is the same color on either side. On this side the first colors you lay are the last colors from the other side, the colors from the inside of the bird.

When your resist is covered and you are ready to felt mist your project.

I used bubble wrap over the top to jiggle it gently just to set the water and the wool so I can flip it.

Flip it over and wrap the wool that is hanging over the edges onto the other side. Check for thin spots, fill them in if you need to.

Now spray your project until is is good and wet.

You can proceed to felting using either bubble wrap and screen , rubbing gently at first then felting and forming.

Or you can use a sander. I have a little Black and Decker with a Velcro bottom cover with a bit of vinyl so it does not snag. I set that on first the beak area, then move it down the body. I leave in motion on each section about 15 -20 seconds.

Flip the bird and repeat from beak to tail.

To continue the tutorial ... Part two


  1. I love your birds! They have such great color and texture!

  2. wow, paradise in wintertime... xDorie

  3. Your birds are stunning and I posted this amazing tutorial on Craft Gossip Felting and hope you leave a comment :)


  4. I've losted a link on the felting forum. Great birds

  5. Wow thank you for posting my link, I love to see people creating beautiful things, I hope this inspires someone :)

  6. I featured this project on my blog! Congrats! Grab a button from the post!

  7. hi, i also make felted birds but in a different way.look at: