28 November, 2011

Wet felted Starfish Beanbag

Summer must be coming. I am thinking about starfish again.
I hand-sewed some last summer. This year they're wet felted.

This idea was suggested to me by a friend who had made them.
She used just an old plastic shopping bag for the resist.
So that is what I used too.

 Here I have combined complementary colours of fleece, 
by pulling thin wisps and layering them in opposite directions. 
Blending - to make a pretty pile.

 I had a bowl of hot water and worked over a towel. 
Taking only wisps at first (not looking at what I took from the pile) 
I wrapped each arm of the starfish. 
I used a little water and a little soap to gently rub
each addition around the whole template.

 Until it was completely covered. 
Then I added a second layer over the entire piece.

 I then laid the whole piece between layers of netting and began to gently rub at first. 
Trying to feel the shape of the resist underneath 
and keep the fleece as close to the original shape within, as possible.

 After about 20 mins of rubbing and turning within the netting, 
making sure the fleece was kept warm, 
I could remove it and work more vigorously. 

Once I was happy with my felted piece, 
I dried it in the sun and then cut a small slit in one of the arms 
and removed the resist, with tweezers. 

I sewed up the hole as invisibly as I was able, 
after filling the beanbag with split lentils through a funnel.
You could use rice, dried flowers, sand or perhaps just fleece stuffing.

I made the purple starfish as a test piece and then the orange starfish with a larger template. As the finished piece shrinks by about one third from the original size, it is best to keep this in mind when coming up with the original template. Something I had to take into consideration when organising this project to make with our School Craft Group last week. My purple starfish was perhaps a bit small to be a fun beanbag!

*Handy Hint - to achieve a more natural shape to my starfish templates, 
I use a search engine to find actual images of real starfish. 
I enlarge their size and print them out. 
Tracing onto card (or a plastic bag) from there.

*Interesting Note - Felting around a flat template creates a seamless, 
3 dimensional final piece. 
This is historically a Scandinavian feltmaking technique.


  1. Lovely idea and great tutorial, I'll have to try this soon.

  2. These look great :-) I love reading your blog, so I'm passing on an award - you can check it out here http://happywhimsicalhearts.blogspot.com/2011/11/award.html

    Have a great day, Kelly

  3. I hope you do Zeizo. I would love to know how it goes!

    Thank you Kelly, for including me. This is my first award! ... so I'm a little naive as to what it is all about. I'm sure it must be part of the super gorgeous and supportive network I've discovered in blogland though!

  4. These are really beautiful. I will have to have a go. thanks for sharing


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