Who knew a “simple” project would lead me to a new hobby.
It started simple enough, I said yes to doing a set of leaf crowns for the children in my sons preschool (16 of them!). Making the crowns out of wool felt was simple enough, but what the wool for, that was in the supply bin?
Well, I either had to admit I had no idea or go and search it. Google enlightened me that it was wool roving and one “needle felted” it, with special needles. Oh, that is what was in the box with all the supplies? Snort. For someone as crafty as me, I had never noticed this craft before.
Leaf Crowns are simple enough to create. First, you will want to source wool felt (although in a pinch, regular crafting felt will work just fine). If you have a fiber shop (think knitting/yarn) in the area, ask them if they carry it. If not, head to Etsy. In stocking my own supplies, I ordered from the same company, CraftyWoolFelt, that the school headmistress (ha, I crack myself up, she’d never call herself that!) uses. Those pieces I will be featuring in upcoming projects!
First you will want to create a cardboard pattern, that is about 8¼ inches (8.25 cm) long, that is leaf-shaped.
For ease in cutting, lay out your felt, and trace around the leaf as many times as you want, then cut out. Depending on the wearer’s head size, you will need 7-9 leaves per crown. I made ours with 8, they fit the largest heads at the preschool, for the tiniest petite heads, we can use a safety-pin to pull them in a bit. If you are doing them for adults, you may want to add more sections.
Thread an embroidery needle with a healthy section of embroidery floss (it is 6 strand, use DMC Embroidery Floss for best results). Leave about a third of the section hanging over, knot the bottom of the thread. Sew one leaf to a second one, with a ½” seam allowance, using a simple stitch, 3 to 4 times. Run the needle through the back side twice, into the thread, to lock the thread into place. Cut the thread, leaving a bit behind. Re-knot and repeat till done.
After making many, many of these, it was time to learn how to needle felt the “jewels” on. I had been provided with a random block of foam and two funky looking needles stuck in it. Which, had I actually googled it a bit more, I would have realized were very, very delicate needles. I promptly broke both needles in the first 3 jewels. I didn’t realize I needed to go up and down, up and down. Not whack, whack, whack, all over and sideways :p Sometimes kids…reading is a good thing 😉
I realized while searching for replacement needles that this wasn’t something I could easily acquire in town. Amazon is your friend. After picking up Clover Felting Needle Refill Heavy Weight, I indulged myself and bought a Clover Felting Needle Tool, and a Felting Foam Large. Well, I can tell you that $10 felting tool made ALL the difference. 5 needles all at once, with a safety guard that kept fingers away and needles straight? And did I mention I could felt in a fraction of the time?
Basically the method is pull a little bit of roving off, gently, then wind it around your finger into a ball of sorts. Place the crown on the felting foam, then place the roving where you want it. Start gently needling (punching really) the roving, with the needle(s) going through the felt below. Every 10 or so punches shift the fabric so it doesn’t get meshed into the pad. You may need to tweak the roving with your fingernails as you punch, but quickly you can shape it into a circle. Keep needling until it is smoothed out and flat. If you want, you can even add another color on top of the first, to get a cool visual. And before you know it, you have 16 crowns done…
Now that I am done with the preschool’s needs…I have found a new hobby. Don’t be surprised soon to see what I have made in the coming months 😉