Cookie Cutter Critters
These cute critters are easy enough for preschoolers to make but fun for all ages! They make great ornaments for the tree, mobiles, and bath toys/sponges for kids. All of the photographs for the steps of this tutorial are of children from summer camp and school doing this project, ages 5-13.
– Cookie cutters (the kind that are just an outline without a top)
– Mild dish soap (I prefer Ivory)
– Hot water
– A surface to work on like the lid of a storage bin
Put a second thin layer on, but this time lay out the fibers vertically.
Continue in this fashion of alternating the direction of the fibers in thin layers until you have at least 3 solid layers. Don’t worry if the wool seems really thick at this point, once you begin to felt it will thin out.
Begin wet felting by sprinkling a small amount of water as warm as you can handle onto the wool inside the cookie cutter. Put a dab of soap on one finger and gently poke the wool while holding the cookie cutter down with the other hand so the wool doesn’t slip under the bottom.
Once it seems that the wool is tacked together sufficiently (at least 5-10 minutes) flip the cookie cutter and wool over to do the other side. Don’t worry if the wool gets misshapen during the flip, just fit it back into the cookie cutter and it will reshape. If the water on the wool has cooled during the process gently squeeze out the cold water with the wool between flat hands before putting it back inside the cookie cutter and adding more hot water. Remember the warmer the wool, the faster it felts.
**Watch that you don’t use too much soap or water, both will impede the felting process.**
When it appears that the wool is sticking together on both sides squeeze out the water as best you can while leaving the wool in the cookie cutter. Leave to dry overnight.
Once dry you can poke with a 36 Gauge Needle to further felt it if it doesn’t feel secure.
At this point you can needle felt details onto the surface of the animal using different colored wool. I also sewed on seed beads to add some sparkle and make it a more festive ornament.
Here are some examples of pieces adults had fun making at a workshop I led sponsored by Living Felt at the New York State Art Teachers Association conference in November.