Sunday, 9 February 2014

Adorable Wooden Bead and Felt Roll Necklace

When we were in New Zealand, my Mother-in-Law had organised a craft activity for the kids.  She found it in a copy of Women's Weekly and had stashed it away for when we next visited.  This was the article:

(Disclaimer! - I need to apologise for the terrible photos in this post.  While we were doing this activity I only had my really old iPhone handy, so these were taken in awful light with a rubbish camera.) 

The process for making these necklaces is quite simple.

1. Glue two squares of felt together using a glue stick.
2. Cut the felt sandwich into strips (1.5cm or 5/8"wide)
3. Roll the strips up and sew the end down.
4. Thread the felt rolls and wooden beads onto a length of embroidery thread using a needle.

These were the pictures of the steps posted with the article.

It seemed really straight forward, and I thought the girls could do a lot of the work.   We had no problem with the first step. The girls enthusiastically glued the felt together and left it to dry.  Nana then used her rotary cutter and quilting ruler to cut the strips.

The girls then started rolling up the strips and glueing down the ends.  We thought glueing would be so much easier than sewing … this is where the trouble began.  The glue wouldn't hold the rolled up felt in place and they kept unrolling.  We tried a couple of methods to hold the rolls while the glue dried - we stabbed some with a pin, and used a small piece of masking tape on others.  Both methods worked OK.  We should probably have followed the instructions and sewed the ends!  Nana and I ended up finishing all the rolls while the girls went and played.  So much for a craft activity for the girls!!

Once we had the rolls ready, we threaded up a couple of strong needles with a length of embroidery thread, and called the girls.  The idea was to push the needle through the roll of felt (from side to side, through all the rolled layers), then add a bead, then repeat the process until the necklace was long enough.  Unfortunately this also turned out to be far more difficult than it looked.  The felt seemed to have a very tight weave and the needles just refused to go through the layers of felt.  We ended up having the girls choose a roll of felt, then my husband and I forced the needle through the roll.  This involved much white-knuckled pushing of the needle, then using a hard surface to brace the needle and slowly shove the felt down the length of the needle.  I'm not going to lie, it was a difficult process.  The girls then threaded on the bead and chose the next felt roll.

In hindsight I think it would be a good idea to choose a wool felt that doesn't have as tight a weave.  Very thin, tightly woven, synthetic felt just wasn't suitable for this activity.  Fortunately the end result was really pretty.  The girls proudly wore their necklaces on holiday.

Although this activity turned out to be far more difficult than we anticipated I'm really glad we did it.  With a couple of adjustments, I'm sure this would be much easier to make.

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