If you’ve never felted before, don’t be intimidated by these felted acorns. Felting is so easy, it often happens by accident (remember that wool sweater you shrunk last year?). Balls are the easiest felt shape to achieve, and these take under 5 minutes each.
How to Make Felted Acorns
- wool (here’s a beautiful pack of mixed colors ideal for wet felting)
- dish soap
- empty squeeze bottle (dishsoap or ketchup container)
- Bowl of hot water
- acorn caps (oak trees are easy to identify this time of year because they retain their leaves longer than other hardwoods. Acorns drop to the ground and are fun to search for among the leaves!)
- hot glue (I know, I know–but it’s only a little, tiny bit!)
1. Fluff up your wool. We did this with carders, but you can use your fingers–just to tease it and separate the fibers till they’re a nice, light cloud. If you buy your wool as roving, you can skip this step.
2. Set up your felting space. Once the wool is ready, cover your workspace with a folded towel (I put a folded up towel in front of each child) and place a bowl of hot water in within reach. Fill your squeeze bottle with your hottest tap water and add 2-3 tablespoons dishsoap. Shake a bit to combine.
3. Form the ball. Take a clump of wool and stretch it into a thin strip. Starting on one end, roll the wool on its self, turning and twisting it as if you were winding a ball of yarn. When the ball is about twice the size of what you want your finished ball to be, break off any extra wool, and smooth down the end.
4. Wet the ball. Squirt your ball gently with the hot, soapy water till it’s uniformly damp.
5. Begin felting. Begin felting by every so gently turning and lightly smoothing and rolling the ball with your finger tips. No squishing. Within a few moments, the surface of the ball will seem smoother and the ball will begin to hold its shape. The outer layer of the wool is already felting! Keep working, with gradually more pressure and friction, until you’re rolling the ball around in your palms.
6. Keep the ball warm. Every few minutes, dip the ball into the hot water to keep the fibers warm and relaxed. Squeeze out excess water, add a bit more of the dishsoap solution, and keep on rolling.
7. Apply more pressure. After a few more moments, your ball will get harder and begin shrinking. Keep rolling with firm pressure in the palms of your hands to form a nice, tight ball.
8. Measure and rinse. When the ball fits nicely into an acorn cap, stop felting, rinse all the soap out under running water, and let it dry. (If you squeeze the acorn with a dry towel, it can dry enough that you don’t need to wait to do the last step!)
9. Glue on caps. Glue the balls into acorn caps with a dab of hot glue, and then tie or glue a loop of thread to the top of the acorn cap to hang them up. Or you can string them into a garland where they look like little, woodsy Christmas light bulbs!
These are so quick to throw together, you can make a handful in under an hour, and kids love making their own.
And just look how much we learned while doing our felting craft:
- We took a nature walk to find the acorn caps, identified 3 types of oaks and discussed their growth patterns and reproduction–>Science and Nature Study
- Before we began felting we paged through a book on felt and learned that it originated in Asia and Scandinavia, and was used for everything from yurts to boots. –> History and Geography
- I showed the kids a picture of felt under a microscope and explained why and how wool felts–heat opens the microscopic scales on the fiber and soap and friction help move the fibers together–>more Science!
Not to mention Arts and Crafts and Home Ec as we created our little beauties and then decided where to hang them!
For more Advent crafts and learning activities, check out this post: Fun and Simple Advent Activities
This post contains affiliate links–thanks for your support!