Needle Felted Loop Bracelet Tutorial
Create a bold and funky fashion statement with this needle felted bracelet. Make in lots of colors to compliment your wardrobe!
Complimenting colors of wool roving
Felting needles in various sizes
Multi-needle felting tool
Foam working surface (I use an old chair cushion with the vinyl removed)
Begin by laying roving fibers about 12-14" long (approximately 5" longer than needed to go around your wrist) and double the width of your final bracelet.
Next, lay short lengths of fibers across the previous layer, with the fibers running 90 degrees from the previous layer's direction. Place fibers close together and even in thickness across the bracelet base.
Cross contrasting colors diagonally over first two layers of fibers. Remember, even though the fibers may be laying thick now, the needle felting process is going to significantly compact all the layers together. Don't be afraid to go thick. You'll want to continue to layer fibers on this side until they are between an inch and an inch and a half high.
Begin fusing the wool fibers together by punching into the layers with a felting needle. Felting needles are special because they have one-way barbs along the tip that push fibers together, yet don't pull them apart. This compacts the fibers, and allows them to not only physically intertwine, but to lock the cuticle of the wool hairs together. For these larger-sized steps, I prefer the use of a multi-needle tool.
Slowly and carefully, pull the beginning-to-compact fibers up from the foam, beginning to lift from the edges and working toward the center. Once you have the edges lifted, remove center by peeling back from one side to the other. Flip over, showing the solid-colored opposite side.
Criss-cross more contrasting colored fibers on this side, focusing where areas in compacted fiber seem thinner than others
Continue to needle-felt with multi needle tool, compacting fibers together, making sure to lift the rough bracelet form from the foam on occasion.
Flip often so fibers compact evenly on both sides.
If any areas seem thin, add more fiber and focus needle felting on this area on both sides.
Pull and needle contrasting colors into each other to combine and add visual appeal. This step needs to be completed before fibers have been fully combined together to keep the surface area smooth. When you reach your desired marble, needle felt over the top to fully secure colors into place, flipping often to lock in from both sides.
With top side down, begin needling the sides of the bracelet, starting at the narrowest point of the width. Begin shaping with a coarse needle, then go over with a finer gauge. Repeat on other side.
After finishing, flip bracelet base back over and use the multi-needle tool across the top of the edge. This will compact and smooth the exterior. Repeat on the other side.
This next step has a few ways to accomplish it, so I'm going to tell you my favorite way. We're looking to seal our newly cut raw edge, and I like to accomplish this by using my coarse needle to aggressively needle the end. This pushes a good amount of fibers through to the other side. Insert the point of the needle close to the cut edge, and pull fibers out until the end is slightly whispy. Using a fine point needle, felt these whispy edges back over the cut end. This smoothes and seals the cut end.
Measure 2 1/2" longer than the length of your wrist and cut with fabric shears, or other sharp scissors. Put the remaining piece aside for making the loop that secures the bracelet to your wrist.
Twist very thin sections of roving in a contrasting color, and using a small needle, felt into a design. Swirls, zig zags, and polka dots are just some examples of super simple, yet visually pleasing designs. Feel free to experiment! Needle felt with the multi-needle tool over the whole design a few times to assure the design is securely attached.
On the opposite side, you should see some of the contrasting color showing through when the design is well-fused. Felt over these whispy contrasting wool pieces to attach them into the back.
Twist remaining piece from cut tail around one end of the bracelet. I tend to use this opportunity to hide my less-attractive side. Using a coarse needle, thoroughly attach the loop to the band of the bracelet. Finish by locking in any whispy pieces with a fine needle.
Insert free end through loop. Place over hand and pull tight to secure onto wrist. The nature of the felt creates enough, shall we say, clingy-ness to keep the bracelet on.
This bracelet also takes kindly to beading, embroidery, and/or a wet-felting finish to further smooth the surface.