Needle and Wet Felt Geode Tutorial
These needle and wet felted geodes with a cavity (hole in the middle) are fun and addictive to make, and you get an amazing surprise at the end when you cut them open! (See bottom of page for guidance on Geodes with no hole in the middle like the rainbow one below)
The first cavity Geode I made - the purple one above - was huuuge! It nearly broke my washing machine! I love it but decided that for this tutorial I should have another go with a smaller geode that I could turn into this tutorial (and won't break your washing machine with the wool quantities given below!).
Think of the Cavity Geode in 3 parts:
Sparkly Inner layer - here think pretty fibres, curls, texture etc). I used:
- 5g Natural Teeswater Curls
- 5g 'Mermaid' Hand Dyed Teeswater Curls
- a pinch of 'Mermaid' Blue Angelina Fibre
Colourful middle layers: approx 75g Dyed / Sparkly Wool Batts. I used:
- 25g Mountain sheep Aqua
- 25g Blue-Green Shimmer*
- 25g White Shimmer*
- Or just get one of our mixed wool bags such as the Gemstone Mix
*If using Shimmer wool be sure to needle felt your layers together well as the synthetic fibres can prevent the layers wet felting and create a more fragile geode.
Outer Layers - a bright white here creates a nice contrast, and a natural rock colour looks great on the outside, but don't feel restricted to these, make whatever colour you like! I used:
- 100g white Shetland batts
- 50g Gotland Grey batts
- Handful of Gotland Curls & Natural Teeswater Curls (optional but pretty!)
You will also need:
- Felting Needle (I used a Coarse #36 twisted)
- Cavity Resist - Basically something to go inside to create the cavity space, use something the wool will not felt to (I used a dog ball, you can use a bundle of taped up plastic packaging, tin foil etc.).
- Elastic Bands (Optional) - thank you for the tip Sue!
- A washing machine and something to wash in with your geode that you don't mind if it gets a bit fluffy! I usually put with a hot towel wash.
Handling Batts Tips: Wool batts are made of lots of thin layers of wool fibres, and have a grain to them. Spread out your piece of batt flat if you can, and then gently pull at the surface, you should be able to take off a layer. You can take a thin or thick layer in this way.
Inner Layer: Spread out a piece of wool batts that will be large enough to wrap completely around the resist (ball / packaging / tin foil etc). You can choose how thick this layer will be - the more wool you use, the thicker the band of colour it will create.
Over this wool layer, sprinkle Angelina Fibre, curls (you can pull them apart longway so they become thinner), pieces of other colour wool etc, to create texture and interest.
|Holding the texture down: Take a very thin layer of wool batts and spread it out so that it is like a web, very thin, lacy and see through - it is just to help hold the texture fibres in place now and once felted. Place this thin layer over the texture layer.|
|Place the cavity resist (ball / tin foil etc) onto the layer.|
||Wrap the layers around the ball. It is easiest to pull one side fairly tightly over the other, and then carefully felt sideways into the wool so you do not hit the resist, to tack it in place. Then do the same with the top and bottom edges.|
Middle Layers: Wrap more layers around, tacking them in place the same as the first layer. Try to keep them wrapped fairly tightly as you work. You can build up a few thick layers of colour, or pull thinner layers off your wool batts and build up lots of thinner layers, alternating the colours.
A dark layer next to a light layer for contrast looks great. I like to save plenty of white for the final layers but that is up to you. When you have built up a few layers it will be easier to felt your needle into them. Remember as the ball gets bigger, you will need to use more wool if you want to create a thick layer of colour.
Final Layers: Optional: Make a layer of white around your ball. I like to do this to create contrast, and mimic geodes in nature.
If adding curls on the outside, put aside enough grey wool batts to cover the ball with a very thin layer.
Use the rest of the grey to cover the ball.
Adding the curls: Working on one side at a time, sprinkle the surface with Gotland curls, or Natural Teeswater curls. Cover each layer of curls with a very thin web of grey batts, this will help it to felt down. Now carefully felt all over this layer. This will give some texture and interest to the outside of the Geode.
Felt all around your geode, to compact the surface down a little to help it as it begins to felt in the washing machine.
|Optional: Add elastic bands around your Geode to give interesting patterns once it has gone through the wash (Thanks to Sue of Shy Sheep Felties for this tip!)|
|Wash the Geode in the washing machine. A hot towel wash is great for getting a firm geode.|
Carefully cut open your Geode. Use a sharp knife and chopping board, and be very very careful of your fingers! It is best to 'bridge' the geode with your fingers and thumb on either side of the knife, with the blade going between. You may need to use small, sharp scissors as you get to the centre, depending on what you have felted around.
Then... the reveal! All the layers come together to create a beautiful geode effect!
You can also make Geodes without holes in the centre, such as this big Rainbow Geode made from one bag of our 15 colour rainbow mix - you can use our Pom Pom (felt ball) Garland instructions for guidance, and once you have made the ball to start off with, just keep adding colours layer by layer. You can follow the instructions above from the 'middle layers' section. Needle felt very firm, or throw in the washing machine with a hot wash to help it firm up, before cutting it open as above to reveal the treasures inside!