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Thursday, June 7, 2012

a felted wool playscape (part 1)

our felted playscape, with plans for a tree on the bare dirt patch :)

i cant seem to get a decent picture of this project!

So, have you all heard about "playscapes"? These adorable felted wool creations, soft, pliable, and turns out, super easy to make. Our fairy garden has bit the dust, out in the sun, crumbling to pieces. I need a better container with better drainage maybe? So, this felted wool idea is similiar to that but without the dirt and watering and mold (ew) and bugs. You see them everywhere on Etsy or Waldorfy blogs. Here and here and here are some samples.

When I was with my mom and sister at this awesome local "fiber festival" one vendor was selling these playscapes, for big bucks, and the kits too. I was like, hey, I could make that. So I bought colorful wool rovings and a bunch of brown wool for the dirt (and to eventually make a fairy/root children tree) and went at it.

And oooh, I am excited about this one. As little man said as we were making it, Mom, you are making this for yourself, arent you. Dad says when you make stuff its because YOU like it. I was like, fine, you cant play with it then. HA.

In any case. Turns out once we got the base done and started putting in the details the kids were super into it, more than anything I have made "for them" in awhile.

So, here is how we did it.

First I needed to make the base. I read online about using bamboo mats to wet felt a large piece. But you can use bubble wrap too, and as I had some lying around it worked perfectly.

Criss cross your rovings in strips across the bubble wrap,first long then across, until you have several layers. My wool was thick so I only did two layers. I shouldve done more, maybe four. Your woold will shrink u quite a bit so be generous with the size.

Now drizzle a little dish soap on the wool. I used just what we have on hand, I dont think the brand matters. Now roll up your bubble wrap then turn your tap water on to hot and run the water down into the opening of the roll, both sides. Now roll your wrap on a counter or on a cutting board over the sink, like in the pictures here, so that the soapy water drains right down into the sink.

I did it for like five minutes, which was enough.

Now unroll and work your wool a little more just kneading (I did this for barely two minutes as the baby started freaking out to be held.) Then I took it and rolled it up in a towel to dry then layed outside for a bit in the sun.

Now you should have a nice thick base.

I did not. So I found an old scratchy sweater, cut it out to the size of the shrunken wool base and laid it underneath the brown wool and needle felted it all over.

NOW I had a base to work with. SUCH FUN. We decided on a little stream and a lake in one corner, using some blue wool. Then a cave like structure (reinforced with a bit of the same old sweater, simply bent into a semi circle cave shape) which I needle felted to the mat. Then one corner became a grassy meadow with lots of flowers.

As a note, it takes some serious effort to get things securely felted onto the playmat (important if you have a grabby baby that has a death wish and literally eats EVERYTHING she gets her fat hands on.) It was a quick process to get it together but I am still working on felting down loose pieces (after baby grabs at it.)

OKAY. Seriously. I am in love.

Next I am doing a tree, using pipecleaners. Then we have plans for a bridge, maybe some toadstools.

Isnt this fun?? Seriously. Tell me. Am I the only dork that LOVES this stuff??

all the brown wool that has been sitting around my house,
looking like a dead animal

my nifty needle felting tool. really necessary.

layered wool rovings, laid out in bubble wrap

little miss rolling out the wool. they did this for literally three seconds and
then walked away. you do it mom.

our creepy looking playmat

look who is crawling now!

scratchy wool sweater backing

half done with it and they are already fighting over who gets
to play with the gnome cave

mr gnome now has a lovely cave to hide his treasure :)

the kids helped roll tiny balls of wool for the flowers which were then needle felted on
with darker green bits of wool for the leaves


  1. this is turning out so nicely Sara..can't wait to see the finished product. If you add a little more over time the kids will always have a "new" playscape. love to you


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