What We’re Making Today: Needle-felted Cloud Mobile

This was a perfect cloudy day craft!  Clouds can be any color, thanks to sunset and sunrise, storms and rain.  With some plain white wool and rolls of colored roving, we mixed colors together until we had lovely clouds of purple, blue and green (sometimes all three).

What you need:

  • plain (natural or white) loose wool
  • colored roving
  • felting needle
  • felting pad
  • thread (I chose blue, but get creative!)
  • 1 0r 2 dowel rods
  • beads (pony beads, glass, crystal, raindrop-like)
  • wire
  • floral tape

The needle-felting is the easiest part for kids– this project also requires lots of knots.  If that is something your child’s hands cannot handle yet, you can tie knots while they spend more time on the cloud’s design.

If you want to make a mobile with two rods that form a cross, make at least four clouds (for a single rod, 2-3 will do).  Start by mixing your cloud colors by grabbing a handful of white wool and bit of colored roving.  Mix until it looks pretty.

Roll the wool between your palms, letting the heat and pressure compound it a little into a ball.  Put the ball on the felting pad and poke at it from all directions, picking it up and turning it over to ensure even compaction.  The point is not to make a tight ball, but to form the cloud with nothing hanging off haphazardly.  You can lightly pull on sections of the cloud to fluff it up if it gets too flat.  This would also be a good time to talk about types of clouds, or look out the window and see what kind are already in the sky.

Once shaped as you like it, attach a thread at the top and one at the bottom of the cloud.  Thread a needle and attach the string by going through a thick part of the cloud, coming back through and tying  a knot.  The top thread will attach to the dowel rod, so leave enough length to tie knots and get creative with where the clouds hang.  On the other string, add a bead and secure it at the end of the thread with a knot.  Multiple “raindrops” can be added.  Note: too much bead weight could harm the structural integrity of the cloud (just like a real cloud!)

To make the cross-shaped base for hanging the clouds, you will need:

  • wire
  • dowel rods
  • floral tape
  • pliers (something that will cut wire)

Cut a piece of wire approximately 12 inches long.  Arrange the dowels in the shape of a cross and wrap the wire around the center of both pieces, alternating directions.  Try to keep the end of the wire from sticking out too much.

    With the remaining inches of wire, make a loop and tuck the end of the wire under the frame.  Twist the loop.
Cover the wire with floral tape, and tape up each dowel to make it more stable.  Tape sufficiently over the wire to hold down the ends of the wire.  Prevent pokes!  You’re done when the frame won’t wiggle.When all the clouds are done and have their strings and beads attached, and the frame is set up (you can paint that, too, if you have time) you can attach the top strings of each cloud to the frame.  I chose to put one cloud at the end of each dowel and one in the middle.  I tied the strings, but also used my scissors to make a small notch on the top of the dowel for the string to sit in.Note:  I would not recommend this as an infant mobile due to the small beads, fragility of the clouds and the wire.  Pretty much the whole thing would be a danger in a baby’s crib if it falls.  Put it somewhere out of reach and let it cast rainbows on the wall.

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Happy (Early) St. Patrick’s Day!

I am not Irish, but I do like groups of friendly people riding bikes and dressed predominantly in green.  I’m participating in an Irish-themed ride with San Jose Bike Party, and wanted to do a little something for my bike.  I got a handlebar bag yesterday, and there was a convenient clear pocket on the front.  I went for a snake instead of the usual shamrock and leprechauns.  I wanted to dress up as a huge snake and have Justin chase me with a stick (as St. Patrick) but we figured in a group of 1,000+ cyclists, that could be trouble.

I’ve always thought of the story of St. Patrick chasing the snakes out of Ireland as THE legend, but I found out that “post-glacial Ireland” didn’t have any snakes.  Maybe it was large worms?

            

For this craft, I used three sheets of pressed felt, a felting pad and a needle. So simple!  You could also use glue if you feel so inclined.  I did the lettering free-hand (I am usually very bad at lettering).  Wish me luck tonight!  I have never been around this many bikes and it will be raining!

Bonus!  San Jose is a sister city to Dublin, Ireland, and the “Lord High Mayor” Andrew Montague visited last weekend.  He is a cycling enthusiast and went on a ride with citizens on Sunday morning.  Justin and I got our picture with him.  Get a load of that chain of office!


Lovely Package Tease!

Yesterday I sent off a “lovely package” to a friend I haven’t met yet, Janice of Bellwether Thoughts.  Here are some teaser shots, since she hasn’t gotten it yet!

We’re in the San Jose airport waiting to fly “home”.  I kept going into my work room before we left scanning wildly for anything I might desperately need. I didn’t bring ANY craft supplies, and I feel like I might go through withdrawals.


DIY Holodeck from Star Trek: TNG

EFF YEAH DIORAMAS!  I am getting to the Star Trek: The Next Generation game a little late, but it’s never too late for more nerd cred.  I feel like since I’ve started watching the series, a new community has opened up, with more humor, dorkiness and inclusion.  A few weeks ago, I decided that in my tradition of making a photo corner at my birthday party, I would make a holodeck (black tarp, yellow duct tape, determination).  But before I attempted that, I made it tiny!

I’m really surprised I didn’t find any IRL holodecks online, no Google, no Etsy.  The ONLY “holodeck” entry on everyone favorite craft mega-site was this.

Other than the bright yellow tape, this papercraft holodeck from the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D) can be made mostly with things you likely have around.   It could be small enough for miniatures, or big enough to take pictures of yourself in.

PAPERCRAFT HOLODECK TUTORIAL
Supplies needed:
lightweight cardboard (cereal box)
matte paper
exacto knife
scissors
straight edge/ruler
pencil
glue
yellow tape (artist/masking/duct)
Holodeck pattern

Print out one pattern for the cardboard structure, and another for the “wallpaper”.  The wallpaper pattern should be printed about 5% larger.  You’ll need a tiny bit of overlap so it wraps correctly.

STRUCTURE: Trace the smaller pattern onto the cardboard and cut out.  The tabs along each edge are not necessary for the cardboard piece, except for the “GLUE UNDER A” tab.  Bend along dotted lines and glue appropriate tab under the floor side marked “A”.   This should make a corner with two walls and a floor.

WALLPAPER: Take the larger pattern and trace/print onto a piece of matte black paper (I used construction paper) and cut out.

Using a straight edge, draw gridlines with pencil onto the black paper.  The spacing is up to you, but keep it consistent.

Apply yellow tape stripes to wallpaper BEFORE attaching wallpaper to model.  With the exacto knife (and a self-healing mat if you got it) cut tape strips long enough to run the length of both the wall and the floor.  The stripes should form what looks like a basket:

The width of the strips depends on the size of your model, and your interpretation of TNG holodecks.  For a 3” model, I cut the strips ⅛”.  Attach the strips to the wallpaper top to bottom on the left wall and floor, and across the model left to right.  Attach the top to bottom strips on the right wall AFTER the next step.

Fit wallpaper to model and fold tabs over the sides of the cardboard.  Glue in place.  Fold the “GLUE UNDER A” wallpaper tab under (do not glue).  Make sure all edges are adhered and straight.

Now, attach top to bottom tape strips to the right wall.  Use the end of a pencil (but not the lead) to tuck the tape into the angle between wall and floor, and continue along floor.  Fold all extra tape under model.

To finish, use large strips of yellow tape to cover back.  Just make it nice!

 

"Hey-- who's up for a game of Pyramid? Oh sorry, wrong show."