When I started my website my darling son – namer of insane names – was three years old and mad about cows. Now he’s six, and just plain mad. If I’m honest, I don’t think the transition between an inquisitive and creative 3 year old into a hyperactive 6 year old with a blackcurrant jelly addiction was quite as smooth as I thought it was going to be. I’ve been trying to write this tutorial for about two weeks, and you know why I’m only just getting it done now? Because it’s Christmas, and I’ve been running around like a
blue-arsed fly headless chicken since September and OH GOD I THINK MY SON WAS SUPPOSED TO TAKE HIS NATIVITY COSTUME INTO SCHOOL YESTERDAY!
Pinterest mom I am not.
So yes, at this time of year time itself is in short supply. Wanna know what’s in high demand? Presents (I’m talking about Christmas, what did you think I was going to say? Bird seed?)
I find having a small collection of felted Christmas decorations or other bits and bobs makes for a reaaally reaaally (and I can’t emphasise this enough) reaaaaallly useful failsafe for those moments when you need to rustle up a unique and thoughtful present at short notice. And honestly, do not underestimate how useful it is to be able to felt something very quickly!
So as my Christmas gift to you, I present one of my favourite tutorials – making a kawaii-style Christmas pudding that is very easy to make makes a perfect little gift for those people you forgot to buy gifts for because honestly this time of year is the absolute worst for shopping, can someone please bring me an Irish coffee without the coffee!
For this tutorial I used Hamanaka Aclaine (with the option to use Hamanaka Wata Wata as a core if this is preferred). I used Hamanaka materials because they are fast felting, easy to use for a beginner, produce a smooth finish and come in a lovely range of colours. However, you can make this tutorial using other fibres if preferred.
If you would like to try using Hamanaka fibres, which I do recommend, you can purchase them through Sweet Pea Dolls on Etsy.
- Hamanaka Aclaine in brown, pale brown, white, red, green, pink (not pictured) and black
- Wata Wata core wool (optional)
- Felting needles (36, 38 and 40 in triangle or star)
- Fabric glue
- Kawaii eyes or flat back-shanked black buttons
- Cord (to string the bauble)
- Other typical felting equipment – felting mat, needles, scissors, finger guards (optional), an awl and a wool sewing needle (both useful if stringing the bauble the way I describe below)
I forgot to include the pink fibre here because I am an idiot.
Making your ball shape
There are two ways that you can make a ball shape. If you’re using Hamanaka Aclaine you might want to make your ball using method 1, whereby you create the entire ball of your bauble only using Aclaine. However, if you don’t want to use up all of your precious Aclaine you can make a core wool ball first and cover it with the brown top colour (method 2). To keep this page nice and concise, click on the links below to go to the relevant tutorial. I’ll meet you back here.
Method 1 – Making a ball using Hamanaka Aclaine
Making your pudding
Step 1 – Marking out the cream
To start with, it’s a good idea to loosely felt in some eye sockets so that you get a good sense of where the face is. The eyes should be positioned just above the centre line and spaced approximately xxxcm apart.
Take a thick layer of white fibre – enough to theoretically cover the top third of the ball – and place it over the top. It needs to be thick enough so that you can’t see any of the brown showing through.
Felt it securely onto the top of the ball and a little around the sides, as seen in the image below. It doesn’t have to be neat around the edges at this point.
As you can see here, the edges are uneven – that’s good! We want to create the effect of cream dripping down the sides, so this unevenness is something we will work with.
Step 2 – Adding cord and eyes
You’ll need to add the cord and eyes at this stage.
a) Adding the cord
When stringing baubles, your method will depend on the thickness of the cord. I prefer, when using a string-type cord, to make a hole all the way through the centre and string it from the bottom (oo’er missus!)
Take a pair of scissors and snip a hole from the centre of the bottom through to the centre of the top (it is easier to do this if the whole ball has been made with Aclaine as the centre of the ball won’t be so solid). Widen the hole using an awl.
Thread a long length of cord onto a wool needle. Wool needles are thick and sturdy and have a large hoop, which is ideal when trying to thread cord. Thread the cord up through the bottom hole, out through the top, and thread it back down through the hole, leaving a large loop. Knot the two ends of the cord together twice and cut off the excess. Use some more brown fibre to felt over the knots so that they are hidden.
b) Attaching the eyes
Felt the holes you marked out earlier so that they are a little deeper and wide enough for the eyes to rest in. If your eyes have a stem at the back of them you should snip out a small piece of wool in the centre of each socket to accommodate them.
Sew in the eyes or glue them in as appropriate. I recommend using fabric glue but it takes quite a few hour to dry, so you can use a glue gun if you need to hurry the process along.
Step 3 – Defining the edge of the cream
Take a long, thin piece of white fibre and roll it between your fingers so that it becomes yarn-like. This will be used to mark out the edges of the cream.
Felt the white fibre around the edges of the cream you’ve already added. The edges need to be wavy, to look like cream dripping down the sides unevenly, so take it slowly, doing a little at a time. At this point you are marking out the edges.
You don’t need to be restricted by the white area you first felted down in step 1 – now that the eyes are in place you have a clearer guide as to how far down the face the cream needs to drip.
As you are only felting down your outline you can remove sections and readjust as you go along.
But the thing with Kawaii designs is that they tend to have clear, well-defined edges, so those white edges need to be neatened up!
Using a 38 or 40 needle, slowly and carefully poke in stray or untidy bits of fibre by approaching the outline from its underside. This bit is important. If you approach the outline from below you will be able to make the edges neat, smooth and crisp.
Insert your needle at an angle of about 80 degrees to the ball and felt the fibres inwards, going all around the bauble so that it’s neat on all sides. If you felt it deeply and at the right angle it will create an edge that isn’t flush against the brown and gives a 3d effect of cream pooling over the edge of the pudding. Yummy!
Step 4 – Finishing the cream
This step’s nice and easy – simply fill in the gaps between the cream’s edges and the bit you started off with. You don’t want any brown showing through and the white needs to be smooth and rounded, so you may need to and more white to your original section to give it some extra height. Be careful when felting near the hole where the cord comes through!
Your pudding now has the size and shape it needs – time to give it some features!
Step 5 – Adding the face
Now, kawaii objects are all about their cute little faces, and there are lots of ways you can customise your pudding’s expression. For this example we are going to go with an utterly adorable open-mouthed smile of joy!
The cheeks are very important for a kawaii face. Always a nice soft pink, they can be round or oval and are placed underneath the eyes, slightly to the side.
To make the cheeks, take one of your pink pieces and roll it between your fingers so that it makes a loose ball. Place it in position under the eye and felt it into place. To help keep the circular shape I tend to felt in a spiral direction, from the middle to the outer edges. Do this for both cheeks.
For a softer look you can leave the edges of the cheeks a little more undefined, as in image 5b, but for a crisper look you should to neaten the edges of the cheeks in the same way that you neatened the edge of the cream at the end of step 3.
The principle is the same for the mouth, only you don’t need to roll the black fibre into a ball – simply scuff it a bit to compress it into a smaller shape and felt directly onto the face, shaping as you go. As with the cheeks, you will need to neaten the edges to keep the shape crisp.
Finally, add a small oval of pink on top of the black – this is the tongue.
Step 6 – Adding pudding texture
Puddings when cooked correctly tend to have shading an specks of other colours.
Puddings when cooked by me tend to be black all over and quickly filed in the bin. We eat Walls’ Vienetta on Christmas day for a reason.
Let’s pretend this pudding is not burned to a solid lump and add some shading. Take a very thin layer of light brown and felt small patches all over your pudding (although I would avoid the face area as it tends to spoil the facial expression).
Next add some currants and raisins to the pudding. Take small pinches of black fibre and roll them into small bobbles between your fingers. Felt them randomly across your pudding (again avoiding the facial area). The black balls will sink into the fibre to create a fruity finish.
Step 7 – Adding the holly
It’s common for kawaii versions of everyday items to be more pastel in colour than they would usually be, so the green I am using for the holly leaf is paler than normal.
Now I’m not gonna lie to you (especially at Christmas) – this bit is fiddly.
First of all, mark out the shape of the holly leaf using a twist of green fibre, exactly as you did when marking out the edges of the cream. When I did was to tack the fibre on in straight lines, only felting down the corner points, then felt the lines between each point inwards at a curve. Once positioned like this I felted the lines down securely and neatened the edges.
Then fill in the leaf with more green fibre.
Add the berry using red fibre in the same way you added the cheeks – only smaller.
Step 8 – Adding an outline
Again, we’re returning to those bold edges found in kawaii designs.
Take a long and very thin piece of black fibre and roll it between your fingers to created something thread-like (you could use think black yarn if you are uncertain).
Felt the end of the fibre at the berry end of the holly leaf and start felting a thin, even line around the berry, the centre of the leaf and the edges of the leaf.
As you felt around the edges, keep the fibres relatively taut to prevent scruffy edges and uneven line thickness.
In the same way you’re been doing already, you also need to neaten and define the edges – only this time you need to try and do it as you add the outline. Black on white fibres can easily get messed up and leech into each other, so you need to try and prevent that before it happens.
And when you’re done…
I love this little guys so much! He is so full