Covering a ball with carded wool

This might seem like an oddly specific thing to have a tutorial on but, as with any technique, if you haven’t done it before then it helps to have someone talk you through the basics.

If you are creating the core shape of your model using core wool, there’s going to come a point where you’ll need to cover your ball with a top colour.  How you do this is going to vary depending on material used and the shape of your core, and to be honest there’s no ‘one size fits all’ rule when it comes to this. However, if you are making a creation that requires you to make a core ball covered in an even top-colour there are some approaches that work better than others.

Before you you start this tutorial you will need to create a ball using core wool. A tutorial for this process can be found here.

In the steps below I used Hamanaka Aclaine as the top colour (available from Sweet Pea Dolls), but this technique works with all carded fibres.

Step 1

Tear off a length of fibre that is long and thin (as in the image below), and long enough to be wrapped around the entirety of your core ball. It should be thick enough to cover the ball without any core colour showing through the patches (if you do have the fibres too thin you will need to repeat this process until all core colour has been covered, or use small sections of top colour to cover patches individually).

Place your core ball at the centre.

Step 1

Step 2

Wrap one end of the fibre over the ball and felt it into place. Do not overlap the other end of the fibre as, once you have felted this bit down (leave the sides unfelted) you will need to repeat this process with the other end.

Step 2

Step 3

Once the fibres have been felted onto the ball all the way around it (like a very fat equator), pull out one of the unfelted sides a little and pull it back over to the top of the ball. You may need to gently pull off any excess fibre if there’s too much, as otherwise it will distort the shape of the ball.

Once you are happy you have the correct amount of fibre, hold in in place and felt it securely and firmly so that one side of the ball is now covered.

Step 3

Step 4

Then do it again with the other side.

Step 4

Step 5

Switching between a 36 and a 38 needle, you now need to go to town on this ball to make it a perfect sphere. Here are some tips for getting it just the right shape:

  • Angle your needle if you are felting a particularly lumpy section, as this will help the fibres spread out over a larger surface area, and more evenly.
  • Concentrate on felting any sharp edges or corners that may have resulted when you covered the sides in steps 3 and 4.
  • Constantly turn your ball over – roll it against your mat so that you are felting all sides evenly. If you concentrate on one area too much it will flatten and distort.
Step 5

Step 6

Once the ball shape is complete and even, switch to an appropriate needle for the fibres (such as a 38 or 40) and carefully felt it all over to remove any uneven places, bumps, creases etc. No one wants a wrinkly ball.

A handy, quick tutorial for covering a core ball in a carded top colour.
Step 6

And there we have it. Your ball is now ready to use – you can either make it form the base of a bauble (and I have just the tutorial for you here!), use it as an element of a body shape, a planet (sorry Pluto), or even use it as the world’s most disappointing tennis ball*.  You got choices, is what I mean. Use them wisely.

  • Please don’t use this as a tennis ball. It really won’t work and you might get beaten to death by your doubles partner.

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