Give an old sweater or beyond-repair scarf new life by turning it into felted wool you can craft into upcycled gift toppers.
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It's usually a laundry no-no to wash and dry your woolens the way you do towels, but that's exactly how you create felted wool for crafting. These cute cutouts owe their color variation to roving—fluffy clumps of wool fiber that pull apart like cotton candy. Felting is the process of shaping the roving into designs using a special needle. To create these swirled gift toppers, you'll need just two tools to needle-felt the roving onto the wool. The results are lasting gift toppers or ornaments that are heartfelt presents themselves. We'll show you how to felt wool using sweaters, fabric scraps, or even socks.

colorful wool fiber gift toppers
Credit: Marty Baldwin

How to Make Felted Wool Heart Ornaments

Supplies Needed

  • Felted wool
  • Wool roving
  • Needle felting mat
  • Needle felting tool
  • Scissors
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Yarn

Step-by-Step Directions

These handmade hearts are two gifts in one—embellishments for packages that double as ornaments. Customize them for Christmas, Valentine's Day, or even birthdays.

Step 1: Prepare Felted Wool

When you wash a sweater or scarf in hot water and toss it in the dryer, the yarns will mat and turn into dense, easy-to-sew felted wool. Though wool blends may work, 100% wool is best. If you don't have old wool clothing or blankets at home, check secondhand stores. Or buy felted wool as yardage or scraps at quilting shops or on Etsy. We also like wool felt, which is made from compressed, rather than woven, wool fibers.

Step 2: Create Colors

To begin needle felting wool, place a 4-inch square piece of felted wool on a needle felting mat ($20, Etsy). Swirl a small piece of roving on top. Press a needle felting tool ($20, Michaels) up and down across the wool to blend in the roving for a marbled effect

Step 3: Cut Shape and Finish

Cut a simple shape from the finished piece, then use the felting tool to clean up the raw edges. Sew on a yarn loop to hang on a tree or use as a gift topper. Have leftover wool roving? Try creating a cute whale toy or felted fox.

By Kit SelzerSarah Martens and Kim Hutchison

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