For as long as I can remember, I have had a *slight* obsession with all things felt. Obsession may be an understatement… There is something about the soft texture, natural material, and the endless creative possibilities to shape and form just about anything that draws me in! Whenever Wally and I are out shopping and I see something felted, he knows I will take a detour to see and handle it. What can I say? I just love felt!
While running a last minute errand to Hobby Lobby the week of Halloween, I got a wee bit distracted and started to browse their Christmas section to get inspired for the most wonderful time of the year. I saw this empty rustic stable among the craft items. It was love at first sight because knew I would be felting an adorable nativity! After perusing plenty of Pinterest pins for inspiration, I decided to go with a neutral color scheme with a Waldorf style look for this special project.
Our master bedroom decor and furniture is in cozy and creamy neutral tones so I wanted something that would blend nicely. I am so happy with how it turned out and look forward to displaying it every year! For now, I am content with just having Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus and maybe I will add a piece or two each year like an angel, sheep, donkey, and wise men. Seeing this display every morning is a tender reminder of the reason for the season.
All I have to say is hallelujah for Heindselman’s in Provo! They carry drool-worthy Kromski’s Polish merino wool roving. The Polish Merino breed of sheep is found throughout much of Poland’s countryside, and Kromski offers a variety of beautiful colors for arts and crafts. They offer many of their wools in felting packs with colors that coordinate nicely together. Unfortunately, you cannot order their wool directly online but can only purchase from select dealers (search for a shop who carries Kromski near you here).
- Pre-made wood nativity stable from a craft store
- Wool roving in natural, flesh, dark gray, toffee, and hay tones
- Polyester fiberfill batting
- Needle felting mat from Clover
- Felting needle from Clover (great for making details)
- Needle felting tool from Clover (great for making the body forms)
- Dried grapevine tendril
NOTE: If you do not know how to needle felt, here s a simple tutorial by Hawthorn Handmade to make round and oblong shapes.
1. Felt two 1″ flesh toned balls to serve as heads for Mary and Joseph. Then felt a 1/2″ flesh toned ball for Baby Jesus’ head. Beginning with the head helps create the scale for the rest of the body and accessories.
2. BABY JESUS: Pull a piece of natural toned roving (approximately 6-8″ long) and wrap around the 1/2″ ball head to create a swaddle. Felt the fibers into place until the desired shape is achieved.
3. HAY MANGER: Pull a piece of hay toned roving (approximately 8″ long) and wrap around the Baby Jesus form. Gently tuck the fibers in with the felting needle, leaving many loose for texture, until the desired shape is achieved.
4. MARY: Using polyester fiberfill as a base for the body saves on the overall cost of the project rather than using solid roving. For creating the body, I like to use a needle felting tool from Clover that has five needles to make the process go faster. Felt a handful of polyester fiberfill into an oblong shape until dense and the desired size, proportionate to the head. Wrap natural colored wool roving around the body shape until the fiberfill is covered and felt into place.
Attach the head by agitating the fibers from the body to the neck area of the flesh toned ball. Attach toffee toned hair to the top of the head and gently felt in place.
For the head wrap, place natural toned fibers the width and length of the felting mat and gently felt with the needle felting tool, rotating both sides until the thickness of a dense fabric develops. Drape the head wrap over the head and body and shape into desired form, and needle felt to the body.
5. JOSEPH: Follow the same previous steps for making Mary but in the shape and form of Joseph with dark gray roving for his hair and beard. Be sure to felt the bottom of the body nice and flat so he stands upright! Add a dried stick or grapevine tendril to serve as his staff, and felt his hands to his body to hold it in place.
6. Display in a wooden nativity stable and enjoy this reminder of the birth of Jesus Christ this season!
Love & Light,