We're going to be making these awesome little needle felted cabochons today. I love how you can make a whole set that works together, but no matter what they're all individual and beautiful.
You'll need the following items:
A few colors of wool roving
Various sized felting needles, including a multi-needle tool
Metal cabochon bead back
Working in a complimenting palette of roving colors, pull a small amount of fibers from each color.
Pull a few fibers at a time from each color and lay them over each other. Alternate colors and shift down so the ends of the staples overlap.
Coil roving fibers around each other, and smooth ends around edges.
Since we're working with such a small area, a pair of long handled tweezers works perfectly to keep fingers out of the way of our very, very sharp felting needles.
Begin needle felting the disk of roving slowly, flipping the circle over every so often.
Insert the size 38 needle perpendicular to the side edges of the disk, being careful not to hit the tweezers with the needle. Felting needles are fragile due to the barbs along the tip and irregular shapes, and can break rather easily.
Keep the shape as round and even on the edges as possible while you work. Flatten out the top edges a little as you go.
Continue sizing down the disk along the edges, moving to the size of the metal bead backing. Keep paying attention to the thickness around the edges and keep them even.
Once the disk is the right shape to sit inside the rope rim of the backing, it's time to start focusing on our finished shape. Check your sizing and shaping of your edges and smooth any large or uneven areas to their final size.
Now it's time to give our felt disk the look of an actual cabochon by rounding our top corners into the felt. Slowly needle the edge into a graduating dome, working evenly and smoothly all the way around. Make sure to not distort your shape or your edges.
Lightly and gently, work a little crevice into the underside of the cabochon. This concave underside will give us a place to put our glue, as well as hide threads from embroidery.
Be careful not to push the needle all the way through the top of the bead, as this will push some little fibers out from the surface of the top.
If this does happen at all, gently needle felt over the loosened fibers on the top, being careful to not level out the concave underside.
Take a few fibers between your fingers, then twist to create a loose mini section of yarn. Lay your designs down one line at a time, and needle felt into place.
The more you needle the design, the more it will meld into the background of the bead. Your best bet is to felt it to the point that the surface is just smooth and there are no more loose fibers.
Tuck the end fibers around the back and secure into the crevice by needle felting.
Hand sew any beaded or embroidered embellishments to cabochon, hiding knots and loose ends on the underside of the bead.
Apply a small amount of hot glue to the crevice. Press bead to backing (I've scuffed mine here with a pair of pliers to get a better grip of my glue)
and hold firmly until metal bead feels completely cool on the back.
Here you see our new bead from the side, attached to our metal base. There's two holes on either side of each base. What can we do with these lovely things? I bet we can come up with a few things, right?