How to Make a Felted Poppy
Remembrance Sunday is nearly upon us and we’ve been inundated with requests for a felted poppy tutorial. This simple tutorial involves a bit of needle felting and wet felting. It’s easy and straight forward and as you can see the end result is quite beautiful and effective.
I like to wet felt my flowers because I think it adds that extra bit of quality finish, it also makes them more robust to wear. If you want to stop at the needle felting stage, simply make sure your petals and green bead are firmly stabbed together and that they hold their shape. Wet felters will not need to put as much effort into the needle felting stage as the hot water and agitation will firm up the work for you.
Happy felting – don’t forget to donate!
For the Needle Felting
- Red wool roving
- Plum wool roving
- Green wool roving
- Needle felting pad
- Clover pen style needle felting tool
- Three 38 gauge needles
- Download Poppy Template »
For the Wet Felting
- Piece of bubble wrap
- Tulle or fine netting
- Access to hot and cold water (a kettle and a tap will do nicely)
- Washing up liquid
- Two Elastic bands
For the Construction
Needle Felting the Poppy Petals
- Pull off five even tufts from your red wool roving. Try to keep them roughly the same size. Lay three of them out onto your needle felting pad in a fan shape, overlapping at the centre. Lay the remaining two tufts of roving across the width at the widest end.
- Stab the petals all over with your needle felting tool. Every so often lift it gently from the pad so that it does not attach itself to the foam. As soon as the petal shape starts holding together, turn it over, add some more wool and continue to stab. Remember, you will need two of the larger sized petals and three of the smaller sized petals.
- Use the template provided to guide you with the shape and size. Continue to stab both sides of the petal until it holds its shape. If there are any thin areas you can simply add more wool.
- Pull off a small tuft of the plum roving, roughly fold it into thirds and place it on the petal as illustrated. Lightly needle felt it into place to stop it from shifting. Repeat for all five petals
Wet Felting the Poppy Petals
- Lay a piece of bubble wrap over a tea towel, place your petals straight on to the bubble wrap and add a piece of tulle or netting over the top of everything. Drizzle some washing up detergent and hot water over the surface of the petals and use a small piece of bubble wrap to gently massage the petals through the surface of the tulle in a circular motion, working from the edge of the petals in towards their centre.
- Roll everything up tightly (you can secure the wrap with elastic bands). Roll the wrap backwards and forwards for a total of twenty times. Unwrap it, rotate the petals 90 degrees, wrap it all up again and roll another twenty times. Repeat this process until the petals have been rotated a full circle.
- Pour boiling water from a kettle into a bowl and submerge the poppy petals for a few minutes. Use a spoon to lift them from the hot water (be careful, they’ll be very hot) and immediately run them under a cold tap. Quickly submerge them once more, then lift them out of the hot water and repeat wrapping and rolling for another full circle. Dunk, rinse and roll until the wool has shrunk and firmed up. I usually repeat this process three to four times.
- Allow your petals to dry somewhere warm. I concertina them and secure them all together with an elastic band. This helps them keep their shape once they are dry.
Making the Poppy Centre
- Pull off a piece of green wool roving. Roll it up from one end and stab it all over, turning it constantly so that you are able to stab it in all directions. If you need it to be larger, just keep adding more wool and stabbing until you have a nice green sphere. It will shrink a bit when you wet felt it so make it slightly larger than you need. Refer to the photo below as a guide for size.
- Add boiling water to your bowl and submerge the green bead. Hook it out with a spoon and immediately rinse it under cold water. Add a drop or two of washing detergent to the bead and roll it between your palms gently until you feel it starting to harden. Keep dunking it into the hot water and rinsing in cold between rolling it between your palms to quicken the felting process.
- Thread up your needle with a length of the purple stranded cotton. Stab the needle through the centre of the bead and back through the first hole to create your first stitch. Repeat another seven times. Secure at the back of the bead with a knot but do not cut your thread, as you will need this for later.
- To make the stamens, wrap a length of purple wool around two fingers approximately twelve times. Leave a little gap between your fingers for a bit of extra length. Secure the centre of the wrapped yarn with a piece of thread and cut the loops.
Constructing the Poppy
- Double thread your needle for extra strength with the red sewing thread. Place the larger petals behind the smaller petals in a similar configuration to the photo below.
- Carefully turn the poppy petals over without shifting them and stitch them together. I use a running stitch and pull the thread taught so that the petals gather nicely.
- Thread the green bead through the centre of the purple stamens and then through the centre of the poppy. Secure the thread with a knot.
- Draw a circle on to your green acrylic felt sheet. Use the template provided.
- Position the felt circle over the back of the poppy and stitch it to the base of the petals with green sewing thread. Keep your stitches small and pull the thread tightly to gather the circle a little. This will also help reinforce the shape of your poppy.
- Add a few drops of glue from the glue gun to the brooch back and press onto the stitched green circle. Hold it in place till it’s dry.