For those who don't know my friend Elizabeth, she is crafty-crafty-Crafty. In her twitter profile she says, "mom, photographer, storyteller, California girl" - I think her crafts always seem to embody all of these things, who she is. (This horse, all her.) I still remember a tweet she sent me last fall about one of her "craft days" with the kids ... she has a wonderful way of keeping it all in perspective, I think you will see that here. I also love her heartfelt interest in bringing nature into their crafts. To visit a little slice of her world, click here. Thank you for being one of my main tweeps! ;)
When Chelsey originally asked me to write something up for She’s Crafty my only hesitation was in deciding which project to feature. There were the super hero capes, the salt dough Christmas ornaments, the doll pin fairies, the edible (by birds) Christmas tree garlands. I finally settled on the nature inspired magic wand I originally created as a gift for a friend of my 5 year old son. It was a huge hit. And it could not have been simpler to make.
You only need a few simple supplies to make this. Some of them you may have on hand, others you’ll easily find in your backyard or on a walk in the woods.
A stick. About as long or maybe a little longer than a child’s arm.
A eucalyptus seed pod (or you could use an acorn cap)
Wool Roving (unspun wool) You can find roving here: http://theyarntree.com/store/fibersfelting/fibers/dyedmerino.html
Ribbon in a coordinating color
A Felting needle (I use a 35 gauge Colonial Felting needle)
I am a “fly by the seat of your pants” crafter. I improvise as I work using materials I have on hand or improvising to accommodate something I may be missing. Adding a flourish there, changing something else over here. I usually end with something I like and sometimes I don’t. Lessons learned along the way. That being said, the following are simple instructions for a simple nature inspired magic wand. Feel free to embellish as much or as little as you see fit.
First thing you’ll want to do is run your hand over the stick you collected on your walk. If it has any rough spots you’ll want to go ahead and sand those lightly. You could remove bark, sand lightly and oil or seal the stick. I didn’t do any of those things and it’s worked out just fine.
If you’re using a eucalyptus seed pod you’ll need to hollow it out so that the end of your stick will fit down inside. This is where an acorn cap might make more sense since they are already hollow. I, of course, had to be difficult and hollow out a seed pod. I used a screw and a pocket knife for this job. I didn’t even lose a finger! Once the seed pod or acorn cap are ready you can attach them to the end of your stick using white craft glue.
Cut strips of ribbon long enough so they hang a couple of inches down from the top of the stick. Using white craft glue, then glue the ribbon around the sides of the stick and then wrap with a rubber band or another piece of ribbon until the glue dries. (See photo)
Now, the fun part. If you’ve never needle felted before this project is a great introduction. You’ll take pieces of unspun wool and layer them inside a cookie cutter placed on a piece of upholstery foam.
Once they are inside the cutter you simply use your felting needle to poke the wool. The shaft of the felting needle is barbed and will cause the fibers of the wool to become interwoven or “felted”. You’ll keep doing this until the fibers are more sturdy and the shape will stay together. This should only take a few minutes. After you finish the first shape, create an identical one using the same method.
Now, for the final assembly. Lay the first shape down on your foam. Lay the stick with the ribbon end down on top of the shape. You’ll want the shape to cover enough of the ribbon so that you can’t see where the ribbon is attached. Once you have it positioned lay the other shape on top. Carefully, using your felting needle, poke the shapes all over being careful to avoid the stick. This will adhere the 2 shapes together. Be sure to poke as close to the stick as possible without actually hitting the stick. This should hold your stick onto the shape. If you are concerned about it staying in place you could apply some craft glue before applying the second shape.
Stand back and admire your handy work!
A few tips.
The felting needle is VERY sharp and contains barbs along the shaft. It is best not to poke yourself with it if at all possible. It is painful and may bleed a bit.
If you use a eucalyptus seed pod for your finial I recommend coating it in beeswax after you are finished. The pods can be very fragrant. If you like the smell, great, if not, coat with wax.
Alternatively you could skip the whole needle part of this project and “wet felt” the shape. To wet felt you would use the same wool roving but instead of poking it with a needle you would submerge it in warm soapy water the rub until the fibers are interwoven. This is a great method to try with the kids who are to young for needles.
Relax, experiment, it’s just a magic wand. The child who receives it doesn’t know what it’s “supposed” to look like. They’ll love it no matter what.
Thank you, Elizabeth! There is just something so magical about it all.
"Relax, experiment. It's just a magic wand."
And with that, our series comes to an end.
The end ... of the beginning ...
Happy (Magical) New Year