What we want is to see the child in pursuit of knowledge, and not knowledge in pursuit of the child. ~George Bernard Shaw
Preparing for Martinmas: Felted Lanterns
So today was a perfectly fall day, cold, wet, and rainy. A good day to stay inside and get some things done, which for the most part happened. After lunch, my oldest asked for a craft project. I suggested some things but he shrugged them off. I asked him what he wanted to do and he asked if we could make our lanterns for next Friday’s lantern walk. I agreed but it was then revealed that he was actually listening last week when I was talking about different ways we could make our lanterns this year. I had mentioned felting a lantern and this is what he wanted to do. So, taking inspiration from my friend Fiona, we brought out our wool rovings and got to work.
I will not pretend to be anything even close to an expert at felting, so I suggest if you are new to wet felting you find help here or just google it and there are tons of sights that come up.
We used a bit of double bubble insulation stuff to use as our pattern/resist. I made it about 2in bigger than the jar we were using for the inside. Then to make it a bit easier for the littles, I used some pre-felt to wrap the resist so that we had a secure base to build on. You can just wrap it in roving or batting but I had some pre-felt kicking around so I used that. Then we set to designing.
J did his own and I worked on N’s. He was into his cars and didn’t really feel like helping. What is really great about this is nothing is set until you start felting. J changed his picture/design about 4 times before getting it just right. It is perfect for kids as they get to play and experiment before anything becomes final. At one point though, I had to remind him that we did in fact have to start felting if we wanted to eat supper that night. So we added a bit of hot water, some soap, some bubble wrap and away we went.
Now, my son has a bit of trouble with patience and this is a wonderful exercise in it. After gently pressing on our creations for about 10 minutes we could finally begin “having fun” as J says. This means we rub with the bubble wrap or our hands and really get the soap going. We had so much fun, N decided he wanted to help as well. I should mention that this is a fantastic craft for cold and flu season as you spend the whole time with warm soapy hands!
After a while, we cut out the resists and rolled up the shapes into a log of bubble wrap. The little ones wanted to help, but that only lasted about a minute.
Then I took over as you really need to work the last little bit. After 10 minutes or so of hard work I revealed our finished product. They were beautiful. I rinsed them and sewed on a ribbon handle. I made the handles quite long to avoid the heat from the candle while holding them. Then I inserted a glass mason jar and put a tea light candle in the bottom. I think I will put a drop or two of beeswax to fix the candle in for next week.
The boys were really anxious to see them lit so I waited a bit until the sun was setting to light them. It wasn’t really dark enough but dinner was calling so this was the best I could get.
Oh they are so beautiful! I can’t wait to see them in the darkness glowing with their soft light as we walk through our neighborhood next week.
We are also going to be making two lanterns from our watercolour paintings next week. More on those then. What a great day, I think I may just keep these up for the entire holiday season.