Wet Felting: The Tiny Birdhouse

January 14th, 2011 § 9 comments

The Tiny BirdhouseLet me just start by saying that this is not fine sewing.  In fact, you’ll want to skip this post if you have aspirations toward achieving perfection.  The Tiny Birdhouse is the most satisfying project for both kids and grownups, since it really begins with a mistake and there is really no way to mess up the outcome.  It’s not unlike making lemonade out of lemons.  Really, the only thing you’ll need for this project is a medium-weight 100% wool sweater (or two), some thread and a needle.  Grab the laundry from the kids rooms and your own and add the sweater to the batch.  Wash and dry on normal.  The sweater will be slightly smaller and thicker (if you’re like me, you already happen to have several of these tiny, thick sweater casualties on hand due to prior hard knocks with the washer).  Easy, right?  You’ve felted the sweater.  Now the fabric can be cut.

Fabric Pattern: BirdhouseAnd now for the tiny birdhouse.  To form the base and roof of the house, you will need to cut the felted wool into the above shapes (my long rectangular pieces are about 2 in by 3 in).

And now on to stitching.

  1. Cut a small circle out of one of the triangular-topped rectangles.
  2. Stitch the inner edges of the circle.  I use a chain stitch for this.
  3. Using the square piece as a base, stitch bottoms and then sides of the walls.
  4. Stitch the roof sides together.
  5. Then, stitch the roof to the sides.  Project complete.

Few things make me happier than discovering a project that takes little preparation, doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, and, upon completion, runs little risk of being thrown away by other family members.  Display it proudly on your mantle, or hand it to a deserving friend.  This is now one of our go-to after-homework projects—after choosing a few colors from our felted sweater bin, my young design team drafts the plan and takes the plunge—I am commonly appointed Ms. Scissoruser, Madame Knot, or Dr. Needlethreader.  Also, this a great girls-night-in project with close friends on a wintry night.  Even those chronically un-crafty friends will be inspired if tiny, thick sweaters are united with a full wine bottle and candlelight.  Most importantly, the quirkier the outcome, the better.

If you’ve polished your sweater felting techniques and now consider yourself an accomplished Tiny Birdhouse maker, I strongly encourage you to explore other projects using the felted sweater like SwittensSweater Mice and a Superhero Outfit.  Sometime these may come in handy.

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§ 9 Responses to Wet Felting: The Tiny Birdhouse"

  • Minty Pea Todd says:

    Looking good Mossy Mossy. Unfortunately/Fortunately I’ve got loads of destroyed sweaters (washed/dried/moth food). Maybe I’ll fet welt them.

  • Marcie says:

    Minty Pea, your ideas about fet welting are unique and I’ll look into this as well. Sounds interesting–thank you for your insightful comment!

  • Anushka Paris-Carter says:

    Dear Mossy Mumma,
    Please keep posting activities to do with the small ones. This information is beyond useful. It can stop fights, refocus and redirect a mood, calm a tangled child and entertain a bored one. Works for adults too.

    Yours awaiting instruction,

    Tea at 3.

  • […] for sweater felting tips, see previous Mossy tutorials on wool sweater felting (Swittens, Tiny Birdhouse or Sweater […]

  • Isobel says:

    Do you make them larger and hang them outside in sheltered places for small birds?

  • Spinningacres says:

    Great idea. Can’t wait to get started!

  • Pat says:

    These can be made to be used as actual birdhouses, as the felted wool is naturally water-repellent. I’ve seen them in the shapes of birds, etc. As long as there’s a hole in one side, birds will use them as houses, shelters, etc.

  • Anonymous says:

    this looks like so much fun! Diane

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