Last year was the first big winter for my two-year-old and it was a big hit. We had record-breaking snow and spent many afternoons playing in it. He regularly talks about the fun we had last winter and the anticipation of snow this year is almost too much for him! So I thought, why wait for the first snowfall when we can make our own indoor snow people?
Making felted snow people is easy, fun and something you can share with your little ones.
Hot or warm water
Gentle dish soap
Sewing needle and thread
Scraps of felt sheets, fabric and yarn
Small buttons (optional)
It’s difficult to find wool roving in my area so I usually order it online. Two of my favorite sources are The Yarn Tree and Jenny Fields Fiber on Etsy You can find small amounts of wool roving and felting needles at JoAnn’s Fabric.
Set up your felting station by placing a few towels on your work surface. Fill up a big bowl with hot water and a few drops of soap. You want to see some suds but you don’t need a lot of soap. If you are creating with small children, make sure the water isn’t too hot for them. Warm water will also felt your wool; it just may take a little longer.
There are three things that you need when hand-felting with wool: hot or warm water, soap and agitation.
Take the roving and form a ball in your hands. Spread out the fibers and continue wrapping into a ball until it’s the size you like. Remember that as you felt the wool it is going to shrink at least 2 inches in diameter from which you started. So keep in mind that your ball of wool will start off a lot larger than your finished piece.
Place both hands around the ball, as if you were forming clay.
Gently press your hands together around the ball as you dip it into the hot water. Start to roll the ball around vigorously.
Place a couple drops of soap on your hands to get them nice and smooth so the ball of wool moves around easily. Continue dipping the ball in water, lifting it up, squeezing and rolling it, over and over again. You can stop anytime to refill your hot water as needed. Continue forming the ball until it’s the texture and size that you like. This may take ten minutes or so. The balls don’t have to be perfect. I kept them a little rough and uneven because it reminded me more of snow.
Continue this process until you have the amount of balls you need for your snow people.
My little boy loves playing in water so this is a perfect project for him. He enjoyed making the balls and collecting sticks for the arms. After making a white snowman, he decided he wanted a blue and purple one, too. Let your kids have fun using their imaginations. And part of the fun of felting is playing with the soap and water – let them enjoy splashing and getting a little wet. The great part about this project is the clean-up is so easy!
Squeeze out the balls and rinse them under warm water to wash out the soap. Set them aside to dry. (Although I’m usually too excited and continue adding embellishments while they are slightly wet and they turn out great.)
Using a thread and needle, sew the balls together.
Now, let your creativity out as you embellish them. I used black roving for the eyes. To do this, take a small amount of roving or yarn and place it directly on the ball. Using your felting needle, repeatedly jab the dry fibers until the eye is attached. Please note: a felting needle is created especially for felting, and helps you bind the dry fibers together. They are extremely sharp, so use with caution and be very mindful when using them with children.
I created a carrot nose with roving by rolling it into a worm shape in the hot, soapy water. Then I used dry roving to wrap around the base of the carrot nose and used my felting needle to jab the fibers into place. You can also use pre-cut felt to create the shapes for the face.
To attach the sticks, I used an X-acto knife to create a small hole on each side of the body. I’m sure a small metal knitting needle would also work. Then, slide the stick into place, and wrap the base of the stick with dry white roving, again using the felting needle to jab the fibers into place.
Continue adding embellishments – like hats, scarves or mittens – using the roving, pre-cut felt scraps or fabric. If you know how to knit, try knitting some mini scarves and teach your kids, too. (If interested, check out these “how to knit” tutorials.)
These snow people are great decorations or gifts. Making them may not be as exciting as the first snowfall, but they sure are a fun activity to do together. Let it snow!
Shannon Kinney-Duh is married to a lovely man, and the mother of two boys (2 1/2 and a newborn). She’s an artist, yoga teacher & self-discovery coach and she considers herself an explorer of life. One of her favorite activities is creating with her son. You can learn more about her by visiting her blog Free Spirit Knits.