Introduction: How to Make a Magic Wool Autumn Fairy

This gorgeous autumn fairy would make a perfect addition to any autumnal celebration - why not add to your Thanksgiving centrepiece?

If you've never tried felting or working with magic wool before, this tutorial might be a little advanced. Now we're all for jumping in at the deep end, but you can always try out our Fluffy Bunnies project first if you'd like a bit of practice!

Autumn Fairy tutorial taken from Magic Wool Mermaids, Fairies and Nymphs, by Christine Schafer. Available now from florisbooks.co.uk, Amazon and all good craft book stockists. Make sure to visit our Magic Wool Pinterest board too.

Step 1: What You'll Need

This beautiful autumn fairy is made from unspun sheeps wool - or "magic wool" - which can be found in a variety of colours in many craft shops and online.

For the fairy:

  • Skin coloured wool for the head
  • Pink wool for the top
  • Wine red wool for the dress
  • One pipe cleaner, about 15cm long
  • Dark brown wool for the hair
  • Green silk fibres
  • Small glass beads in different sizes
  • Decorative moss
  • Rhinestone glue or craft glue
  • Felting needle

For the stand:

  • Wood or bamboo skewers
  • Circles of wood or wooden wheels
  • Pliers, cutter or small saw
  • Wood glue or craft glue
  • If necessary, hand drill

Step 2: Making the Head

Start by making the head: you will need a head approximately 2½ cm (1 in) diameter for a large fairy. The easiest way to do this is to wind a small amount of wool into a tight ball, then wind more layers around it. This is the same principle as winding a ball of yarn. Poke the felting needle into the ball repeatedly to stop the layers slipping, and repeat until you've achieved the desired size (figure 1).

Place the ball on to a tied-off strand of wool. The strand of wool should be between 15 cm (6 in) and 20 cm (8 in) long and not too thick. About a quarter of the wool roving should be enough. Wind the strand of wool tightly around the ball and wind some wool fibres firmly around the neck several times. The tied-off spot should be at the very top of the head. Make sure the wool fibres covering the face are spread out smoothly and evenly (figures 2, 3, 4 and 5).

TOP TIP: Even with a pattern, it can be difficult to make an exact-sized ball for the head. To make it easier, I give my students an empty sticky tape roll with an inner circumference the correct size for the inner ball of a fairy head. The firm wool ball should easily fit through the hole.

Step 3: Attach the Arms

To attach the arms, lay the pipe cleaner around the finished head. Bend the wire once around the strand of wool below the neck and pull as tightly as possible so that it cannot slip any more. Wind around the torso crosswise repeatedly with a thin strand of wool (figure 7). The arms created in this way should be of equal length (figure 6). Now you can wind wool around the hands and arms.

Take a very thin strand of skin-coloured wool and start winding at one end of the pipe cleaner. Bend the wire back after approximately 1 cm (½ in) to make the hand. Take a further strand and wind completely up the arm, evenly and smoothly. Make sure you cannot see the pipe cleaner through the wool, particularly at the hands. If necessary, wind around any exposed parts once more with a small tuft of wool. Repeat for the other arm (figures 8 and 9).

Wind crosswise around the body again. Wind firmly and right to the last piece of the wool.

You can vary the head size and arm length, depending on the desired size of the finished figure.

Step 4: Make the Top

Firstly, dress the figure with a top.

Starting at the wrist, wind a thin layer of pink coloured wool around the arm. Leave out the hands (figure 10). Wind three to four thin layers of wool around the entire arm. Make the layers thicker towards the top to give the arm a realistic shape. Repeat on the other side. Carefully wind around the body crosswise. Make sure the strand of wool does not twist and is wound evenly and firmly around the body (figures 11 and 12). Wind green silk fibres crosswise
around the arms.

Shape the entire figure with the felting needle and make small corrections if necessary.

Step 5: Make the Dress

To make the dress, use about 30 cm (12 in) of wine red wool roving. Different types of wool can vary in thickness. If the roving is too sparse, you may have to take a double layer so that the figure does not look too thin. Thick roving can be reduced in volume a little. To do this, pull away a section of the wool over the entire length.

Make an opening in the centre of the wool strand (figure 13). Push the head through this opening (figure 14). Arrange the strand of wool over the shoulders and over the torso and pull the wool down tightly. Use another strand of wool to bind off the waist (figure 15). You will need to hold the figure quite tightly so that the proportions turn out correctly and the wool does not slip. You can use the felting needle to make the waistband a little tighter, attach loose strands of wool, and correct the proportions and shape of the dress (figures 16 to 18). If necessary, you can also shorten the dress. Finally, don’t forget to bend the arms into a natural shape!

Step 6: Add Details and Decorations

Decorate the fairy’s dress with silk fibres, decorative moss strands, small wool flowers and glass beads. Felt the wool and silk to the dress and glue the moss and beads in place with tiny drops of craft glue or rhinestone glue.

Make the hairstyle using dark brown wool roving and add a hair wreath made out of small flowers, green tendrils and beads.

If you want, you can make a basket full of harvest products. Rub different coloured small tufts of wool between your fingers and work with the felting needle until you have made small apples, pears or pumpkins.

Top Tip: You can make beautiful shiny effects with fine coloured silk fibres. If you do not have any silk, you can use green wool nubs instead.

Step 7: Attach Your Autumn Fairy to a Stand

To make a stand for your autumn fairy, use skewers which you can find in any supermarket. Wood
or craft glue and small wooden wheels in a variety of sizes can be purchased in craft shops and DIY shops. Wheels already have a hole drilled in the centre and making the stand with them is very easy. Florists sell simple wood slices, sometimes with the bark still attached. The wood is dry and they are inexpensive, but you will need to drill a hole through the centre. You can also saw your own wood segments, if you have the tools and skills!

Shorten the skewer to the desired length with a cutter or pliers and glue it vertically to the hole in the wood slice. Allow the glue to dry fully before placing a figure on the stand.

For small figures, make your stand about 2–3 cm (1 in) diameter; stick length about 5–6 cm (2 in). Large figures need a stand about 4–5 cm (1–2 in) diameter, stick length about 10–12 cm (4–5 in).

To attach your autumn fairy to the stand, fold back the skirt, fan it out slightly and push the skewer into the firm part of the upper body (figure 20). Then carefully arrange the wool of the skirt around the stand until the stand is not visible any more.

Step 8: Finished!

In autumn the fruits of the earth are harvested, so I have made this fairy a dark burgundy red, in celebration of the autumnal grape harvest. You could make your autumn fairy in yellow, orange or green to tie in with your colour scheme!

Autumn Fairy tutorial taken from Magic Wool Mermaids, Fairies and Nymphs, by Christine Schafer. Available now from florisbooks.co.uk, Amazon and all good craft book stockists. Make sure to visit our Magic Wool Pinterest board too.

Comments

author
rajiscrafthobby (author)2017-02-01

wowww.....awsomeeee

author
58182a634c774e5 (author)2016-02-21

Thật là tuyệt vời

author
eeVee (author)2014-10-10

Absolutely Beautiful

author
FlorisBooks (author)eeVee2014-10-13

Thanks for commenting eeVee, we're glad you like her!

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