Introduction: How to Make a Magic Wool Rainbow Fairy
The colourful appearance of this fairy is particularly appealing to children. Synthetically dyed wool will give particularly bright and contrasting shades, as seen in the photo above. If you prefer more delicate shades, you can use plant-dyed wool instead!
Note that for clarity, the photos used in this tutorial show wool of a single colour. Each step details the specific colours that have been used for the rainbow fairy pictured, but feel free to use your imagination to create any colour combination you wish!
Rainbow Fairy tutorial taken from Magic Wool Fairies, 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.
- Wool roving of any skin tone
- Red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple merino wool
- Orange-yellow merino wool for the hair
- Pipe-cleaner, 15 cm (6 in) long
- Household sponge as a felting pad
- Various sizes of sewing and embroidery needles
- Felting needles, fine or medium
- Yellow sewing thread
- Drop-shaped rhinestones
- Rhinestone glue
Step 1: Making the Head
You need a skin-coloured wool ball with a diameter of about 2.5 cm (1 in).
Using only small amounts of wool each time, wind a ball consisting of several layers. By puncturing the ball a few times with the felting needle the individual layers cannot slip apart and the ball will feel firmer. Repeat this process until the ball has the desired diameter (img 1).
It is essential that the ball is not too soft. If pressure is applied, the ball may only give a little, as in the example on the left of the second image, but it shouldn’t be too squishy (img 2). If needs be, you can use a small polystyrene ball for the inner kernel at first.
Create a tied-off strand of your skin-coloured wool by winding a tiny amount of wool fibres firmly around the middle of a strand of wool (img 3). This strand should be 15-20 cm (6-8 in) long, and not too thick.
Lay the ball onto the tied-off strand of wool (img 4), then wrap the strand of wool tightly around the wool ball (img 5) and wind a small amount of wool fibres firmly a few times around the neck (img 6). The tying-off spot has to be exactly at the top of the head. Make sure the wool fibres covering the face are spread out smoothly and evenly without folds.
Step 2: Attaching the Arms
Lay the pipe-cleaner around the finished head by bending it once around the strand of wool below the neck and pulling tightly so it cannot slip. The arms created this way should both be of equal length (img 1).
Now you can wind wool around the hands and arms. To do this, take another thin strand of skin-coloured wool. Start at one end and after about 5 mm (¹⁄₄ in) bend the end of the pipe-cleaner to make the hand (img 2).
Wind another strand of wool around the arm to cover it completely and evenly. The pipe-cleaner must not show through anywhere, especially not at the hands. If necessary, take a small amount of skin-coloured wool to add some windings here or there. Repeat the process for the other arm.
Wind the wool around the trunk crosswise (img 3). Always finish winding the last fibre ends tightly around.
Step 3: Making the T-shirt
Starting at the wrist, wind a thin layer of wool around one arm. Image 1 shows this in white wool, but for the Rainbow Fairy use yellow. The little hand stays pink. Wind three to four thin layers of wool around the whole arm. Make sure the layers get thicker towards the upper arm to achieve a natural shape.
Repeat the process with the other arm, this time with green wool.
Carefully wind some wool (any colour will do, as it will be covered by the dress) crosswise around the trunk (img 2). Always make sure that the strand of wool does not get twisted and that it is wound evenly and tightly.
Image 3 above shows the finished trunk in white wool. Your Rainbow Fairy should have one yellow sleeve, one green sleeve, and the trunk in either green or yellow.
Step 4: Making the Rainbow Dress
To prepare the wool for the dress, lay it out in the order of the rainbow. Take strands of wool (about 30 cm, 12 in long) of the appropriate colours and lay them beside each other on the table. Overall, the rainbow-
coloured strand of wool made in this way should be approximately the same thickness as wool roving (an appropriately-sized piece of wool roving is shown in image 1, above).
For clarity, the images above show these steps using a single coloured wool strand. You will be using the rainbow strand you just created.
With your fingers, create an opening in the middle of the rainbow wool strand. Image 2 shows how this looks with a single coloured wool strand. Now put the head through this opening (img 3).
Now lay the rainbow strand of wool around the centrally positioned figure and pull down tightly (img 4).
Bind off the waistline with a strand of red wool (img 5). To do this, the figure has to be held quite tightly, so the proportions turn out correctly in the end and the wool does not slip. Ensure the individual colours are arranged evenly around the fairy and secure lightly with a felting needle.
Step 5: Adding Hair
Again, for clarity, the images above show these steps with a pink dress and white hair. For your Rainbow Fairy, you will have a rainbow dress and yellow-orange hair (or indeed, any colour combination you desire!)
Lay a yellow-orange strand of wool – which should not be too thin – closely around the head and, starting from the middle, fix it carefully in place with the felting needle (img 1-4 above).
It is important to pay attention to the hair line, so on the one hand the fairy does not look like she has a ‘receding brow’ and on the other hand her face is still visible under the hair. Then shape the hair by carefully using the needle all around the head (img 5), making sure you don't push the felting needle right through to the face!
Step 6: Details and Decoration
Scatter sparkling raindrops over the fairy’s dress. With rhinestone glue the decorative drops can be glued to the fairy accurately and without drips. If decorative drop-shaped stones are not available, plain round rhinestones will also look nice.
This fairy has a twisted wreath made with rainbow- coloured wool (see second image above). Lay the wreath around the head, tie a knot and carefully attach it to the hair. The colourful strands of wool hang like a veil over the hair at the back of the head.