Cover It Up!
This is a guest post by Frances T. Frances is a member of the forum and wanted to share her method of felting a vessel to cover potted plants.
Since I love gardening and floral design I have been thinking of ways to use felted pieces in those hobbies. Right after I made my first Vessel I needed a container for a floral design and used it over an ugly pot to rave reviews. So I thought why not dress up potted plants that come in boring green plastic pots.
And then the list for uses started to grow – bread baskets, to hold fruit, utensils, mail, toiletries, etc. The fact that Pot Covers can be washed in mild soap and water and air-dried is a plus as well as being inexpensive to make. Plastic pots were a $1.00 each, roving and embellishments not more than $4.00 and if an electric polisher/buffer is used can be made quickly and easily.
After trying several ways to shape them that were difficult and cumbersome for me a tutorial was completed on constructing them using a flat resist and a form (Plastic Flower Pot). This Tutorial is intended for use by persons who have a basic knowledge of wet felting. Before starting, please review the following definitions as these terms are used throughout the instructions.
Layer of Roving – Wool roving that has been laid vertically and then horizontally constitutes one layer.
Template or Resist – Guide for laying out the roving in the desired shape and used to felt over. It keeps the two sides of the piece from felting together except for the edges.
Electric Polisher Buffer – Manufactured for polishing and buffing vehicle exteriors but works well as a felting tool. Always use with an electrical outlet with GFI Protection.
Lingerie Bag – A mesh bag used to place lingerie in when using a washing machine.
Produce Bag – a mesh bag, sometimes stretchy, that onions, potatoes or other produce is sold in.
Plastic Canvas – Plastic molded into a grid used in cross-stitch or needlepoint.
Shelf Liner – Use the type that is a mesh consistency not smooth.
Plastic Sheeting – Plastic that is sturdy enough to hold up to vigorous rubbing but also flexible enough to be rolled.
• 6 inch Plastic Pot without drain holes & no rolled top edge
• 2 to 3 oz. wool roving
• Plastic canvas
• Bubble Wrap
• Spray Bottle
• Dish Soap
• Shelf Liner
• Plastic Sheeting
• Yarn, Silk Hankies, Embroidery Floss etc. for embellishing
• Lingerie or Produce Bag
• Clothes Pins
• Electric Buffer
Note: These instructions are for using a buffer but the cover can be made by hand rubbing & rolling as is done in traditional wet felting. The buffer significantly speeds up the process.
Let’s get started –
1. Make Template – Plastic sheeting cut to 10 1⁄2 inches vertically by 8 1⁄2 inches horizontally with one vertical end curved. Use a round dish as a guide to make curves. (This is for a 6” Pot as pictured )
2. Set up – On work surface place shelf liner, then bubble wrap and then template. The shelf liner is to keep bubble wrap from sliding when working.
3. Felting Process
a. Place rows of roving vertically and horizontally on the template. Let some wisps of fiber lay over the edges of the template on the sides and bottom.
b. Place plastic canvas on roving
c. Wet with soapy water
d. Rub gently with hands except for the wisps laying over the edge of the template until roving just holds together.
e. Carefully lift plastic canvas pulling roving gently from canvas as necessary
f. Turn template and roving over and gently pull the wisps of fiber that were left over the edge onto this side of the template – to avoid the look of a seam keep the fibers to a minimum and smooth out completely.
g. Repeat steps a. through e. on this side of the template.
h. Add another layer of roving by completing steps a. through f. again so that there are 2 layers roving on each side.
4. Adding design
a. Put down another layer of roving (pale green in this example) and then add design or embellishments on top of the roving. Embellishments are bamboo fiber (green) and tussah silk (pale yellow).
b. Place the plastic canvas on design, wet and rub gently to set the design and then run the electric buffer over the piece for a couple of minutes.
c. Carefully lift plastic canvas pulling roving gently from canvas as necessary
d. Turn template and roving over and complete steps 4. a. and b. again.
e. Alternate between bubble wrap and the plastic canvas buff on both sides until the roving and embellishments are felted together.
f. Remove bubble wrap and plastic canvas and buff both sides directly on the roving. Caution: Make sure the design is set before completing this step. The cover should be completely felted now.
5. Forming the pot cover
a. Rinse the cover using warm water until the soap is removed.
b. Cut a narrow strip off the top (straight) edge.
c. Open the cover and remove the plastic template.
d. Pull the cover over the outside of the plastic pot. This may take some pulling and stretching depending on the wool blend used as different wool shrinks and felts differently. The key is to pull the cover up as tightly as possible over the top edge of the plastic pot smoothing out any loose spots and wrinkles. It should be smooth on the bottom with no wrinkles on the sides.
e. There will be excess felt at the top. Turn the cover over the inside edge of the pot. If the cover is loose in spots the hot water bath and dryer in the next steps should shrink it to fit.
f. Using clothes pins secure the top edge of the cover to the pot. This is very important as the pins hold the felt in place.
g. Place the pot in a mesh bag. Not fine mesh netting!! Make sure the bag is securely closed.
h. Run very hot water over the pot for about 2 minutes.
i. Place in dryer for about 15 minutes on heat setting.
j. Remove from dryer, take out of bag and let it finish drying on a cake cooling rack.
The completed pot –
Maybe I am “A Little Potted” …….
13 thoughts on “Cover It Up!”
Thank you Frances, what a fascinating way to make felt, a great alternative for anyone who finds rolling difficult 🙂 And fabulous pots too! Are they sturdy enough to be used as bowls if you remove the plastic plant pot insert after they come out of the dryer??
If a more dense wool batting is used yes but if a merino silk blend is used add another layer of roving before adding design. This will make a thicker sturdier felt. Do not furn the top edge down because the wool shrinks to the pot and it would then be difficult to remove the pot.
An alternative is to starch the finished pot which I have done – see the picture under welt felting then baby gift.
Hello Frances what a very detailed tutorial. Thanks. The pot covers turned out fantastic. Love them.
Excellent tutorial Frances! It’s always great to have new techniques in our felting toolbox. I will definitely give this a go. The pot covers are terrific.
A great idea for covering pots! But what’s to prevent the plastic pot from melting in the dryer? You did say 15 minutes in the dryer on heat?
The wet wool covering the pot gives protection from the heat and the pots are sturdy. Unless a dryer gets extremely hot it should not be a problem. Also check it after 5 minutes and if the dryer is very hot it may be completed to your satisfaction.
I like the photo with the labels that clearly shows what’s needed. Lovely tutorial and very pretty plant pot covers!
Yes, I thought that would help since the terminology for the supplies may be different in countries other than the US.
Great tutorial, Frances 🙂
The pot covers look great!
Thanks, Frances! May give that dryer technique a try sometime.
Great pot covers Frances. So much nicer than the ugly plastic ones.
Great! What kind of polisher buffer would you recommend Me to buy for Felting? Thanks!
The Black and Decker I use is one my hubby has had for 25+ years. I checked on Amazon.com and the Black and Decker WP900 6″ random orbit looks like it would do the job. You want a handle that is comfortable for you and a unit that is not too heavy. The WP900 one weighs 1 pound.per the specifications listed. Mine has a soft plastic base and I do not use any type of cover on it. Hope this helps.