Seeing Spots

Seeing Spots

Last month I visited the San Diego Aquarium and a couple of tide pools while seeing relatives and touring the area.  I’m always fascinated with the beautiful creatures from under the sea.  When I returned home, I did some more research and came across the Blue Spotted Ribbontail Ray.  You can read more  about them here:

You can also Google them and see some really beautiful pictures.

I have seen other Stingrays in Sausalito, California, but nothing this beautiful.  Of course, the colors made this guy pretty attractive to me.  I thought it would be a fun, challenging project in felt.

Although I know the body is fairly flat, I started out with making a resist.


The eyes were a challenge because they have an unusual shape with a cutout (spiracle) behind them.  I  made tight ball which encased a glass eye and a rock for the spiracle portion, then covered it with the yellow merino.


I used one layer of corriedale as my base on each side, then used a white batt on the underside. To give the back some height in the middle I added extra layers. Once I was satisfied, I attached the eyes and a piece of a batt to attach a tail.


The tail was next. I used a corriedale core and covered it with a batt, then rolled it into shape.  I tried to use roving to make the blue stripes, but the rolling moved it around to much, so I striped it off.


The tail also includes the stinger near the end. The tail is actually one and a half times the length of the body.

I had to do some studying of the anatomy to try to get it close to reality.  The nostrils, mouth, nasal flaps and gills are underneath.  I didn’t add claspers or pelvic fins.

Next was decorating.  It took a long time to cut out the spots from handmade prefelt in various sizes. I  placed a batt over the top taking care not to overlap to the underside which would stay white.  Then came the spots.


There was a lot of rubbing before rolling.  I used a gray roving to highlight the mouth, nostrils and gills on the underside.

Once the felting was near complete, I cut out the resist, the gills, mouth then finished the fulling. The eyes came last. They were a bit tricky. The glass bead and rock had moved during the felting.  Removing the rock took a little  doing and I ended up using a tweezers. A little needlefelting helped finish off the eyes and put stripes on the tail.



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I wanted to show the ray in motion so I put two plastic bottles under the flaps while it dried, but even after drying as soon as I layed it down the ray went flat. Plan B was to use Modge Podge to hold the shape.  It did the trick, but I wasn’t happy it remained white.

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Here he is hanging on the wall near my work area.  It’s hard to tell, but the wall is a light blue.


I sometimes wonder why I come up with these types of projects. I did enjoy the learning process though.  What challenges have you had lately?





33 thoughts on “Seeing Spots

  1. I like the way you talked us through from inspiration to completion. Why do the project? Because it’s challenging, fun and educational!
    The Ray is fabulous, and as a piece of wall art it makes a lovely change from a picture.

    1. Thanks Lyn! I always enjoy finishing a challenging project. I felt the wall was the best place to display it rather than sitting on a shelf.

    1. Thanks Galina! I’m sorry about the pictures. WordPress keeps changing things. I didn’t think to check them.

    2. Galina, I changed the settings so you should be able to click and enlarge the photos now.

  2. He is just wonderful. The ‘ayes have it’ (this pun may be lost on our friends across the pond, being a term used after a vote in Parliament ) but those watchful, prominent eyes are fabulous.

    He’d be at home on the bathroom wall, but beware that tail! 😉

    1. Thanks Judith! Yes, the eyes were a fascinating feature and a challenge to do. :-). The bathroom wall is a great idea, I’ll have to see if I have enough wall space in one of them.

  3. Very nice experiment! It’s interesting to see how things turned out, and how you had to change methods in the middle of the process, and advance from there.

    Where will this creature’s permanent exhibit place be? I like koffipot’s idea of the bathroom 🙂

    1. Thanks Leonor! I’ll have to check out the wallspace in our bathrooms. I’m not sure he will fit. If not, he can take up permanent residence where he is. I may have to add some more sea creatures to that wall then.

    2. Ooh, you have to make one of those tentacle-y things with the shells! I’ve no idea of their proper names, but I saw someone make them the other day out of knitting and felting and it looked amazing 😀

    3. I’m not sure what tenacly things you’re referring to. An octopus? Or anemones?

    4. None of those 😀 They have a hard and spiral shell, but also have tentacles – so imagine a snail, but instead of the soft creature with antennae coming out of it, it’s tentacles instead. That’s the best I can explain 😁

    5. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like that. Have you been watching syfy movies? 🙂

    6. Haha, no! They’re real sea creatures, I assure you. I just have no idea what they’re called… I’ll try and find their names 😊

    7. You are diligent. I’m glad you found it. I was beginning to have nightmares. 🙂 I’ll check it out.

    8. I literally searched for squid in shell” and that’s how I found it 😀 Sweet dreams, my friend 😂

  4. This was such a cool project, Marilyn! And your perseverance paid off. Why not keep it hanging over your work place for inspiration? Can’t wait to see what you come up with next.

    1. Thanks Cathy! It’s actually on the wall outside my paper room which I’m constantly in and out of. I’m not sure I’d want something hanging overhead. 🙂

  5. Great fun Marilyn – it’s always nice to challenge yourself. You just need to attach to the media file to get the photos to enlarge. You can edit each photo in your post to do that. Once you do it once, it will keep your settings and other posts you shouldn’t have to do it.

    1. Thanks Ruth! I made the change so the files should be clickable now.

  6. He’s fab Marilyn, keeping with the bathroom theme, I would be tempted to hang him on a shower door so you admire the wonderful details on his underside too.

    1. Thanks Teri! Great idea, I’m just not sure how my husband would react to having a sea creature watching! 🙂

    1. Yes, he is Carole. I’m not sure I’d want him swimming over my head in my sleep those stingers can be deadly. 🙂

    1. Thanks Zed! I left a couple of details out, but it works. He had to have a mouth and gills. 🙂

  7. He is great. I haven’t seen one like that . They always do the big grey/blue ones on TV shows. It would be great to hang it so you could see both sides since you did such a great job of his underside too.

    1. Thanks Ann! That’s a good idea, but the only way I can see doing that is hanging from the ceiling. I’ll have to think on that. Any suggestions?

    2. Not sure that I know how I do that, but I’ll think on it.

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