Painting with Wool

wool art
Needle felted yellow guy

My youngest daughter’s school, l’école Marc Chagall in Tel Aviv hosted an art fair and I was one of the guest artists to come in and teach several classes with the students. Parent and community artists came to the school to teach students their specialty medium;  sculpture, oil painting, life drawing, photography, the art of video, intro. to classic movies, sculpting with clay, collage, painting with wool, pastel drawing, oil pastel drawing, fruit and veggie scultpures and drawing with words and music were all taught.  All the student work was displayed at the end of the “studio period” in a wonderful art exhibit, hosted by the principal Phillipe Zarka.

painting with wool
Wool painting of a religious Jew

The students were not familiar with working with wool, needle felting or painting with wool, so they were introduced to a new art medium and had the opportunity to practice their English all at the same time! I had the students “paint with wool” because I thought this technique would be easier than 3-D needle felting more suitable for a larger age-range of students. Painting with wool involves a piece of flat wool as a canvas, a felting needle and colored, coarse wool, such as shetland or New Zealand fast felting batts. I ordered my materials from this website (where I found great wool, a large variety of needles and great prices:

painting with wool
Making a flat felted "wool canvas"

The first step to painting with wool was making wool canvases that the children would “paint” on. I laid out white, wool, tufts all in one direction, then a second layer on top of the first layer with the tufts of wool laid out in the opposite direction (laid out as you would in wet felting). I then needle felted the wool flat with a large handle with 10 needles. I turned the large wool canvas over and needle felted the other side, I did this several times. I applied a third layer of wool tufts and needle felted again. (You can also wet-felt a large wool canvas if you prefer) When the wool canvas was strong and “fabric-like”, I cut it into many squares for the children to “paint on”.

needle felting with kids
"Painting" on the wool canvas

Once the wool is cut into squares, it is ready for the children to apply colored pieces of wool, felted into the wool with a felting needle. I taught the older grades (4th, 5th and 6th grades) as I felt they could deal with the sharp needles the best. I explained how to handle the needles and how not to break them. In all 3 classes only 2 people stuck themselves with needles, one of which was a teacher and only 1 needle was broken out of 50 students! Everyone enjoyed this craft and I look forward to teaching more students and a larger variety of grades at next years art fair.

By the way, for you needle felters out there, this is a great activity to do with your own children with your wool scraps.

painting with wool
The children's artwork


children painting with wool
Painting with wool at Le Ecole Marc Chagall

Each child was supplied by a sponge (felting surface), a wool canvas, a felting needle and handfuls of many colors of wool. I showed the children how to outline with a strip of wool and I pointed out the graphic paintings compared to the watercolor looking paintings.

painting with wool
Emili's class paints with wool

Needle Felted Finger Puppets Tutorial

finger puppets
The puppy licked my nose!

Finger puppets help bring out the imagination in our children; the imagined worlds and characters of children are fascinating to watch! With this simple tutorial, you can make animals, monsters, aliens, sea creatures, people or whomever your imagination might introduce to you. Adults and children alike,please be careful with the felting needles, as they are very sharp, please supervise your children while felting.

playing with finger puppets
piggy tail

The secret to needle felting is SHAPES! You determine the shapes that make up an object, felt each one and sew and/or felt them together-Voila-easy as pie! I will show you step-by step how to make the frog finger puppet in this tutorial, but there is a shapes guide that can be printed for the cow-pig-rat-frog and dog at the end of the tutorial to help you determine the shapes that make up the other animals.

figer puppets
pig, cow, rat, frog and needle felted finger puppets

Continue reading “Needle Felted Finger Puppets Tutorial”

“It’s so hot outside”, we all moaned together!

sunset on the Tel Aviv beach

Summer is grinding on at our house; toys, Barbies, crayons and swimming goggles are flying around my head as I sit at my sewing machine, my kids are whining I’m bored and I’m trying to think creatively to keep them busy.

flip flop feet

The girls’ new game while we’re driving around town is waving at everyone that will look at them! Most people ignore their weird, friendly greetings and some smile. I just shrug my shoulders and shake my head as I drive because I can’t pretend they belong to someone else like I usually do. Even though their frantic waving at stangers is fairly embarassing, the belly laughs I hear from the back seat make me chuckle too.

summer activities
summer swimming

I’ve been concentrating on tidying up the house (which was ignored the last 5 years that I had my store). The girls and I have been washing walls, organizing drawers, cleaning everything, making new bed curtains and table cloths, dusting things that haven’t been dusted for 5 years and throwing out piles of junk. The downstairs-storeroom (which I called the troll hole) was filled from with boxes, sewing machines and fabric from the store; it has finally been turned back into a useable playroom again. Really, this is a huge achievement because you used to have to climb over things to get to the couch to watch the t.v. which was framed by “stuff”, you could barely walk down there after we unloaded everything left from the store. I was supposed to tidy up this area a long time ago so I could work downstairs, but I couldn’t bring myself to work without a window and lots of light, so I took over the kitchen table as my little work space. 

messing storeroom
(Before) storeroom/family room

I wanted to get all this done before we take off for our vacation in August. The trip in August should supply me with endless photo opportunities at which time you’ll see where we are when I post some of the photos on my blog.

Emili in the pool

Creative summer kid activities include:
1. The girls and I planted our baren window boxes that were filled with dead plants and twigs with herbs and flowers.
2. I painted a small wall in the kitchen with chalk board paint which has proved to be a new “fun” place in the house. I was worried about the dark green paint being “too much”, but with all the art covering it, it’s o.k.
3. The girls and I attempted to make our own sushi one evening with a kit. I’ve been watching the Japanese sushi makers at the restauant down the street and thought “that looks like fun, and much easier than one would think”. We were deliciously successful!
4. Trips to the pool and the beach in the evening (armed with a bottle of vinegar to combat the jellyfish stings.)

fun for kids
kitchen wall chalkboard

We have seen quite a few visiting friends and relatives we haven’t seen in a while, that’s always fun! Stay tuned for photos of our vacation, followed by new needle felting tutorials of some cute (Waldorf style) toys.

summer in Tel Aviv
sprinkler park in Tel Aviv


Needle Felting Hooty Owl Tutorial

needle felting owls
Needle Felted Hooty Owls
There are many different kinds of owls, each cuter than the next. (Barn Owl, Screech Owl, Great Horned Owl, Snowy Owl…) 216 species in all! As a needle felting project, these cute birds are easy to make, as a Waldorf style toy, they are fun to play with, find out for yourself!
three little owls
Emili holds the Hooty Owls in nests

Edible Art Project for Kids

children's kitchen art project
Egg and tomato mushroom centerpiece

I‘m always looking for child friendly projects that my girls can make; this one takes place in the kitchen. These cute little mushrooms are made from eggs and tomatoes! It’s an easy thing to make with a little adult supervision, adorable and the kids can eat them when they’re finished. The deviled egg version can be served at dinner parties as a festive appetizer.

Egg and Tomato Mushroom Recipe
4 boiled eggs
4 medium sized tomatoes
mustard (optional)
salt and pepper (optional)
wheat grass or lettuce leaves (optional)

Simple version
1. Boil and peel the eggs, cut off the tip of the widest part so they’ll stand up.
2. Cut off the rounded ends of the tomato and hollow them out.
3. Position the eggs in the wheat grass or a platter and put the tomato halves on top.
4. Dot mayonnaise onto the tomatos with a toothpick.

Deviled egg version
1. Boil and peel the eggs, cut off the tip of the widest part so they’ll stand up-put cooked egg yolks into a bowl.
2. Cut off the rounded ends of the tomato and hollow them out.
3. Mix the cooked egg yolks, 2 Tablespoons of mayo, 2 Tablespoons of mustard, a dash of salt and a dash of pepper together. Fill the eggs with this mixture.
3. Position the eggs in the wheat grass or a platter and put the tomato halves on top.
4. Dot mayonnaise onto the tomatoes with a toothpick.

great kid's project
It's an egg, it's a tomato, it's a mushroom!

Putting small cherry tomato halves on top of a cheese sticks also make tall, skinny edible mushrooms.

egg and tomato mushroom detail
Eggs and tomatoes that look like a mushroom are a simple, healthy kids' snack

I’d like to thank Neroli, the natural food market on Shabazi street in Neve Tzedek for giving me the remains of their wheat grass. I used the square of wheat grass as a prop for my mushrooms, but after the photo shoot, I planted it outside in a big planter. I think the planted wheat grass looks like a mini lawn. If you put the wheat grass square upside down in your garden or planter, it will serve as a great compost for the soil.

By the way, these (real) red spotted mushrooms in the wild can be poisonous to eat, but they are a delight to see.

mushrooms basking in the sun
Edible mushrooms (eggs and tomatoes) on a spring day.