‘Magic Mushrooms’ are one of the things that we make at our beginners felting classes.
The Elementals ‘Magic Mushroom’ is needle felted and this one (or one like it) can be found on my Folksy page for sale. We also sell kits for these or of course you could come along to our next felting class :-)but I thought it would be nice to show you how to make one for yourself.
1. What skills do you need?
To make our Magic Mushroom, you probably need some basic needle felting skills and to have an understanding of how the process works. This link gives you some great information and I’d urge you to practice on a few sample pieces first.
In our beginners class, we make three pieces – a flat piece to get used to using the needle, a ball to get used to working on a simple 3D shape and then a more advanced 3D piece and the mushroom works really well for this.
Needle felting unfortunately isn’t suitable for young children but encourage them to try wet felting – they’ll love it 🙂
WARNING: The needles used for this type of felting are very sharp and you always need to be careful to ensure the needle is pointed away from you at all times and safely housed in a ball of wool or its container when not being used.
One thing I find really useful is one of these – not sure what they’re called but you buy them in stationery shops and for felting, I find they really help protect my fingers when working on delicate pieces. I usually just wear one on the index finger of my left hand and it just gives you a little more protection.
2. What do you need?
- 2 x handfuls of white wool fibre (Merino is ideal)
- 1 x handful of red, brown, orange, etc. (anything ‘mushroomy’ in colour :-)) wool fibre (again Merino)
- A small bunch of grey or brown wool fibres for detailing the underside of the mushroom
- Some wool nepps or small amount of white wool for adding the ‘spot’ detailing to the top of the mushroom.
You’ll also need:
- 1 x felting needle
- 1 x sponge or similar surface for working on
- A table or suitable surface to work at. If you’re working on your knee then put a tray or solid object under the sponge to prevent the needle coming through.
3. Basic overview
You’re going to make the mushroom in three parts and as with all my felt pieces, I always start with the most difficult piece first – the gills on the underside of the mushroom.
You’ll then move on to make the top and once that’s complete, you’ll needle felt the top and underside together. You now know how big your mushroom is going to be so you can make the stem which you’ll then needle felt to the underside.
Lastly you’ll add the spots to the top and continue sculpting. Needle felting isn’t a quick process and you are probably looking at about 1.5 to 2 hours to make a basic mushroom with another hour of sculpting and finishing to get it the way you want it.
The great thing about needle felting is you can leave it and come back to it so you can just do a bit every night until its finished 🙂
4. Making the underside
You’re then going to use the needle to make a rough and flattish pancake shape, about 10cm in diameter.
Now start to form the gills on the underside of the mushroom by ‘pinching’ small sections of wool in a cross shape and needle felting below your fingers. This is quite tricky so take your time and be careful to pinch the fabric up and using the needle below your fingers to ensure you don’t catch them – as per the image below, finger protectors are ideal for this.
Once you’ve completed the cross in one direction, you need to continue with the diagonals adding the darker grey or brown wool fibre detailing as you go so you have eight diagonal lines radiating out from the centre.
Your finished piece will have reduced slightly in size and should be about 8cm in diameter.
WARNING: you need to be really careful when doing this and really attentive to where the needle and your fingers are.
5. Making the top
You make the top in a similar way.
Take a handful of the coloured wool fibre and tease it out, making a rough ball shape.
Use the needle to make a rough and flattish pancake shape, slightly bigger than your mushroom underside and slightly raised in the middle (like a mushroom).
You’ll see the starting and finishing size in the images so you need to remember to take the ‘shrinkage’ factor (the fact that as you needle felt, your finished piece reduces in size and increases in strength and structure) into account.
You now need to join the top and underside together.
Place the coloured mushroom top on the sponge and the white piece on top as per the images above. You’re going to pull the top up slightly and almost wrap it around the white underside.
The idea is to needle felt the two pieces together by using the needle along the dark lines of the gills, starting at centre and working outwards and working around the edges of the coloured top. The idea is to retain the 3D effect you’ve created on the underside by using the needle on the non raised parts.
Keep needle felting until you’re happy your two pieces are joined and keep an eye on the top to make sure it keeps its ‘mushroomy’ shape.
6. Making the stalk
To make the mushroom stalk you need to take the rest of your white merino and form it into a cylinder shape. You want one end thicker than the other as that will form your base. Felt the wool until you’re happy it can be attached – leave some loose fibres at one end for attaching to the top.
You’re now ready to join the stalk and the top together.
Push the stalk into the centre of the mushroom top and needle felt towards the centre. Work right round the mushroom and make sure its properly attached at all points.
You now have a basic mushroom which you can strengthen and mould with your needle.
Find natural lines in the wool and work to create structure and shapes around these lines with the needle. Be creative and see what happens but you’ll see your mushroom becomes much firmer and more solid as you work.
You now have a moulded and very firm mushroom. You’re now ready to add some spots or other features to your mushroom.
This mushroom has been decorated using some wool nepps I bought ages ago.
Use the needle to attach these to the top – some of them were quite hard to fix but I used a few strands of merino around the wool nepp and that worked perfectly – if you don’t have these, some spots of merino would work just the same. Create a random pattern of shapes and sizes to give the appearance of a natural mushroom and your piece is finished.
10. Why not take a photo and send it this blog
Please send us a photo as a field of lovely and magical mushrooms would be great… 🙂
Remember if you don’t have the things you need to make your own ‘Magic Mushroom’ from scratch, you can buy a kit from us as well which contains all the items mentioned in Section 2 of the post.
If you buy before the end of March, we’ll throw in a finger protector as well. Contact us or buy via Folksy….