Rainbow Rocks are the second project in a seasonal series of little, quick-to-make gifts we so often need for the holidays. For planned or last minute occasions; for tooth fairies, pocket ladies, and winter fairs; for classmates, neighbour’s and host’s children; for advent calenders and stockings! Tiny treasures that can be made with a small amount of materials and a small amount of time- 20 minutes or less!
Children love to make these felt geodes, and are always amazed when they are cut open. We have been making these to be given out at our Winter Faire, along with a short story about The Rainbow Rock, and instructions on how to “break” them open.
0.5 ounces/ 13 grams assorted colors of wool roving
small piece of bubble wrap
dish soap, warm water, bowl
Use a small amount of wool roving and wrap the roving tightly into a ball about the size of a cherry or grape.
Wrap the ball with another color of wool roving. It can be helpful to divide the roving along the length into thin strips, to make it easier to wrap evenly. Continue adding layers of color, completely covering the ball with each new layer. To help keep the ball evenly shaped, roll it in your hands for a minute or so, after adding each new layer. This is a wonderful tactile experience for children. Add about 5-6 layers of color, or until the ball is about the size of an orange. If you want your Rainbow Rock to look like a stone, finish with a layer of white wool roving and then grey or brown for the last layer.
Holding the wool ball securely in both hands, dip it gently into a bowl of soapy water. A good felting mixture is 1Tablespoon of dish soap to 1 quart (1 litre) of water.
Hold the wool ball in both hands and gently squeeze the wool while cupping it. This will help to keep the wool in place and after about 5 minutes of squeezing, a felt “skin”will develop. It is important not to roll or squeeze the delicate wool ball too much at the beginning. Dip into the bowl as necessary to add a more water and soap. The wool ball should roll easily in your hands, with some lather on the surface, and be wet all the way through.
For about 15 minutes, alternate between rolling the wool ball in your hands, rolling it on your bubble wrap piece, and squeezing it. Apply more pressure as you work to increase the felting.
If you working on these as a group, especially with young children, pass the felt stones around in a circle, each taking a turn to work on each one. In this way stronger hands get to work on the wool stone and help with the felting. This also adds a playful co-operative element to the craft, and keeps children engaged in the activity. Just remember which one is yours, so everyone ends with their own one back!
Once the wool rock feels quite firm, rinse well, squeezing under running water to get out the soap. Then finish the felting by rolling the wool rock under your hand on a towel, to get out any excess water.
Shape into your desired stone shape and leave to dry.
Use very sharp scissors or a kitchen knife to cut open the Rainbow Rock. Start with cutting into the rock , just under the surface, making tiny clips with the points of the scissors. Continue working around the rock in this way, cutting a little deeper with each round. Children love to see the layers opening as you go.
Once you’ve cut in through about three layers, you can probably cut the remaining layers all at once by cutting the Rainbow Rock in half.
Open up and take a moment to enjoy the array of colors and shapes formed through the felting.
We first made these when my oldest son was three years old. We passed a thread through the top of each half and used them as Christmas ornaments.
Watch for more in our Tiny Treasures series- we’ll be featuring at least one new tutorial each week until Christmas, including wooden castle blocks, tiny frost gnomes, and poppy pod people, plus other small and simple natural gift making inspirations.
If you’d like to accompany this craft with a story, you could read The Rainbow Rock . This story would also be nice to go along with a real crystal geode as a special Tiny Treasure!
Fiona Duthie is a regular contributor to Living Crafts.
In her studio on Salt Spring Island, BC, she creates in a bountiful beauty of color, wool, and texture, inspired by the natural world. Fiona designs fine feltwork, felting and knitting patterns, gives workshops in natural craft, and runs her hand dyed, artisan fibre company, Kattikloo. You can read more about her fibers, projects and creative living at www.kattikloo.com and on Facebook.