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Tiny Treasures- Rainbow Rocks

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.

Materials:

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!

Posted by Fiona Duthie on Nov 26, 2011 06:07 PM | 21 Comments

21 Responses to “Tiny Treasures- Rainbow Rocks”

  1. mudmama says:

    Fiona this is absolutely PERFECT. My boys are all about space and earth science “I wonder” questions and play right now and I’ve been looking for activities to do with them that support their interest without getting into the details beyond their years with things they can’t actually see and do.. These are exactly the right kind of thing for the entire “what is inside the earth” questions I get! These will definitely go into their stockings!

  2. I love this series of tutorials!!
    These geodes look like a lot of fun but I cannot wait for the wooden Castle blocks one as that is what hubby and I are planning to make for our son.

  3. Kerry says:

    Have also made these, but then put them in the freezer before they were dry and cut them open with a saw…Makes a nice, smooth cut.
    Thank you!

  4. I can’t believe you have written a tutorial for these! How wonderful!!!
    A friend sent me an image of something similar a while ago that I thought I might try to recreate and make pincushions from.
    They are also perfect for ‘the Mineral Realm’ gratitude celebration of the first advent Sunday!
    I am a pretty happy camper right now.
    Thanks Fiona, you’re fantastic! ღ

  5. emily says:

    I have to echo mudmama’s comment. We do this to explore the layers of the earth. To me, it is an artistic representation of the beauty of the many layers the earth has. This naturally leads us into making other planets in our solar system, and eventually, hanging them in a mobil! beautiful tutorial.

  6. irene halang says:

    i was looking for another little stocking stuffer treat fro my granddaughter,thanks for this idea.great also for our waldorf inspired march break camp!!

  7. Alissa says:

    What was the first tutorial? It says this is the 2nd. Thanks.

  8. Trang Le says:

    My daughter loves geodes! We’re gonna have to try this over the weekend. Love this!

  9. victoria says:

    my daughter is a rock hound I will make these with her over winter break. thanks for the inspiration

  10. Jane LaFazio says:

    Love this, especially with the grey rock covering. And the idea of passing them around in a circle is brilliant. I’m doin’ this! thanks

  11. karin says:

    Love it!

  12. Doris says:

    Que lindo, excelente idea.
    Muchas gracias.
    Besos

  13. Karen says:

    My middle-school aged daughter thinks these look cool as well. We may do one of these as part of earth science. Thanks!

  14. moe says:

    really cool craft

    I think i will try it with my son

    Monique

  15. mollybridget says:

    What an adorable and easy project to do!
    Especially satisfying for my young disabled
    friends to be able to easily make something so beautiful!

  16. Erin says:

    Oooo that is lovely.

  17. Caryn says:

    what sweet surprises await inside these soft wooly geodes. :)

  18. Suzanne says:

    So cool–I put a link to your wonderful article on my blog http://underthemulberrytree.squarespace.com/suzannes-craft-journal/2011/12/6/the-rainbow-rock.html
    I think I will make more for holiday gifts–thank you for the great idea!

  19. maria garcia says:

    I love you ideas. It is so easy to follow and understand. I can’t wait to do this project with my daycare and my own children. Thank you for the insipration!

  20. Blanca Moll says:

    Pretty sick post. I have been using Squarespace from late 2010 and it’s just brilliant.

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