Small Felted Birdhouse Project Instructions

From fiber to fabulous...
1. blow up your balloon to the about 5" x 6". You will want to do this project over or in a sink as there is a lot of water.
2. Take any dish soap and squirt enough to cover the balloon with a thin coat of soap. This will help the fiber to stick to the balloon and is necessary for felting.
3. Take your fiber and wrap it in layers each piece perpendicular to the one beneath it until the ball is covered, making sure there are no weak or thin spots, especially on the bottom.
4. Cover the fiber with the enclosed synthetic mesh. You may also use panty hose. You may want to use a large cup to act as a stand for your balloon during felting. Tie the top of the mesh closed or use a rubber band. This helps to keep the fiber in place while you felt.
5. Fill a bowl with hot, soapy water and start to massage the fiber on the balloon in circular motions. Make sure the water is hot and soapy so that felting takes place. If there are weak or open spots, shift fiber so that all areas of the balloon are covered. Begin gently and once the fiber has started to felt, you can use more pressure. This step takes about 10 minutes.
6. Continue rubbing and felting until the fiber has formed a fabric and begins to shrink. You may felt as long as you want. As you felt, the birdhouse will get stronger and smaller.
7. It will take about 10 minutes to felt the fiber. You can check by opening up the mesh. When it has the feeling of fabric and is holding together, remove the mesh gently. You will want to continue rubbing more without the mesh to firm up even more.
8. When you have finished felting, pop the balloon with a needle and use sharp scissors or a sharp craft knife to cut the entrance hole wherever you choose. Alternate using hot, soapy water and cold water to accomplish the final felt while squeezing and soaking the birdhouse. work the rough edges of the hole smooth. You can always blow up another balloon inside if you want to felt more with resistance. During this step you will want to squeeze and soak your birdhouse to full (shrink) it. It is up to you when to stop.
9. Once you have achieved the size you like, do a final trim, if needed, of the opening and set your birdhouse out to dry. You can use another balloon to regain the shape after it has dried.