Monday, February 23, 2015

How to Create a Wool Fireplace for Wall Hanging or Doll Play

This wool fireplace was created as a needle felt book illustration for Hansel & Gretel: A Fairy Tale with a Down Syndrome Twist, by Jewel Kats. I am the illustrator.

Fiber Art Illustration by Claudia Marie Lenart

The fireplace was an enjoyable challenge. The background walls were created with a pressed wool technique. I added thin layers of Romney wool onto a piece of felt, then covered with a sheet of glass and pressed down. Leave the glass on the wool for a day, if time allows. The edges were needle felted. 

I began the hearth by finding images of fireplace designs. Once I settled on a design I drew the outline of the design on the wool with thin yarn. Then I filled in with a dark taupe wool. I needle felted a black arch in the hearth to create depth.

The rocks were made with a variety of wool, whatever I had handy in rock colors. Many of the grey rocks are a natural merino. I rolled the wool into a loose ball and needle felted with a few light pokes to keep it together. This was followed by placing the rocks in a sink filled with warm, soapy water. I wet-felted the rocks by rolling them in my hand, one by one, until they felt dense enough. After I squeezed out the excess water, I placed them in a pillowcase and put them in the clothes dryer. 

Next, start placing the rocks onto the fireplace and felt just around the edges. 
Create a mantle with a sheet of wool felt in a tan color. Measure the felt so it is the same width as the fireplace.  Roll the felt into a log shape and place the mantle above the rocks. Felt along the edges. Fill the ends of the log with some tan wool.  Continue adding rocks until finished. 

To create the fire in the hearth, I added some more black wool horizontally across the bottom. The fire was created with thin wisps of orange and yellow Blue-Faced Leicester wool, which has a natural sheen. 
Miniature fireplace made of wool stones.

You can decorate the fireplace with a tiny painting and props. To make tiny logs, roll a piece of tan wool tightly into a log shape, then roll a layer of darker brown over it. Needle felt until the log is very dense. With sharp scizzors cut off the ends or you can "split" the wood. 
Miniature needle felted logs made of wool.

If you decide to make a fireplace, I would love to see the results. You can share it on my Facebook page, Claudia Marie Felt.

Hansel & Gretel fairy tale illustrated in fiber art
Hansel & Gretel: A Fairy Tale with a Down Syndrome Twist

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