• Becky Jenner Photography

DIY Newborn Curly Fill Prop

I have been asked numerous times to post about how I make my curly newborn photo fluff prop for basket fill so I decided write up the instructions with photos. I hope someday to do a video tutorial as well...but for now this will have to do.

Here is a list of what you need to make this curly fluff:

1) One skein of Homespun Thick & Quick yarn

Homespun Yarn

2) 46 cm square piece of felt. I bought a 92 cm square piece from Michael’s craft store here in Canada for about $6.00 CAD and cut it in to four equal squares which made four different curly fluffs.

Square Piece of Felt

3) a needle felting tool. This tool is a mute-needle tool. I my case mine has 5 needles in it. As well if you are buying craft grade felt (so not the 100% wool felt) you will want to buy one that have the coarse felting needles in it so that you can push enough of the yarn through to make it good and sturdy. This is not needed if you choose to use the glue gun method.

Needle Felting Tool

4) A needle felting mat. Now there are two different kinds of mats. First there is one that looks like a piece of foam or a sponge

Sponge Felting Mat

and then there is one that looks like a really stiff square brush.

Brush Like Felting Mat

Have used both and prefer the brush one. I found that when I used the foam/sponge one that I was not able to push through enough yarn to make it stay and be really sturdy.

The one on the left is using the Brush Mat and the right one is using Sponge Mat

Here is a photo comparison of the back of two fluff mats that I have already done to show you the difference in what pushes through. This is not needed if you choose to do the glue gun method.

5) Glue Gun and glue sticks (not needed if using the felting method)

My trusty glue gun!

6) scissors

7) a couple of big bowls (I used two large mixing bowls)

8) some really good Netflix show that you can binge watch (I’m an all things Star Trek girl myself).

9) some patience for this somewhat mindless task :)

First thing we are going to do is cut up the skein of yarn. I found it easiest to just cut the entire skein in one sitting. So, you will need the yarn, a big bowl and your scissors. You are going to be cutting many, many, many strings from this skein if yarn. The length you cut them is really up to you. I cut mine about 25-30 cm long. They weren’t exact. I actually just cut them all to arm’s length and then cut those lengths in half. As I was cutting the pieces I put them in to one of the big bowls. Once you are finished cutting the entire skein of yarn and have a heaping pile of strings you can put the scissors aside.

For the next step you will need the second bowl. Take one of the strings you cut from your big heaping bowl of string. If you look at the end of the yarn string you will find three smaller strings within it. One is kind of wrapped around the outside of the yarn and two are in the inside.

Outside string

Inside strings

You need to pull these strings out. It is easier to start by pulling out the string that runs around the outside first and then the two inside strings. Be gentle so you don’t spread the fuzzy wool inside out too much while getting these strings out. You will get a feel for how hard you can pull as you pull more strings out. Discard the little inside strings (but if you choose the glue gun method, you will want to save these) and put the rest in your second big bowl.

Inside yarn strings

Now do this for all the yarn that is in your original big heaping first bowl of string.

Now for this next step you have to decide how fluffy vs curly you want this fill to be. In the first picture I took the yarn strings and gently pulled them in half. Try to pull them in half as gently as possible to avoid the little tiny fuzzy stuff (this fuzzy stuff is part of what causes this to shed when it’s done). You can even just leave the yarn pieces thick and as is if you want this to have more of a curly mop like look and feel. I found pulling them in half gave me the texture that I wanted. This process gives you the curly felt.

Gently pulled apart but still curly

In the second picture I just kind of randomly pulled the yarn apart and got a fuzzier mish mashed of pieces (it was almost like I have just bought raw felting wool from the craft store). Now while this pull apart method works fine; your finished product will shed a lot more and I found the one I made this way not nearly as sturdy. I actually threw it out often one use because I got so annoyed with it. Also, when you do it this way you don't really get a curly felt.

Mish mash of fluff!

With that being said, maybe if you were to hot glue gun this type to the felt, it wouldn’t be so bad. Speaking of using a glue gun, I have tried to make these curly felts using needle felting and using a hot glue gun and at the end of this blog you will have to decide which one you like better.

(start here)

Now we get to felting! You will need your bowl of yarn pieces, felting tool, the piece of felt and the felting mat of your choice. The felting process is really easy, but you must be patient with it as if you do it to quickly your creation is far more likely to shed a lot more... Let's get started, place the piece of felt over the felting mat.

Placed under the felt

Make sure the felting mat is under the part you plan to felt first. Take one of the yarn strings and fold it in half.

Folded in half and ready to felt

Place the loop part of the string on the piece of felt along the edge. Use your felting tool and push it through once. Then repeat the process with one yarn string after another until you have about 6 cm in a row. All you have done by pushing the felting needle through the felt and the yarn once is to hold it in place. What you need to do know is go back and forth over the yarn you just place over and over again until it looks something like this.

Finished felting

You will also be able to feel it get a bit harder to push the yarn through after you do it a bunch of times. This is how you will know that you have done it enough.

Once you have done this part, gently pull the work you just did up off the felting mat and move the felt over along to the next blank spot on the felt that you will want to work on next. Then repeat the process above. I work from the outside edge in towards the center and find that the easiest. Once you are completely done felting all the yarn, use your fingers to gently brush out the fluff. This will get rid of any loose fuzz.

Now for the hot glue gun method. The process is the same up to where I wrote “(start here)” above. When I did the hot glue gun method I took 3-4 of the string pieces that I have pulled apart and tied one of the strings I pulled out of the original yarn around it.

Tied strings

Then I cut the string

Then I simply folded them where I tied them and glued them all around the felt.

Glue gun dollop

Folded and ready to place

Working from the outside in to the middle.

Working around the outside

I used the clear glue that can be used on the warm settings on my glue gun cause I hate getting my fingers burned.

Here is some pictures of both the felting method and the hot glue gun method. In both cases they “shed” a bit, but not nearly as bad as the first one I tried that I did not secure properly using a fine felting needle tool instead of a course felting needle tool. Please note that I did find with the glue gun sometimes there was some poky pieces from the hard glue. So be really careful with those when posing you newborns.

The one on the left was made using hot glue and the one on the right was felted. You choose which one you like the best!!

That is pretty much all there is too it...hopefully these instructions helped you out...

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or want more help with making one of these yourself!!

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