Conversation hearts are those little pastel-colored candies that show up every Valentine’s Day with touching sentiments like “TEXT ME” and “U ROCK.” If you love the look of those quaint confections, but would rather indulge in crafting instead of candy make a set of felted conversation heart bookends!
Needle felted crafts are as fun to make as they are adorable. And this Valentine’s craft perfectly blends elementary school nostalgia with a grown-up aesthetic.
The materials you’ll need are:
— A felting pad
—A felting needle and a multi needle tool
— One 0.8oz package of wool roving in the pastel color of your choice, per heart
— A few inches of wool yarn in red or hot pink
— A pair of sharp scissors
— A heart-shaped cookie cutter (mine was 4 inches wide by 3.5 inches high)
— BBs, river rocks, aquarium marbles or other weights
— Optional and not pictured: Mini-quilting iron
Place the cookie cutter directly on the felting pad, and fill it with a handful of wool roving. With your barbed felting needle, begin poking the roving to mat it evenly. If you have a multi-needle felting tool, that will make the process go much more quickly. Whichever tool you use, be sure you insert the needles in and out in one direction. The needles are fragile, and if you try to bend them within the wool, they will snap. To protect your fingers from injury, always keep your felting project on the pad as you work, brace the project with your free hand, and keep your eye the sharp needle!
The barbed felting needle catches the wool fibers and agitates them until they felt together. After several minutes of poking, pull the heart out of the cookie cutter and off of the felting pad when the texture of the wool begins to change, and looks matted. Turn the heart over, and felt the backside until the entire heart feels even throughout. Then create a second, matching heart.
Unravel about 15 inches of wool roving from your ball. Use the multi needle tool to stab the wool (front and back) until it is felted into an even quality. Fold the wispy ends over and felt them for clean ends.
When you have two matching hearts and one long, felted band, you have the components to make a hollow wool box.
Stand your band of wool up around the perimeter of the heart, and begin tacking it in place with your needle. Continue to insert your felting needle into the wool until the wall bonds completely to the heart box base.
Tuck the extra tail of the wall inside the box and then felt the overlapping pieces together. That will make your wool wall more stable.
Stuff two bundles of roving into the humps of the heart and felt them in place. Use the felting needle to further define the outer shape by concentrating needle stabs in the depression between the humps.
Use your mini iron on low heat to smooth the stray wool hairs on the remaining wool heart shape (the box lid). You can also use your scissors to carefully shave off stray wool pieces.
To add the conversation to your wool hearts, snip short lengths of wool yarn to form letters.
Tack down the letters with your single barbed felting needle. To ensure sharp edges, use the top of your fingernail as a guide to keep your wool yarn in place as you felt.
When you are happy with the message on your lid, fill your wool box base with BBs or your preferred weights. Add a few wisps of roving between the heart-shaped lid and box, and felt the lid closed completely.
If there are any indentations that need filling in, add a few final wisps of wool roving, and poke your felting needle into them until the gaps are filled.
Finish the heart boxes by snipping stray wool flyaway’s with a sharp pair of scissors, or by running your mini iron over the entire box. The wool conversation heart crafts feel great in your hand, and will look sweet on your bookshelf!