I made this dragon hand puppet by felting:
And in case anyone is interested, here are some instructions. You could also use this pattern to make oven mitts. You probably need to have some felting experience to understand any of what I'm saying:
1. Start by copying the shapes above onto a plastic bag or some other plastic and cutting them out. For now, ignore the red and green marks. You will have to play around with the scale. Basically, you will have to fit four fingers inside the bigger hump and your thumb inside the smaller hump. Remember that it will shrink by about 30 % when felted. The oval piece should be as wide as the big hump.
2. Lay out some wool roving (felting wool) on a table in the shape of the plastic patterns. (Put the plastic pattern on top every so often to check that you are getting the right shape and size. It is not good to cut felting wool with scissors, so you should just try to lay it out in the right shape. If you have any excess, you can tear it gently.) Leave some "seam allowance" on the outside. For the bigger piece, which is the main body, I used cheaper, undyed wool on what would be the inside of the hand puppet and then put a couple of layers of green wool on top of that for the "skin", with some wisps of yellow and orange. You will need a total of about 4-5 layers of wool. For the oval piece, which will be the mouth, I used reds and purples. If you are making an oven mitt, maybe use 6 layers for extra thickness and heat-proofing!
3. Take off the patterns and start hand-felting gently. There are instructions elsewhere for this. Felt the pieces separately for now. Don't felt the seam allowances (keep them dry if you can). You can needle-felt to begin with, just to keep the layers together. Don't go all the way with the felting! Just enough to keep the pieces in shape. Make sure you maintain the shape of the patterns. (If you felt all the way, until it is really hard, the pieces won't felt together afterwards.)
4. "Fold" the larger piece over so that the sections marked with the red stripes overlap. Make sure you get the "right side" (green on mine) on the outside. Don't do this like you would a seam when sewing (both seam allowances on the inside), but just overlap the seam allowances. Your piece will make a kind of tube - the body of the dragon - as you will see. Felt the seam carefully, making sure you felt on the inside and the outside, and that there are no holes. (You can turn it inside out if need be.) Again, don't quite finish felting it.
5. Now, once you have made a tube out of the bigger piece, you can probably see where the "mouth" piece goes. Basically, the green dots are on my pattern to show where the two pieces meet. This is a little harder and you will have to felt patiently a little bit at a time. Again, overlap the seam allowances, and felt carefully to make sure the pieces really stick together. Can you see it taking shape?
6. Once you are satisfied that your two pieces have felted together well and that there are no holes (apart from the one at the bottom, where your hand goes in!
), finish felting the whole piece. This is when it will become really solid and shrink. As you probably know, you need to rub and knead the wool alternately under cold and hot water. Do this until you are happy with the texture and size.
7. Hooray! You have finished making the hand puppet's body! Now for any additional bits. I made googly eyes by rolling balls of white felt (with a small dot of black) between my hands, a ridge out of yellow and orange wool felted to make a flat sheet and then cut out with scissors into the shape, a tongue in the same way as the ridge and a "beard" out of two sausages rolled between my hands out of red wool. I sewed all these bits on by hand after they and the main body were all felted and dry.
If you are really clever, you can probably try to felt these extra bits on as part of step 5, but it can be quite hard to get them to stick properly. I'm not such a purist that I mind having a bit of sewing on my felting.
If any of your seams have small holes, you can sew them closed by hand, nobody will notice.
I know all this sounds really complicated, but it is much clearer when you are actually doing it! Have a go and show us what you made!! If you have any questions, ask here or PM me. I love felting and would love to see more people doing it. It's actually one of the easiest crafts out there...