Embellish a Card with Felted Shells

It’s summer here, and if you’re lucky enough to live near the ocean, you can find plenty of artistic inspiration from the landscape, the wildlife, and the found objects.

embellish cards with felted shells by deborah wolff
Felted shells embellish plain cards.
Art by Deborah Wolff.

Shells hold a particular fascination for many fiber and mixed-media artists. You can use found shells to embellish an art quilt. Or the colors, textures, patterns, and matte or iridescent surfaces of shells can be interpreted in fabric, surface design, beadwork, and fibers.

I never would have thought of using needle-felting to create shell art, but when I saw Deborah Wolff’s Felted Seashell Cards in the July/August 2013 issue of our sister publication Cloth Paper Scissors, I thought, “What a great idea.”

These sweet cards are easy to make and would be a lovely thank-you note and hostess gift when you’re a guest during the summer.

Deborah uses wool felt, hand-dyed roving, and free-motion stitching to create these treasures. Here are the basic directions:

1. Select the roving and shell shape and lay the roving onto a felt square.

2. Felt the roving onto the square using a needle-felting machine or hand-felting tools. Turn the square over and felt from the back to blend the fibers.

felted card or quilt embellishment

From wool roving to felted and stitched embellishment.

3. Moving in a circular motion around the shape, layering more roving and felting until the desired look is achieved.

4. Steam press the felted square to flatten it and hide the needle holes.

5. With a darning foot in place on your sewing machine, free-motion stitch the shell shape. You may want to reference a detailed photo of a shell for this step.

At this point, you can trim the felt square to size and attach to the card with spray adhesive and a zigzag stitch.

Or, you could apply beaded or crystal embellishments or use embellishment techniques like painting with pearlized fabric paint or adding hand embroidery with metallic threads. In fact, these felted shells could become quilting embellishments themselves, dotting an art quilt.

I find Cloth Paper Scissors magazine is a great source for fun, fast fiber art ideas like this one. Subscribe now and discover how mixed-media can embellish your fiber art experience.

P.S. Do shells and other seaside objects inspire you to make art? What do you create? Leave a comment below.

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