Decorate felt balls with embroidery | How About Orange

November 08, 2011

Decorate felt balls with embroidery

Via Bloomize I came across this Japanese magazine with instructions for making embroidered felt balls (see p. 15). So pretty for Christmas ornaments or shade pulls or embellishments on gifts... True, the directions are in Japanese, but I bet you could figure it out using the diagrams for inspiration. If you want to buy plain felted balls, search Etsy. Or to make your own, try this tutorial.

This just in! Helpful blog reader Tiffany Harvey has translated the Japanese instructions for us!

pg. 14 - The Basics of Temari Balls
Note: The original magazine linked back to a Japanese website selling supplies, so the numbers are all references to their thread colors.

(top left) Before Starting
To make a Temari ball you will use a felt ball as the foundation. Once you choose a direction for your ball, just like a globe we will call the top point the "North Pole," the bottom the "South Pole," and the center the "Equator."

Diagram - North Pole, Equator, South Pole

(top center) Materials
Wool felt balls
We will be using three sizes of balls: S, M, and L (a diameter of 1.5, 2.0, or 2.5cm). You can use pre-made balls sold commercially and choose which size of ball you'd like to make.

Temari needle
We recommend using a long needle made specifically for Temari. It is possible to substitute with a No.3 sized embroidery needle.

(top right, under picture of balls)
Temari thread
Use a cotton thread like "Temari filament," "Temari thread," "metallic", etc. We will use a mix of these and you can choose which thread to use.

(center left) Starting Stitch
1) With a ball that is 1cm or larger, make a stitch in the ball, pulling the end of the thread into the ball.
2) Make another stitch, entering the same spot and exiting 1cm or more away.
3) Make another stitch, exiting in the same spot you started.

(bottom right) North and South Poles
1) Mark the left and right center of your ball with straight pins. Decide which you want to be your North and South Pole.
2) Make a stitch, exiting at the North Pole.

Diagram - North Pole

(bottom left) Ending stitch
1) The spot for the ending stitch
2) Make another stitch, entering the same spot and exiting 1cm or more away.
3) Pull the thread and cut.

pg. 15 - How to Make

(top left) How to make 5 small Temari balls
Create Temari charms and hair ties using a mix of traditional embroidery stitches. Use these directions as a reference, choose your colors and stitches, and have fun making original Temari balls.

(center left) A - Divided Into 8 Equal Parts
Felt ball (M, white)... approximately 2cm diameter
Temari thread... LM1 ("Aurora")

How to Make
1) Follow steps 1 and 2 (winding stitch) from ball E. (LM1)
2) Exit at the equator and wind once around the ball.
3) Wrap again, four more times, as shown in the drawing.
4) Following the diagram, make a straight stitch in these 6 places to secure.

1) North Pole, Temari thread LM1
2) North Pole, South Pole
3) North Pole, South Pole
4) Straight stitch, Temari thread LM1, back center

(bottom left) B - Lazy Daisy Stitch
Felt ball (M, white)... approximately 2cm diameter
Temari filament... No. 822
Temari thread... LM1 ("Aurora")

How to Make
1) Follow the directions from ball E to make the winding stitch. Wrap twice from the top to form a cross, then wrap once around the equator. (LM1)
2) Make the Lazy Daisy stitch around the circumference of the ball. (No. 822) (each intersection is the center of a daisy)
3) Make a French Knot at each of the 6 intersections. (LM1)

1) North Pole, Temari thread LM1, South Pole
2) Lazy Daisy stitch, Temari filament No. 822
3) French Knot, Temari thread LM1, Back center

(bottom right) D - Straight Stitch
Felt ball (S, white)... approximately 1.5cm diameter
Temari filament... No. 807, 852

How to Make
Choose the placement and straight stitch in two colors.
(No. 807: 3 locations, No. 852: 2 locations)

Straight Stitch, Temari filament No. 807, 852

pg. 16
(top left) C - Chrysanthemum
Felt ball (L, white)... approximately 2.5cm diameter
Temari filament... No. 810, 812, 843
Metallic gold

How to Make
1) Follow steps 1 and 2 (winding stitch) from ball E. (metallic)
2) Wrap once around the equator (No. 812) and exit at upper left.
3) Do the Plover stitch around the North Pole and South Pole. Check pg. 18 for a diagram of the bird's eye view for reference. (No. 810, 812)
4) Cross-stitch around the equator at the intersections. (No. 843)

1) North Pole, Metallic gold
2) North Pole, South Pole
3) Temari filament No. 812, Plover stitch, Temari filament No. 810
4) Cross-stitch, Temari filament No. 843

(center left) E - Wrapping Stitch and Plover Stitch
Felt ball (L, white)... approximately 2.5cm diameter
Temari filament... No. 807, 821, 851, 857

How to Make
1) Mark the North and South Poles with a straight pin. Wrap a thread from the North Pole, over the Equator, past the South Pole, back over the Equator, and return to the North Pole. Wrap around the ball again so that you form a cross. (No. 851)
2) With a new color, wrap twice from the same point, forming a new cross at a 45 degree angle. (No. 821)
3) Wrap around the Equator 4 times. (No. 807) *Do not leave a gap between the threads.
4) Use the Plover stitch on top of the other 3 threads. (No. 857)
5) Use the Pine Needle stitch around the North and South Poles. (No. 807)

1) North Pole, Temari filament No. 851
2) Temari filament No. 851, North Pole, No. 821
3) North Pole, Temari filament No. 807 4 wraps, South Pole
4) Plover stitch, Temari filament No. 857
5) Pine Needle stitch, Temari filament No. 807, North Pole

(Bottom right gives directions on wrapping beads)
(pg. 17 shows how to use the Temari balls as charms & hair accessories)


pg. 18 - How to Stitch
Directions for Temari stitches

(top row of three)
Cross Stitch
Straight Stitch
Plover Stitch (a type of bird)
1 out, 2 in, 3 out, 4 in, 5 out
*Repeat 1 through 4

(second row of three)
Lazy Daisy Stitch
French Knot
Pine Needle Stitch
1 out, 2 in, 3 out, 4 in, 5 out, 6 in, 7 out, 8 in, 9 out, 10 in

(right side)
Chrysanthemum, bird's eye view
1 out, 2 in, 3 out, 4 in, 5 out, 6 in, 7 out, 8 in, 9 out, 10 in, 11 out, 12 in, 13 out, 14 in, 15 out, 16 in
*Centered on the North or South Pole

(below the dotted line are patterns for the cloth items in the magazine)


Oh That's Cool said...

These are lovely! I might fill a vase with these and sweets in colourful wrappers, a pretty pick n' mix :) x

Grandma G said...

Oh, those look so cute and fun!


Nina said...

So sweet! I've previously made felt balls from wool yarn scraps rather than roving - if you pull the yarn apart first it seems to work. One step towards 0 waste...

Heidi, Stationery Scoop said...

These are so gorgeous and what a great way to use up yarn scraps. I'm bookmarking this for a holiday project. ~Heidi

Meaghan said...

My favorite Etsy seller for felt balls is

High quality, great colors!

Aaaaaaand now I want to embroider the balls I already have on hand!

Jessica Jones said...

Cool, thanks for the tip!

Tharvey said...

I could translate it and email it to you if you'd like to post the translation here?

Rose Clearfield said...

So fun!

AsterMax said...

They sure are cute- but what the hell are they good for besides collecting dust?!

Jessica Jones said...

I'd string 'em like a garland and put them on my Christmas tree.

Jessica Jones said...

Tharvey, that sounds like tons of work for you, but if you send something, I'll post it!

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

How fun and timely... I just posted about our latest distraction-attraction... felting wool into balls. They cannot collect dust in a jar, which is where ours are, until I make time to string them into a festive garland!

able mabel said...

Those are very eyecatching!

dannii said...

i learned how to make some of these temari balls from a japanese friend. they were a way to utilize extra scraps from making kimono and provide toys for children. i like the idea of using already felted balls but the originals are not impossible either. it involves crunching up a plastic bag, wrap in quilt batting, then thick yarn to make a ball then crochet thread or embroidery floss to refine the ball and then finish with sewing thread to further solidify and round the ball. it does involve a good deal of geometry and measurements (more proportions using a strip on paper) to do the embroidery part, but the results are incredible. they sell them at a nearby zakka shop in japantown (of bangkok) as christmas ornaments and decorative balls to pile up in a bowl on the table.

an internet search for "temari ball" can provide a lot of other ideas and methods. glad to see this post!

melinda said...

They look fantastic. I can think of so many ways to use these little guys.

Belta said...

Oh!very cute!
I think that these were made,taking a hint from Japanese "Temari".
Temari is a ball made with thread.
I met a woman who makes it a few years ago.

Cara said...

Wow, these are so beautiful, I would love to cover a Christmas tree with them or string the up as a garland!

Anonymous said...

Loves these. Would it be fun if they were like a ball pit and you could jump in them. Surrounded by color.

Pingos do Céu said...

Very cute idea!

Your blog is always beautiful, with super ideas and is always a pleasure to be back!

Have a nice week!!

Pingos do Céu

Donaville said...

love this! they look like candy (just *might* fend off any candy cravings for a little while).

Ginny T., JTA Kyoujyu said...

This is a cute way to interpret the designs of traditional Japanese Temari - just please be sure to understand the difference :>) Temari is embroidery in particular designs worked on a hand-made ball that is wrapped in thread. You can find out more at Please understand I'm not knocking these felted balls, but there is a significant difference between using temari-inspired designs in different media and a traditional Temari. :>)