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How to make a rice bag for needle felting

How to make a rice bag for needle felting

“How do I make a rice bag to use as a needle felting base?”

I have been using a blue foam pad since I started needle felting (as featured in most of my tutorials) which has been really great to use but I am finding that tiny bits of blue do come off of it now onto the piece I am working on and fibres tend to stick to it and the whole thing is looking a little fluffy, holey and worse for wear. After looking at alternatives for a needle felting base on the internet I came across a rice bag. Many claim it to be hard wearing and perfect for 3d sculptures. I didn’t want to pay the earth by ordering one on line and so for my birthday my mum kindly sewed one together for me from an old cotton bag. I added the rice this morning and finished it off. It is approx. 14 by 9 inches in size. So here’s how you can make one too; 1) Take an old rectangular cotton/burlap bag – I have several of these at home and usually use them for my shopping. You could pick one up from a charity shop, or buy one from a cheap store /supermarket.  If anything like this one it’s probably best to give it a good iron before you start sewing 🙂 Best to use a plain one or one with a nice pattern you would like to show off. This one had a boring motif so this was hidden from sight once sewn. The weave should not be too tight but wide enough to allow the barbed needle through. You may need to test what you feel happy with. image 2) Fold the bag in half, unpick the handles and remove. You could leave handles if you wish to hang it up. By folding the bag in half it will be double layered so it will be long lasting. The size of the bag should just be right but with this one my mum picked the thread from the top side too to allow an extra inch width.   3)Sew the edges by hand or by machine, stitches should be close enough to prevent any rice grains from coming out of the bag. Ensure the corners are well sewn by double stitching to reinforce. Simple back stitch is fine. Leave one end open for adding your rice. Turn inside out so stitching is on the inside with a neat edge.  4) Measure approx 1.75 kg of rice. I used cheap long grain rice. Pour into the bag using a funnel or jug (you can do this straight from the bag but mine tend to spilt and rice goes everywhere). You can choose more or less rice depending on personal preference. This amount comes to almost three quarters of the bag when holding the bag upright like a sack. If you fill it too much it will be very heavy and not lay right for a flat felting surface. Too few grains and the surface will dip.          5) Before sewing up completely, lay your bag out as you would use it to check you have the right amount of rice. You should have at least a good inch depth for the needle to go through. Then sew up as neat as you can.       And there you have a rice bag!!! Simple!!! 🙂    I have to say I am loving it already. It feels different to my old faithful foam pad but I am quite liking the sturdy feeling of it and it looks like good quality and long lasting. I may not carry this one around as it is fairly heavy and I have soon found my needles don’t stay put for too long if I stick them in the bag like I used to with my foam pad, but then I sometimes break my needles from being lazy and not putting them back where they belong so that may be a good thing. Hope this inspires you to have a go and make a quick simple bag for yourself… Hmmm looks like my headless cat is pawing at it and enjoying the new feel too 🙂 

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5 responses »

  1. Hi can you do a tutorial on the cat that is on the rice bag? Thanks x

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  2. I fought with foam fragments in my felt for some time. The foam pads I have now from Felt Alive® (link at the bottom of this comment) are working for me so far, but this neat rice bag idea is surely something to keep in mind.

    http://www.needlefeltingsupplies.com/Studio-Size-Needle-Felting-Pads-12-x-9-in_p_144.html

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  3. Yes, me too…I like the idea…but I was curious to know…doesn’t felting it make it catch in that fabric? I tried to kae a bag myself with a potatoe type bag and it was itchy and even if I stitched it…the sides started to frey and won’t hold..so I will give this a try.

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    • Amanda Adebisi

      Hi Kathryne. It doesnt seem to lock onto the felt but then I only really use it as a base when doing 3d sculptures so I don’t tend to use it for flat or small pieces. I also move my piece around a lot. It’s more to stop my legs from being stabbed really and it is nice and firm. Hope you get on ok with it. Let me know what you think. 🙂

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  4. So… it’s been over a month – how do you like using your rice bag needle felting base? Do you recommend it? Thanks for the post, by the way!

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