Needle felting is a way of sculpting with wool. Using pieces of wool roving, fleece or felt, the needle felting artist creates a variety of items from decorative art to bags and even miniature figures. Needle felting is a skill that requires caution and practice, and is not suitable for young children due to the sharp needles involved. If you want to learn needle felting, all you need are a few supplies and some time to practice honing your skills.
Lay out a foam pad on your work station to protect the surface.
Arrange your wool roving or felt scraps on the foam surface in the basic shape you want to felt. If you use wool roving or fleece, position it in a circular arrangement in a thin layer. If using felt, lay out the felt scraps in a single layer.
Poke the needle through the wool roving or felt to blend the fibres together. Poke the needle in and out of your felt pieces in a straight up and down motion until you see the fibres of the wool begin to fuse together.
Use the needle felting tool to shape the wool pieces. To make a heart for instance, push the pieces into a heart shape with your felting needle as you stab it in and out of the felt.
Add another thin layer of wool to the top of your piece and poke it with the needle felting needle to fuse it to the existing piece. Continue to repeat this process until you have added all the layers and embellishments you desire.
Bend wire pieces or twist ties into a basic framework for your sculpture. To make an animal, bend one piece of wire into an oval for the body and add a second round wire on top for the head. Use single lengths of wire for the arms or legs.
Stuff wool roving or fleece inside the wire shape to fill out the basic outline of the figure. Wad up the wool or roving so that it fully stuffs the wire form and makes the figure seem three-dimensional or rounded. This roving will be hidden by the rest so the colour does not matter.
Wrap thin strips of coloured roving or felt around the figure to conceal the wire and the wool stuffing. Wrap each section of the figure separately to provide definition to the features.
Poke the needle through the figure. Start at the top and work your way around and down, poking the needle in and out of the figure in an even motion. This will fuse the outer layers of wool to the inner stuffing to hold the figure together.
Add more layers of wool to the outside of the figure and use the needle to attach them. Use smaller pieces of roving or felt to make details for the facial features or other areas.
Things you need
- Foam mat
- Needle felting needles
- Wire pieces or twist ties