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Needle-Felting! Share your creations, and your tips!!!

 
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Needle felting is my new passion! I've only been needle felting for about 6 months, but I love how forgiving of an art form it is. It's like the best of both painting and sculpting! And it's all natural and non-toxic. What could be better!

Show us your creations, your favorite needles, your tips for felting, whatever!
 
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I've attached a picture of some dinosaurs I made. They both start with a basic 'sausage' shape and then are bulked up around the middle with more and more layers of wool, with extra bits attached and shaped. I like how needle felting creations can just gradually grow from a basic shape, and a pattern isn't needed.
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Kate Downham
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Ladybirds are a good first project. I started these with a flat-ish round shape, then felted in a line down the middle, and then added the black bits. They can be made in any size.

I started with a kit from Heidifeathers, their instruction booklet, and a couple of books from the library for ideas. I also like the 'magic wool' books for more ideas. I still have those needles but am thinking I'd like to get one of those multi-needle holders to work a bit faster sometimes. I get wool from Steiner/Waldorf supply places, but would like to grow and naturally dye my own one day.
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Nicole Alderman
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Ooooo! I hadn't thought to make a lady bug! My children love ladybugs! You inspired to make a little one for my daughter--she loves it! It still needs a bit more tightening up, but she snagged it before I could!

I love how colorful your dinosaurs are. It's so much fun to add the colors with abandon.

Like you, I don't really follow a pattern--I just start felting. I tend to start with a wire frame, wrap it in the roving, and then just keep adding more roving by layers, and shaping as as I go. I used to make parts--like the horns--and then attach them, but I found that they weren't very secure that way. So, now I just build the horns right on the dragon and they seem more firmly attached that way.

One trick I recently learned was to NOT poke all the way through. I really had no training when I started. I got the needles and the roving and just started poking away, with no real idea what I was doing. Then about two months ago I learned that I shouldn't poke all the way through: it makes it have more stray threads, and it can wear out the roving so that it can't be felted any more (been there, done that when I made my rainbow fairy's skirt).
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Kate Downham
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Your ladybird and little one are very sweet!

I wonder if we could make lots of different beneficial insects this way, and little aphids and other 'pests' for them to eat?!

Do you use undyed wool to do the bulkier bits of your creations? I made the larger dinosaur this way and am finding that the layer of colours over the top shifts around as it gets played with. It could be that I just didn't felt it on enough, or maybe the layer isn't thick enough?

I've never felted with wire. Maybe I will try making a dragon one day this way.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Kate Downham wrote:I wonder if we could make lots of different beneficial insects this way, and little aphids and other 'pests' for them to eat?!



Very much so! Though, if  I made tiny aphids I'd probably poke my fingers waaaaay too much. I've never used any sort of foam to work on, or thimbles, so my fingers tend to get quite poked up when working on tiny, hard-to-hold things.            

Do you use undyed wool to do the bulkier bits of your creations? I made the larger dinosaur this way and am finding that the layer of colours over the top shifts around as it gets played with. It could be that I just didn't felt it on enough, or maybe the layer isn't thick enough?



Nope, never used undyed wool. I honestly don't have any, nor any source of affordable wool. I just use the roving that I buy from WeirCrafts (some of which actually comes from New Zealand!).I also don't really start with rudimentary shapes. I start with a ball of fluff and just start poking at it and adding more as I go. It's how my brain works. For example, when my brother would sit to draw something, he'd sketch out the basic shapes and form, and then add more and more detail. Me? I just start drawing and erase and re-draw as things look wrong. I can't identify basic shapes like he can.

I did use a base of white roving when I made my grandfather's bluebird, and that didn't seem to mess with it too much. The layers seemed pretty well stuck together. I think the key is to keep the inner filler really loose. If you tightening it up too much before you add the next layer, it doesn't seem to meld as well...kind of like when trying to add wool roving to wool felt... It kind of works, but it's not nearly as well attached. The more felted something is, the harder it seems to be for something else to be felted to it.


(The bird I made for my grandfather. The fairy was for my grandfather, and I needle felted the winds and blue rose dress.)

Another problem I see when using a core of a different color, especially if the object is small, is that sometimes the color mixes together in ways you wouldn't want...like having white show up on a black dragon. So, just to be on the safe side, I use only the colors I'd want visible in the final product.

I've never felted with wire. Maybe I will try making a dragon one day this way.



I like the wire because it makes the thing bendable and pose-able. Some people don't like using wire, I guess, because it's harder to poke through. I guess since I've always used it, it doesn't bother me too much. And, when there's wire in the middle of something, sometimes it shows through, especially with pipecleaners, as they are fluffy. I see this a lot with my dragon's feet/legs, and I have to be really careful felting there to get it covered over.

What type of needles do you use? When I first started out, I used the Clover ones that I could find in my local craft store. But they kept breaking (probably largely to my novice-level abilities). I was sick and tired of spending so much money on needles that kept breaking, that I bought the Z-Color needles. It was $8 for 60 needles, and I figured for that price, even if I broke them all quickly, I'd still be saving money. I still haven't broke one of them!

Do you use one of those felting pens? I used the pink Clover Felting Pen that holds three needles. And, I loved it...but then I realized I really like the control I have when I just use on needle. It takes longer, but I think I'm able to do a better job with out the pen than with it.
 
Kate Downham
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I use a bit of foam for my needle felting. It helps me to do flat things (although I imagine wet-felting might be better for doing this). I have thimbles but feel a bit awkward using them, so I am just very careful when I'm felting instead.

I make waldorf dolls as well (not very well though), so I have undyed wool that I use for stuffing them here. There's no shortage of wool here in Australia!

I just have a single-needle felting pen, and the set of needles in different sizes that came with the kit I started with. One of them is a 'star' needle which is a bit more quick to work with than the others, I like it a lot. I'm still getting a hang on which size needle is best for which task, and generally use the middle-sized ones the most, with the tiny ones used for finishing.

Now I just need to work out how to stop toddlers from climbing on me when I'm felting!
 
Nicole Alderman
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I've heard about that star felting needle! I'm thinking I'll put that on my Christmas list, as I can't justify buying more needles when I have a good 60 of them! I tend to use the medium size the most, too.

I've not made a Waldorf doll yet! I'd love to see yours. If my daughter didn't already have SO MANY dolls, I'd make one for her.

As for keeping toddlers off, I wish I had tips. I usually resort to needle felting standing up. Sometimes I bring the felt, needles, and dragon with me and we go for a walk and I felt as I walk. It talks longer to felt that way than if I got to sit...but the instant I sit, a certain little one wants milk, or a book, or to poke with the needle or all three! I also have a problem keeping the roving away from them. They home in on it like a missile and next thing I know it's on the floor and I have to pick lint out of it. Sigh.
 
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My first-time needle felting.  

We had some leftover felt from a project we were working on, so I attempted to make coasters.  

Now I'm wondering if it is possible to needle felt dryer balls.
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needle felted coasters flower designs on white background wool
 
Nicole Alderman
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What a great idea, Raven! Now you got me wanting to needle-felt some oven mitts!

And, I'm pretty sure one could needle felt a dryer ball. I'm not certain it would be faster than felting it the other way. But, one probably doesn't have to get it perfectly felted to make a dryer ball--just get it in a round shape and it could felt even more in the dryer as load after load gets done, right?
 
Kate Downham
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Inspired by Nicole's technique of making a frame out of pipecleaners, I made a T-rex!

I also made a house for needle felt ladybirds to live in, but that was out of wet felting so maybe I should start a wet felting or natural handmade toys thread...
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child playing with needle felted dragons natural wool non-toxic toys
 
Nicole Alderman
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I'd love to see a picture of your lady bug house! I still haven't figured out wet felting. I tried to make a top hat for my husband with wet felting, and it kept getting misshapen and falling apart. I ended up forming it on an upside-down plastic pot that had it's bottom cut out, and just stabbing sideways over and over and over and over and over again with the felting needles. Way frustrating! And, it's still not tight enough!
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needle-felted, wet felted black tophat steampunk
One must have a silly expression when wearing tophat!
 
Nicole Alderman
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My grandfather loves birdwatching, and the apartment he's at now doesn't really have any birds. So, I needled felted one! I'm a bit at a loss for what to do for feet, as most people just put on plastic feet or clay-sculpted feet, and I really like my creations to all be wool...but that's hard to make feet with!


Someone also asked me to make a rainbow unicorn. I used cotton embroidery floss and tied it to the wire and then felted around it with white wool. It took a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG time, and I learned a LOT about horse anatomy....and got really frustrated that people don't go taking pictures of the top of horses. I needed that perspective to make the horse be well porportioned!

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white and rainbow unicorn needle-felted wool
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needle-felted-chickadee
 
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My 3rd wet felting project on my handsome husband.  Haven’t tried needle felting yet. It could become addictive.
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wet-felted hat
 
Nicole Alderman
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Kris schulenburg wrote:My 3rd wet felting project on my handsome husband.  Haven’t tried needle felting yet. It could become addictive.



I would LOVE to know your technique! My husband's hat needs some serious firming up, and I'm not sure how to go about it!
 
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Wet felting was my first experience with felting, and I really enjoy it. I have a couple ideas, for your next felt hat, but I don't think I could hold a candle to Kris' technique! That's beautiful!
 
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Sorry I just saw the reply’s. I am a Luddite and don’t know how to ad the links. Lol. I really didn’t felt this quite enough it is supposed to shrink 1/4 to 1/3rd. I learned from YouTube. Rosemaries Basics is great and she uses her own raw wool and just washes it as she felts. Saves a tone of time on washing and carding.
Body of Knowledge is another channel that has great info. She is very sophisticated and does pretty high end stuff.
This is the resist I used. Cut out of a feed sack. Just a cylinder and the top is rounded but becomes flat when you take the resist out. Then just fold the bottom up like a cuff.
Thanks for the kind words. You all have beautiful work. That top hat is quite a project. It looks great.
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pattern resist made from feed sack for wet felting
 
Nicole Alderman
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Only the heads on these are needle felted, but I just had to share them somewhere!

As part of a birthday present for my daughter, I'm making needle-felted versions of us all (she'll go for a treasure hunt, like her brother did when he turned 3). I was going to make these as fairies, but my daughter saw me making them, and insisted that they look like us, without wings. So, maybe they're elves instead! Or just dolls. I don't know!

When I tried to make my daughter, I realized that I didn't have any embroidery floss in her hair color. BUT, I had roving and wool cards from Judith Browning, and a hand spindle from Raven's kickstarter. I mixed the rovings with some other rovings I had, and spun some very thin yarn/floss (I didn't know I could do that!). Then wrapped it around a pipe cleaner and steamed it in a pot, and then ironed it dry. Wa-la! I had curls that matched my daughter's flaxen ringlets!
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mother-daughter pink and purple waldorf dolls
Myself and my daughter
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I have grown an apple!
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My little daughter doll, made possible by Judith and Raven!
 
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Nicole, you are so CREATIVE and talented! I love your mini family!
 
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Nicole Alderman wrote:

And, I'm pretty sure one could needle felt a dryer ball. I'm not certain it would be faster than felting it the other way. But, one probably doesn't have to get it perfectly felted to make a dryer ball--just get it in a round shape and it could felt even more in the dryer as load after load gets done, right?



I made some by taking some wool yarn and putting it into a ball shape, then once I had it the size I wanted, I used the felting needle to hold all of the strands together. I’ve been using them for a few years, with no issues other than sometimes the ends pop out, or a weird section of it gets loose. I just get out my needles and poke it all back together and it’s fine again.
 
Carla Burke
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Lulubelle Davis wrote:

Nicole Alderman wrote:

And, I'm pretty sure one could needle felt a dryer ball. I'm not certain it would be faster than felting it the other way. But, one probably doesn't have to get it perfectly felted to make a dryer ball--just get it in a round shape and it could felt even more in the dryer as load after load gets done, right?



I made some by taking some wool yarn and putting it into a ball shape, then once I had it the size I wanted, I used the felting needle to hold all of the strands together. I’ve been using them for a few years, with no issues other than sometimes the ends pop out, or a weird section of it gets loose. I just get out my needles and poke it all back together and it’s fine again.



An easy way to make them round and add a bit of weight to them, plus sparing some of the precious (to me, at least, lol) roving, is to start with a tennis ball, in the center, and build up, from there. I found a brand new can of tennis balls at a Goodwill store, years ago, and did this. They're great, at last seemingly forever.
 
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Nicole they are so so sweet! I can't wait to see the rest of the 'family'

You just keep getting better and better!

Kris, I love the felted hat...Wonderful work!

I follow this thread even though I have no interest in making anything out of wool anymore.
I just love seeing what others are doing and all of the creative ideas...
 
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I love Needle felting! It's hard to get the wool roving in decent quantities where I live, but well worth it when I have a good supply. It's been a great way to make toys for my kids. These are a few photos of favourite projects, a sushi set which I had originally kept in a bento box, but it broke. I made a similar kosher set for a friends daughter that had edamame beans and tofu. I have made little bunnies and things but I am most proud of a set of petri dishes filled with mould I made for my science obsessed son one christmas!
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needle-felted sushi and cookie toys
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needle-felted wool petri dish
 
Nicole Alderman
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Judith Browning wrote:Nicole they are so so sweet! I can't wait to see the rest of the 'family' :)



Family finished! I had fun taking them for a photoshoot the day before my daughter's birthday...only to lose the little mini-daugher and spend hours with all of us looking, give up searching, get another one almost completely made (it was missing just a few curls), when it miraculously appeared in a place all of us had looked at least 10 times. Craziness!

There's a few more pictures of them on there Treasure Hunt, here :D
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waldorf fairies dolls teacup family
My daughter loves putting them in a teacup and pretending they're on one of those carnival rides
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needle-felted wool dolls natural family rocks log
Playing by the river Okay, I stuck them in the gravel pit with a stick, but it somehow LOOKS like the river!
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needle-felted doll family mushroom hunting
This pretty well summarizes my family. My son with his stick, my daughter climbing things, my husband literally hanging from things, and me just making sure everyone is safe!
 
Nicole Alderman
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My grandmother asked for a bird for her birthday, to go along with my grandpa's birds. I remember how she always liked cardinals, and so I made her one! (I ended up changing the beak to orange after these pictures, but didn't take new pictures.)
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needle-felted cardinal in red apple tree
 
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Nicole I love that you made your family! I have to try that!
 
Nicole Alderman
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They're really fund and rather addictive. I made mine in the "pipecleaner fairy" style. but with a needle felted ball for a head rather than a wood bead. I love being able to sew on the hair so it looks just right, rather than it being a spout coming out the top. I wrap the pipecleaners with 2 or 3 layers of embroidery floss, just to make it more durable. With just one layer, the pipe cleaner tends to peak through, and it's easier to wear out the pipecleaner wire. I'll have to do a tutorial sometime! There are quite a few tutorials out there already, though. Just search "pipecleaner fairy" to get the general idea!
 
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Have you tried needle felting over a pipecleaner 'skeleton' ? I made a dinosaur and a bunny this way... the felt completely covers the wire and makes it bendy. You just have to make sure you don't directly poke the needle into the wire. You sort of poke as you wrap... i hand roll around and then tighten in all with the needle or shallow needlefelt it.
 
Nicole Alderman
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I have! That's how I make my dragons. I find it hard on small figures with thin arms/legs. The little fairies are pretty small (about 2.5 inches, I think), so I find it easier and less time-consuming to wrap with embroidery floss. But, if I made them larger, I'd needle felt the arms and legs. Actually did that on the Paul figure

Paul and Mini-Paul and Dragon Companion


 
Nicole Alderman
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I'm trying to make a tiny version of someone's rooster. Did I do it? Anything that needs fixing? I'm still a bit puzzled as for how to do the feet--should I try to add pink, or just make them solid white?
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black and white rooster green lawn
Actual rooster
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needle-felted black and white rooster
needle-felted rooster
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rooster standing on the bench I made!
rooster standing on the bench I made!
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Victoire Peverill
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Oh very nice!
Yes i think you do think you need to add some feet... Though the most important things are there!
Well done!
 
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I think it would be ok, left as is - but, a bit of pink on the feet would be just that bit more defining. I love the pic Paul, miniPaul, and dragon!!!
 
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OMG I love mini Paul and his dragon! And your mini family, and the horse! Nicole and everyone on this thread, you are all so inspiring. Time to order some needles and roving!
 
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The rooster was lonely and needed a hen. So, now he has one! (I still need to touch up their toes/legs, but they're almost done!)

I need to work on holding cellphone's steady. It's a lot harder to hold still than something I can put up to my eye like a camera with a viewfinder.

The shiny, opalescent white felt I was given also photographs really weirdly!
20191118_152820.jpg
needle felted rooster and hen on moss in forest
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white wool hen and rooster pair on log bench
 
Nicole Alderman
master steward
Posts: 11361
Location: Pacific Northwest
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hugelkultur kids cat duck forest garden foraging fiber arts sheep wood heat homestead
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I keep forgetting to post this! Those two chickens had gotten nesty and laid themselves some eggs! (Don't ask me how the hen managed to lay eggs of so many different colors....she probably doesn't want everyone to know that she took over the communal chicken nest and is claiming all the eggs as hers!)

 
Kris schulenburg
pollinator
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Location: Henry County Ky Zone 6
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Another wet felted hat. Lamb wool on the inside and Icelandic ram wool on the outside. So hopefully it isn’t scratchy.
A5451A23-14D0-4C8B-AF1D-6C6ED3609B0D.jpeg
[Thumbnail for A5451A23-14D0-4C8B-AF1D-6C6ED3609B0D.jpeg]
 
A "dutch baby" is not a baby. But this tiny ad is baby sized:
HARDY FRUIT TREES FOR ORGANIC AND PERMACULTURE
https://permies.com/t/132540/HARDY-FRUIT-TREES-ORGANIC-PERMACULTURE
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