Poke, poke, poke, poke, tuck, hold back and admire …. poke, poke, poke, poke. How simple is that??? Place little pieces of colorful wool on form, poke it in with a felting needle and ta-da! A frog … or a chicken … or a colorful mural takes life. The possibilities are endless.
Needle felting is a satisfying, mess free, take-it-with-you, craft. Think of it as sculpting. Special barbed felting needles are your sculpting tools. By repeatedly jabbing a felting needle in and out the barbs catch the scales on the fibers and push them through the layers of wool. This process tangles the fibers, binding them together much like the wet felting process – without the water, soap and large space needed to work on. Fine details can be achieved by directing the fibers with the tip of the needle, or by poking around “muscled” areas of the creature you are creating. Think about the underlying skeletal structure if you want a well-defined piece.
In our new Felting Kits you’ll find a tightly felted white wool egg to use as your base. Felting Eggs are designed to provide a solid wool base so you can explore this craft while keeping the sharp felting needle at a safe distance from your fingers. After you spread a thin layer of colored wool over the surface of your Felting Egg, place it on your Safety Mat ( a 3-4 inch piece of foam works well ) and jab your needle in and out through the loose fibers into the Egg. If you look closely at your needle, you will see that the barbs are only on the first inch, so you do not have to push the needle in very deep to make felt. As you repeat this motion, the fibers will adhere to the surface of your Felting Egg and become solid.
Tips & Techniques
The more you poke, the tighter your object becomes. The rapid motion of jabbing the wool with your felting needle tightens the fibers. So keep “shrinkage” in mind as you felt. Let’s say, for example you are adding the wool to the egg – the beginning process of all of our kits. You’ll want to cover the egg equally all around, jabbing closely together. Examine the egg as you go making sure the dyed wool is equally covering the egg, and that it maintains it’s “egg” shape. After completely covering the whole egg, you can also gently roll it around in your hands to tighten and smooth the wool.
Poke in an up and down motion, only pushing the needle in about an inch -or to the point where the barbs end. Though well made, needles can break if you are overly aggressive with them. Gentle, quick jabs are sufficient as the wool in our kits is from the down-type breeds of sheep – a easily felting wool.
When creating cheek & eye pieces, arms and legs -any pairs, create them at the same time so that you can compare their sizes and make them as equal as possible before felting them on your creature’s body. Create like pieces at the same time to make them equal.
If you are finding stray fibers around detailed areas such as they eyes, use the very tip of your felting needle to tuck them in to the areas where they belong. Gently poke them into place then jab a little harder to “fasten” them in.
The directions for our kits were designed for and tested many times by young and old alike. Each kit is unique as the wools are hand-dyed in small batches. Above all have fun with your work! Make each creature your own, embellish them, make them with your kids! And please share your work with us!