DIY: Needle Felting




Stuff You'll Need to Get Started

(all prices are what was listed at the time when I was writing this blog)

Featured in this blog:

Beginner Needle Felting Kit (with 16 colors of wool): $15.99

White or Ivory Wool Roving Wool (for your foundations): $4.75

Embroidery Scissors: $7
(I actually think everyone needs a few pairs of these around the house!  I also use them for eyebrow trimming).

Not featured in this blog (but you might want them anyway):

Wool Roving Set (36 colors): $12.35

Clover Needle Felting Pen Style Tool (holds 1-3 needles for faster felting):  $9.78

Needle Felting Workstation: $23.39

Finger Guards: $4.49


Stuff You Need to Know Before You Start


This is EASY!  Seriously.  Don't be intimidated by this.

You will stab yourself.
  It will happen.  The needles are very small and very sharp, so it really doesn't hurt all that bad (and I admit that I have stabbed myself quite deep because I was being overzealous, and made myself bleed preeeetty good).  Honestly, the poke reminds me of lancets from blood testing kits.  Just make sure that you're up on your tetanus booster, and you'll be fine!  Finger guards and felting mats (or a piece of cut sponge) help too. 

It's relaxing and cathartic.  Who doesn't want to sit and stab something over and over again in our current political climate?!  The cool thing is that you can *stab stab stab stab* and end up with a beautiful or adorable little sculpture when you're done! 

Your only limits are your patience and your imagination!
  Seriously.  Each project is going to take you longer than you think it will.  But, it also goes by way faster than you think it will, at the same time. 

There are LOTS of tutorials on YouTube (I'll post a few here in this blog).   So, if you need some inspiration or walk-throughs... that's the place to go to find them.  Please be sure to thank the people who take the time to give their knowledge to you for free (follow their channels or leave an encouraging comment on their video).

For your first project, I recommend doing a few hearts!
This video also walks you through each of the tools I have listed above (and the basics of needle felting). 
Video by Pufftique (link to her Blog)  


_____________________________________

  Something recently made me feel very nostalgic and reminded me of my high school pottery teacher (who was one of my earliest feminist icons because she was both fiercely independent and a truly gifted artistic person... plus, she gave zero fucks about whether anyone liked her and focused on teaching us art!)... so, I reached out and found her on Facebook (if you're reading this, Hi Chi!).  I loved that lady immensely because she made art challenging and rewarding for me.  She inspired me to try things on my own and explore creating.  She's just as awesome as I remember her!  A warrior for animal rights and rescue.  Being in contact with her again made me ache to start sculpting things. 

So, I'm in DAISO, last week, with Rex (Daiso is a Japanese store where just about everything is $1.50) and saw that they had a couple of little simple felting kits.  So, I thought that Rex and I would have fun playing with them.  I had been really interested in trying out needle felting for a few years, now, and this seemed like a great way to try it out without dumping a lot of money into something I might suck at (or hate).

We picked up three little sets: A Piggy, a Penguin and a Hedgehog (Hedgehog not pictured below). 


Daiso Felting Kits on Amazon (click image for link) 


I have been struggling with my back and leg pain a lot, lately, so the next day I was having a down day and thought it would be fun to start the Piggy. 
The kit came with a teenie bit of wool (arguably not enough) and a single felting needle.  It's a very very basic beginner "I just want to try this" kit. 
A few hours (and stabbed fingers) later I was hooked and wished that I had way more raw materials to play with so I could start making whatever weird things I wanted to make.  My piggy didn't turn out anything like the suggestion... and that's the story of my life, really... I take something "paint-by-numbers" and then add a whole lot of my own imagination and weirdness to it.  That evening I dove into making the penguin and Rex made his hedgehog. 



I popped online and started looking up what I would need to start doing just very basic needle felting projects. 

I ordered the combo pack of wool roving and supplies plus a much bigger pack of off-white wool roving roll. 

The kit is awesome (especially after working with the teenie tiny bit of fluff that came in the Daiso set).  It comes with quite a lot of wool as well as a little plastic box with all the beginner tools you really need to do this craft.  For $15 it's a serious steal!  The wool quality is very good (it's soft and silky compared to the rough cheap wool in the Daiso sets) and the colors are saturated and beautifully rich.
I love that the bag is reusable and decent quality. 

The wool tat comes with this set is awesome!  From what I understand you'd pay like $3 per color in this size if you were buying them individually from a craft store.  I highly recommend doing what I did and purchasing a cheaper lower quality ivory or white wool or synthetic wool to make the base of your project, and then add layers of colors over the base.  It will make your colorful wool roving last much longer and will make it so you can do much larger and detailed projects. 
I'm going to get the larger pack of colors, next, because I really want more options.  For now, I am really enjoying working with the colors that I have while I learn new techniques. 

This is A LOT of wool roving for a beginner!  Look at the colors.  Oooooo!
Don't be fooled by the small packs of wool!  There is a lot of roving in each of these tiny bags.  Plenty to do a variety of fun beginner projects with.  My piggy came with about 1/20th of the amount of wool shown, here.


I love that the kit comes in its own little organized case! 


Contents of the kit.
What comes in the kit (left to right):
An Awl
A needle handle (this pulls apart and you can put any sized felting needle in it)
A pack of 7 needles (plus the one that comes in the handle for a total of 8)
A glue stick (ok, I seriously have no idea what this is for without a glue gun)
A pack of nice quality black glass eyes
Two finger guards (they are small and funky, but they do work!)

Various felting needles.

The pack of felting needles comes with a nice variety of sizes.  I like to use the largest needles to start with when I am initially packing the wool base into a shape and want to get the job done quickly (it's much much faster than using the small needle that came with my Daiso kit).  Then once I have the firmness and shape that I want, I switch to a smaller needle to refine it. 

Left (the scissors that come with the kit)  Right (my preferred embroidery scissors)


FOX TUTORIAL VIDEO

So, I took my new kit and supplies and decided that I wanted to make a little foxy friend. 
I had watched this tutorial the night before, and decided that I was going to take the basic shape and idea and make my own. 

Left (Tutorial)                   Right (Mine)

The project is by Lauren Smallcalder. 
Here is a link to her Etsy for the PDF tutorial for the same project. 

This is seriously such a great beginner project!  It's easy to understand and she makes it very easy to follow her steps.  I personally started with a white base and then worked in the colors I wanted to use on top of that.  I also really wanted to experiment with making fluffy fur (because I had been looking at lots of incredible sculptures with realistic fur).  So, I took Lauren's awesome project and kinda expanded on it a bit. 

Here's a peek into the steps I took, to give you an idea of how you can find a project tutorial online and make it your own:



This would've been a fine stopping point, but I decided that I wanted to add more details the next day.
That's the other fun thing about needle felting!  You can make things as simple or as elaborate as you want.

I hope that you'll consider trying this fun and inexpensive craft project out for yourself! 
And, if we are friends on Facebook, please tag me in your projects because I can't wait to see what you create.

xoxox
Vivi



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