Anna is a crafter, sculptor, painter, miniaturist, props magician, soap maker, animator, production/ events, and interior designer.
How to Make Your First Needle Felting Craft
Needle felting is a fun and easy craft to master. You can create any shape you wish: All you need is a bit of creativity and patience. This craft involves felting, or poking a felting needle onto wool, interlocking the threads. You can make several pieces and felt them together to create your own masterpiece.
In this article, you'll learn how you can try this craft by making a simple duck (it looks just like a rubber ducky). It only requires two colors of wool. You can also try a sample pattern so you can practice making shapes before you make the duck. Good luck and happy felting!
To create this rubber ducky, you will need:
- wool (for this project, I used merino wool)
- push-pin eyes
- felting needle
- felting mat
- glue or thread (optional)
- fiberfill (optional)
How to Choose the Right Needles
It's best to use a felting needle. These needles are special because they're barbed. There is no substitute for these needles! They allow you to pull the strands and interlock the wool threads.
The needles come in different gauges; the higher the gauge, the finer the needle.
- Bigger Needles: Best used to condense the fibers into a denser ball or shape.
- Thinner Needles: Usually used for finishing or smoothening the surface.
These needles come in singles or clusters with a handle. The clusters are used on bigger shapes to make felting faster.
What Is a Felting Mat?
To protect your table from the sharp needles, you need to use a felting mat. You can use a sponge, a styrofoam sheet, or a brush.
Your Needle Felting Practice Run
First, you'll learn how to make a ball, and then you'll learn how to create some other shapes with patterns.
How to Make a Wool Ball
- Unravel your wool. Take about an inch thick of wool and roll it like a cotton ball.
- Place your finger protector on your thumb and pointer finger. This will protect your fingers in case you accidentally stab yourself with the needle.
- Keep on rolling the ball in different directions while poking it with the needle, making sure your ball is even and compact. You can use pure wool for this.
- Roll the ball in your palms after felting to make it evenly round.
How to Practice Shapes With Needle Felting Patterns
Here are four shapes you can practice with. Print out the sheet below and compare your shape by putting your wool on top. See if you are able to follow the shape or pattern. You can make your wool more compact by felting the shape longer, thus compacting it further. Some people prefer a dense shape; some prefer it softer.
Make these four shapes to familiarize yourself with:
- how to hold your needle
- working without the finger protector
- how to make indentations and uneven shapes
- adding a different color/shape component to the main body
Note: Eventually, you'll need to add on wool to create more dimension to the object. You have to add the wool gradually until you achieve the shape you want. When making animal faces, note that the side profile is just as important as the front view, so make sure that the shape is correct in proportion all around.
About the Duck Pattern
For the rubber ducky, you need to make 3 shapes. Print out the pattern with the corresponding dimensions. Use the pattern as a guide during felting.
You'll need to make:
- round head
- body shape
You will be attaching the three onto each other.
How to Make a Felted Rubber Ducky
For this project, I want to demonstrate how you can use a filler like fiberfill for the majority or bulk of the body. You can use solid wool as well. This is a good trick if you do not have enough wool or need cut down on cost, since fiberfill is a much cheaper material. So, this project will show you how to make not only an easy felting project but also more cost-effective one!
Create the Head and Body
- Gather fiberfill into a ball.
- Ball up your fiberfill by rolling it in your palms. Make sure it is somewhat even. It is ok if your fiberfill is bunching up a little in certain areas. Once you start felting, it will even out.
- Take your wool and spread it evenly.
- Wrap your wool around the fiberfill. If you are using pure wool, ball up the wool into a ball.
- With your needle (you can use a single needle), poke the duck body to attach the wool onto the fiberfill.
- Go around the entire thing to create an egg-shaped body. Put it against the pattern to see if the shape and size are correct. If there are areas that lack the yellow wool, keep on adding thin strands to those areas and keep poking your needle until everything is even.
- Do the same procedure for the head. Again, compare it to the pattern. This will ensure that your head and body are proportionate to each other.
Create the Duckbill
- Get a long strand of wool and fold it into itself until you have about a 2-inch long strip. Poke it with a needle until it is flat and compact.
- Use the pattern to compare the size and shape. Keep on felting until you get the basic bill shape. The end of the bill has to be flat, since you will be attaching this to the head.
- To attach it to the head, poke around the entire base of the bill.
- Insert your needle about halfway into the head to make sure that the strands intertwine.
- Go around the bill three times.
- Make sure that no orange strands are poking out the sides. The entire base of the bill needs to be very clean.
- Attach your head to the body—this could be done by felting or poking the needle at where the two shapes meet to intertwine their strands, or you can also sew the head onto the body or glue the two pieces together.
- Poke the eyes into place. You can add a bit of glue to keep them in place.
Anna Javier (author) on October 13, 2020:
Frank Atanacio from Shelton on October 13, 2020:
Wow.. Love the details .. Good .. No great hub..