My new obsession…Needle Felting!!
I saw work and totally fell in love. It took me a while to realize that "felted" did not mean sewn together with pieces of felt. I kept looking at her work and wondered where the seams/stitches were and it baffled me! >u< Felted means that the piece was created by using a special felting needle. The needle has barbs on the end so when you stab a piece of wool, the fibers of the wool become interlocked and are "felted" together.
Here is some basic info that I would like to pass along to anyone interested in learning this craft!! ^u^ I do not recommend Needle Felting to young children, the felting needles are very sharp!!
• dense foam pad or a thick sponge or styrofoam
• felting needles
• variety of wool colors
• eyes and embellishments, if you like!
Here is a great "basic" starter kit. It has two felting needles and piece of styrofoam. I started out with this kit from Hobby Lobby, but their website is down, so I'm linking to the Michael's site here. I used a 40% off coupon and saved a lot! ^____^
I moved on to a 3" foam seat cushion from Hobby Lobby, but after a while of needle felting, I realized I was creating a crater in the foam and that some foam was getting stuck in my pieces. TTuTT
I ended up buying a 12"x9"x1.5" dense foam pad from an Etsy shop called DreamFelt. She has 3 sizes of foam pads (12"x9"x1.5" and 9"x6"x1.5" and a 6"x4.5"x1.5").
I highly recommend taking a regular piece of felt and putting that on top of your foam. It helps keep some of the wool fibers out of the foam. If you find that your foam has a lot of wool stuck in it, you can use an old hairbrush with plastic bristles to remove some of the fibers.
You can also use a clean sponge or extra styrofoam, but make sure it's a thick otherwise you'll stab through it!
Next needles, I started out with the two from the kit I purchased, but after awhile I wanted some variety of different size needles!
I bought from this Etsy shop, BethanyFeltingArts. She has a variety of needles and is very moderately priced!
I bought one that had 16 needles and a wooden holder, but it's not on her shop right now as of posting this. It came with Triangle needles (3 barbs each side) from 30 gauge to 42 gauge. The smaller the number, the larger the needle. The bigger the number, the finer the needle. I also bought Star and Spiral needles, Star needles have 4 barbs per side and Spiral needles have 2 barbs per side and are in a twisted shape. There are also Reverse Barb needles that you can use to give a plush a fuzzy look! Most people stick to Triangle needles and the 38 gauge Triangle is the most standard needle.
Here is basic info on the types of needles and their uses!
The MOST important thing to know about using the felting needles is to always stab in an up and down motion! NEVER bend or twist the needle at an angle. It will break!! Also watch your fingers, these needles are sharp! >u<
Remember to take a break every now and then, being hunched over for a while is hard on your back!
Honestly, I'm still learning about wool. I just found out within the last month that Merino wool is actually not ideal for needle felting. The fibers are so fine that it takes a really long time to felt. The plus side of Merino wool is that it is super soft and silky. If you can handle working a little longer on your wool, then have at it! I found that Corriedale wool is perfect. It's still on the softer side, but it felts much much quicker than Merino!! I buy ALL of my wool from WoolverineFibers (I adore that pun!) She is VERY moderately priced! I was buying 1/4 ounce of wool at Hobby Lobby and Michael's for about $2+ a pack. At WoolverineFibers, she has 2 ounces of wool for about $3.75 and it's $6 total with shipping. The more you buy from Etsy; the total shipping decreases! Michael's has 3.17oz pack of black and white wool for $9.99.
The wool from Hobby Lobby and Michael's is very poor quality. It's very very coarse and there is a lot of VM (vegetable matter) within the wool too. I highly recommend buying from WoolverineFibers! ^___^
For needle felting, it's best to watch videos on YouTube. That's how I learned!
Roll the wool as tightly as you can before you start stabbing the wool, this helps judge how big the piece will be! Also as the wool is felted, it will decrease in size by about a 1/4 to 1/3 of the original size, so keep that in mind!
Start with your largest needle first (like a 30 gauge) and decrease the needle size as you work. The 42 gauge is great for small details and finishing touches. As the wool becomes more felted, the more likely you will be able to see little dimples like on an orange, this means you need to decrease your needle size.
For small pieces, use a piece of corrugated cardboard to hold it in place and stab the edges. It saves your fingers!!!
I use a small metal awl to make a hole for my eyes which I purchase from a user on eBay. You can also make your own eyes using black polymer clay, an eyelet from jewelry making and the Sculpey glaze. After you make the hole, fit the eye in and make sure it's even and looks good, then I take the metal end of the eye and put it in the top of a glue bottle, I stick it into the plushie and it's done!
Here are some YouTube channels that I watch!
1127handcrafter has a bunch of plushie kits for needle felting. They also have a lot of wool in a bunch of colors! Pros: lots of colors Cons: more expensive & ships from China (takes forever)
Detailed Mudkip Tutorial & Abridged Mudkip Tutorial Both of these tutorials are by I stumbled across their work on a Reddit thread and their tips have seriously made needle felting a lot easier!
I use cookie cutters to trace onto the figure, I'm terrible at making circles, lol. I bought a 3 pack of circle clay cutters from Hobby Lobby for $1.99. The cookie cutters are actually more expensive than the clay cutters from the polymer clay aisle. XD
That's all I can think of right now. I will edit this if I come across any other tutorials or things that I've learned!