Quick guide to needle felting eyes onto your needle felting projects. This is just one version I like to use and it’s simple, pinky promise! I would recommend a 40 gauge finer needle for this but a 38 is also fine; just make sure the head is firmly felted.
First create your basic head shape (needs to be very firm) which will be a rough egg/oval shape Watch Video Tutorial For Basic Head Shape
Big or small the technique is just the same.
1 – Choose a light brown/orange (you can blend colours to get the right shade) for the first layer and felt on a circle (remember eyes are circles not ovals), to each side of the head. I like to use a photograph of the animal as a rough reference.
Use the same technique for larger projects. This one is a life size Snow Shoe hare.
2 – Roll two really small pieces of black wool between your fingers or use your fore finger and roll in the palm of your hand. Add to the centre of the eye and create a rough circle.
3 – Gently felt onto both eyes until even-ish and smooth-ish.
4 – Add some light into the eye by rolling the tiniest amount of white (no, smaller than that) between your fingers. Place it off centre and felt gently onto the black circle. If it disappears then pop a little more on the same spot. If it looks cross eyed when both eyes are done then remove (with a pin, not your needle) and re-position one of the pieces.
5 – Add some detail around the eye; take a very thin wisp of black/dark brown and felt very lightly around both eyes. Always use a length longer than you need as it will shorten as you poke around the eye. If there is a lose end then trim with scissors.
6 – More detail. This is entirely up to you but I have added some white/light grey to give it a loose finish and character.
7 – If you want to add some dimension you can create a brow by rolling a seed of wool between your fingers. Gently and loosely felt on, just above the eye.
8 – Keep the top layers nice and loose and very gently felted. You should hardly be penetrating the surface of the head for a more characterful finish. That way, if you are not happy with it, you can just tease the wool off (with a pin and not your needle) and start again. Practice makes perfect but there really are no right and wrong results. If you are happy with it then step away so as not to over felt it.
No stress advice: Don’t expect the next one to look the same. It never will!
Please visit the website or Etsy for needle felting kits, wool supplies, accessories and handmade ready to purchase.
These are the first eyes I ever needle felted back in 2014 and I still use the same technique. It’s simple and it works.
13 thoughts on “Realistic needle felted eyes in 8 easy steps”
Wow…love your tutorials and thanks so much for sharing. ..I am amazed how realist one can make eyes….but I have gone over to using toy eyes as they have that wet look that felted eyes just seem to lack. Especially when doing felted cats.
I agree. I think cats really need the glass eyes Jean. Thanks for your lovely message 💕
Wow, I’m off needle felting, addicted, just ordered loads of lovely Jacob wool, can’t wait for it to get here, thank you, your tutorials are so easy to follow, I’ve found a new passion, thanks again x
That’s so great to hear Sheryl. Happy felting! 😀
Thank you for all your help! I wanted to know where do you buy your wool from?
Hi. I use wool
From different family run or British independent suppliers. My favourite wool is grey Jacob and Shetland Moorit. If you search for these you will get a great choice of suppliers in the U.K. 🙂
Thank you so much for this it is a great help
You’re welcome. Glad you found it useful 🙂
I am new to felting. Thank you for taking your time to teach me and other new beginners.