Needle Felted Hedgehog Video Tutorial

Hedgehog needle felting kits are available on the Website and Etsy

So excited to introduce Colin Hedgehog, the newest member of the Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts tribe. The full needle felting kit to accompany this video is also available.

This is my version of our beloved hedgehog. More fun than you can shake a stick at? Not sure what that means but it is definitely a lot of fun.

Skill level: Complete beginners to intermediate
What you need: Enthusiasm!

So, make a cuppa, cut yourselves a slice of cake and join me for a full tutorial teaching you new tips, tricks and techniques as well as trying new wool and needles.

Bonus! if you are using the kit you get to make at least 3 Colin hedgehogs! What better way to spend a crafternoon…

Happy felting!

Shop hedgehog needle felting kit at: Website     Etsy Store

For all enquiries please message me at: Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts

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Video Tutorial: How to needle felt a firm head shape

A short video (only 12 minutes) to help you improve your needle felting techniques.

When needle felting a head (animals or people) it is important to make sure you have a really firm shape. If you have a soft head then when you start to add the features you will distort or flatten the wool.

It is one of the most common mistakes (apart from floppy legs) but very easy to get right. As with all things, practice makes perfect, but needle felting does allow for mistakes because you can just add another layer. Just remember the golden rule: Start smaller and build your shape up and you can add but not take away. If you start too big and have to keep adding you will end up with a head the size of a football and then have to make a body to match! We are now talking life size sheep or giant hares that will just scare everyone, especially the dog or cat…

My best advice: Be patient. Don’t try to run before you can walk. Get the basics right and the rest will follow. Yes, I know your bestie, family member or work colleague wants a sculpture of their dog making after seeing a flower brooch you made? However, anything worth doing takes time. If it didn’t we would all be taking David Bailey quality photographs after an hours tutorial, or be able to put in a whole plumbing system after fixing a leaky tap… Most definitely, very soon we would all be very bored of hearing about each others achievements and stop making the effort.

Happy creating!

 

 

Video Tutorial: How to needle felt firm legs

One of the questions I get asked the most is, “how do I get my legs really firm?” In the needle felting world  floppy and saggy legs on your animals are a no, no! They are the finishing touches that add stability and dimension to your animal so don’t spoil it by being impatient and not taking the time it needs to get it right (approx 10 to 15 minutes for each leg). My short, real time video tutorial quickly teaches you how to avoid common needle felting mistakes by showing you the tips and needle felting hacks I have learned along the way. Hope it helps you improve your needle felting skills and remember: You can add wool but not take it away!

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Video Tutorial: Needle felted pumpkin No.2

Thought I would put a second pumpkin video together for you. This time I am using wool batting sheets which require very little needle felting and are ideal for pumpkins and soft sculpture; particularly when using wire armatures. I use them for my own pumpkins because they are simple and relaxing to make whilst producing show stopping seasonal decor.

Wool batting differs only in the way it is processed.  Wool is carded into big lofty, springy sheets with fibres going in all directions. Wool tops (often referred to as roving) are long lengths of wool where the fibres are brushed into long smooth lengths, usually the thickness of your wrist. I use wool top (or roving) for my own animal sculptures and needle felting kits.

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Batting sheets and wool tops

All the wool I use in the video is available to purchase as one bundle: Website   Etsy

Happy Felting and feel free to ask questions in the comments below.

Video for using batting to wrap wire armature coming soon!

I have used Perendale and ethically sourced Merino batts from non mulesed sheep.

Go Big Or Go Gnome!

Hope your Saturday afternoon was a good one! This was mine. The hat on the large gnome was problematic but a wire through the head (brutal I know) soon fettled it. It seems odd to be making gnomes in the hot August sunshine but I like to plan ahead. To be honest I can’t think of a nicer way to spend the afternoon; well, maybe a cocktail bar in the Bahamas but you can’t have everything…

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Video Tutorial: Needle felted pumpkin No.1

How to make a needle felted pumpkin:

Quick and easy needle felting tutorial for beginners. This tutorial uses all the lush colours in the Autumn bundle pumpkin pack. Wool is Shetland and ethically sourced Corriedale. Click to shop Autumn Wool Bundle

Enjoy!

 

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Now you have got the hang of it there is no stopping you and no end of pumpkin styles you can try!

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What Felting Needles Should I Use?

It’s the one thing that gets us all really confused. A gauge for this, a spiral star or triangle for that. What’ s the difference between a size 32 and size 38 and what on earth do I do with this reverse needle felting needle I bought???

Well, stop tearing your hair out because I am going to give you the short version and what I like to use, as my own personal preferences. I will also tell you about the felting needle tools I couldn’t live without!

In short, needle sizes work like this: The higher the number, the finer the needle and needle sizes range from as low as 19 up to 42. You will hear them referred to as triangular: 3 sides Star: 4 sides and, new kid on the block, the spiral needle.

I won’t bore you with a size guide and their numerous uses  as you can find them all over the internet and they are very useful if you are having trouble sleeping…

All comments welcome on what your own preferences are.

All the needles and accessories discussed are available on the Website and Etsy

WHAT DO I LIKE TO USE?

38 and 36 star for basic shapes: Good all rounders and less prone to breakage.

38 or a 36 star and both can be used to create and finish your basic 3D needle felted project. I use 38 star needles (I like the four sides for faster felting) all the time so naturally, they are the ones I also use in my kits. However, it is down to personal preference and a 36 is just as good although a little too heavy, for my liking, on the finer finishing and facial details.

Top tip: Reduce needle marks by inserting your needle diagonally when finishing/smoothing the top layer. Rolling the body part in your hands (before attaching) is the fastest and most efficient way of smoothing your piece; your hands are just as important a tool as your needle!

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38 star needle for basic shapes

40 triangle is ideal for much finer detail: Bends more easily so don’t be heavy handed with it.

I use this when I am finishing delicate eye and nose detail. Especially if the head is quite soft and I don’t want to distort the lovely shape I have made. It is also great for reducing needle marks on the top layer. You will notice that this needle is thinner, bends more easily than the 36/38 and is much more prone to breakage if bent too much. Top tip: Be careful when using it around a wire armature to avoid breakage

 

Reverse felting needle: Barbs go in the opposite direction and pull the felted wool back out

It took me a while to get used to this one as I was expecting something more dramatic. However, now I have used it for a while I just love subtle effect it gives to, an otherwise, smooth finish. It all depends what wool you are using but I used mine recently to rough up the top of my moon gazing hares head to add character and dimension. I think it worked really well… The wool is natural Grey Jacob and you will find it in a lot of my kits; one of my favourite wool’s to needle felt with. I also include it in my Flamingo needle felting kit to ‘fluff’ up the body and base of the neck. Also great for use on 3D cats and dogs.

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Reverse felting needle used for top of the head
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See how the wool at the base of the neck has been pulled back out…

New kid on the block is the ‘spiral needle’

Not much to say on this one. I have tried this needle a few times but, to be honest, end up going back to my 38 or 36 star. It is just personal preference but I really didn’t notice the difference? Probably best for top coat finishing as it is less likely to show needle marks due to it’s ‘twisted’ needle. However, I have only tried one size so all comments on your own experience of these are welcome.

My favourite tools

None of the following are necessary but I use them all the time for certain projects and they really help speed up the felting process. Especially useful if you are now a needle felting addict (you know who you are…) and unofficial member of the Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts NFA group, ‘Needle Felters Anonymous’. Hmm, I’m thinking T-shirts and badges…

Wooden needle holder (Tulip holder): Can be bought with 3 or 4 needle holes, uses standard needles (supplied) and needles are removable and interchangeable.

My preference is the 3 needle holder (using 38 or 40 triangular or star) because it can be used for starting off your 3D shapes quickly as well as being used for flat felting e.g. big bunny or hare ears. Top tip: If flat felting using a coarser needle such as a 36 or 34 will speed up the process.

 

Felting Pen

Does pretty much the same as the wooden needle holder (above) but also works really well on wool batts and the rice bag felting mats. Save money: You will see these in pink (Clover tool) and blue. The blue is half the price of the pink and the difference…one is from Hong Kong and one is from China?

 

Multi tool/punch tool

Bring on the big guns! 7 needles (replaceable and interchangeable) with retractable guard. I can’t tell you how much I use this for flat felting ears, brooches, legs (before they are rolled and shaped), pictures etc. I use this one on my felting rice mat, it doesn’t work as well on bouncy foam, and it powers through ears, wings, legs, gnome hats, poppy/flower petals, pictures at a rate of knots! Top tip: Ideal for teaching the kids because of the locking, retractable guard and much less prone to breakage. Save money: Same applies as for the felting pen above

 

 

Single needle holder

I rarely use mine but it is very useful if your fingers are sensitive to the thin top of the felting needle and you are felting for long periods.

 

Felting rice bag

I use it for all of the above as well as my foam. I make my own Hessian felting mats and they are available in the shop; just add 2/3lbs of Basmati organic, free range rice…just kidding, any rice will do.

Happy creating and please watch those fingers (not Netflix) as it hurts!

Follow button below and for all comments and questions just hit the button on the top left of the page.

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Felting Animal Eyes – Easy Step By Step Guide

Quick guide to needle felting eyes onto your hare. 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.

First create your basic head shape (needs to be very firm) which will be like a long oval; see video and blog post on basic shapes

Basic shape video

Basic shape tutorial

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.

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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.

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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 loos 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.

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How To Needle Felt A Basic Body Shape

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See photographs below:

1 & 2: Start with a long length of wool and roll into a TIGHT rough oval/cylinder shape, stopping and tucking in the ends as you go; to get it really tight, push down into the foam pad or whatever surface you are using.  Do not start to poke with the needle until you have rolled half way. If it is loose, unroll and start again. This will save you so much felting time and give more control over the shape.

Top tip: Start with less than you need and add to it as you go; you can add but not take away! Stab the wool as you turn – this is the felting process which tangles and locks the fibres together – keeping the needle straight until the wool fibres start to lock together and it starts to holds its shape. Keep turning as you felt so as not to make dents in one part of the body.

3: Continue to felt until you have achieved the desired shape and size for your project

4 When you have achieved a rough oval shape (the narrower end will usually become the neck of the body) gently roll it between your hands; this helps to smooth and shape the body and covers any deep needle marks.

Tip: If you are using Merino, which is a much finer wool, you will need more wool and usually have more needle marks. It will also take longer to felt. I prefer to needle felt with a more robust wool which is much more forgiving. Some of my favourites are Grey Jacob, Shetland, 56’s English, Swaledale, and Lincoln; all natural and un-dyed. If it is colour you want then Corriedale is a good compromise as it is a blend of Merino and Lincoln and comes in a large range of colours. N.B Make sure your Corriedale uses ethically sourced Merino from non- mulesed sheep. It is easy to get hold of and should cost only a few pennies more, if that?

Now you have your basic shape, continue to felt whilst turning the wider end and felt it flatter underneath to help your finished animal to sit; the legs and tail (if required) will also assist with this.  Your finished body shape should be soft but springs back to shape when you squeeze it.

I have used a dark brown dyed Shetland wool in the tutorial photographs below and 38 gauge start needle (good all rounder and the ones I put in all my needle felting kits). However, this is personal preference and a 36 triangular would also do the job just as well. Tip: The higher the number the finer the needle

Featured photo (top) is light grey natural Swaledale and it is sat on a home made hessian rice bag.

how to make a body shape

Top tip: Don’t worry if you have created a lumpy look due to over felting in one area. You can fix this by laying a very thin top layer of wool (see below) and gently felting all over that area until it is just secured and lightly felted on. Expect this to happen; you are just learning and you will continue to do this even as an experienced needle needle felter. The beauty of needle felting is that the majority of issues can usually be fixed; the biggest problem is caused by starting with too much wool…less is always more!

Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts website

Lincolnshire Fenn crafts on Etsy

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Needle Felted Nordic Gnome Tutorial

Gnome needle felting kit is available on the Website and Etsy

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Nordic and Scandinavian style decor is so popular and I just love it. What I especially love are the charming Nordic gnomes. You may also see them referred to as Nisse, Tomte and Tonttu. Our house is full of them and they are super easy so here’s a tutorial for you.

If you have never needle felted before or are an experienced felter this is a wonderful way to start and get you in the festive mood. It’s simple and relaxing and so much fun to make.

This is just one style to get you started but there are so many variations that soon, like me, you will be tripping over them. So grab a cuppa, mince pie and some festive cheer and get creating:

1 – Hat: Make this first so you can make the body to fit; much easier than trying to fit the hat to the body! You can go as small or tall as you like but this hat, when completed, is approx 20cm.My triangle template measurements are approx; base 10cm (slightly curved) and sides 12cm with a good few cm around each side. The wool I have used is Shetland.

Lay your triangle on top of your length of wool which is a decent thickness with a few extra centimetres of wool around each side. Tip; make sure your layer is a decent thickness so there are no thin, see through areas when felted.

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2 – ‘Draw’ a line around the triangle with your needle to create a very rough outline

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3 – Remove template and draw around the line a couple more times. This will be your fold line.

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4 – Fold in the sides one at a time and start to felt to create a triangle; it will be a very rough shape to start with but you will tidy this up as the wool becomes more felted so stop fiddling with it!

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5 – Gently fold and felt each side until you have this rough shape; keep the excess at the top of your triangle because this is going to create your lovely pointy hat shape.

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6 – Gently pull away from the base you are using, turn and repeat. Tip; any felting base will do (foam, rice bag etc), whatever your preference.

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7 – Keep repeating the process until it starts to firm up.

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8 – Time to tidy up the shape; use your finger to fold in the sides that need straightening (doesn’t have to be perfect). Be slow and careful so as not to stab your finger; you can use a finger guard but I find they just annoy me. However, I have lots of customers who get on with them just fine.

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9 – Your approx finished triangle which should be soft but firm and holds its shape.

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10 – Fold in half and felt along the side to mesh the fibres together. Keep turning and repeating until the hat is now firmly felted along the side so it doesn’t pull apart when you gently pull it.

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11 – Open up the base of the hat and tidy up the line by folding in any rough edges and felting. Keep turning and felting until you are happy with the shape at the base of your Tomte hat.

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12 – Roll just the top 2/3 cm of your hat between the palm of your hands to firm up the top and point. This improves the look as well as allowing you to tip the point over to the side at a jaunty angle.

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Basic Body Shape

Body shapes don’t get much easier than this. Don’t be too precious about needle marks and dimples because most of this will be covered by its big beard.

1 – Roll your wool (I have used natural white Shetland) into a basic barrel shape. It will do this automatically as you start to roll. Start with less than you need and build it up.

Most important! Do not start to felt with your needle until you have rolled at least half of it really tightly; trust me, this will save you a lot of felting time and applies to all body shapes made this way!

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2 – Start stabbing all over with your needle (mind your fingers) as you continue to roll and remember to keep it tight. Tip: Check to see if your hat sits on top and if the body is too small add some more wool and felt again. If it’s too big then continue to felt where the hat will sit to reduce the size.

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3 – Continue to turn and felt until you have a more even and neater shape. You may end up with a narrower end which is fine because you will pop the hat onto this. Pay particular attention to the base which needs to be flat for stability. Tip; you can also press on the base once felted as the wool is pretty malleable.

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4 – Flatten the base until it sits without wobbling.

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5 – Pop on your hat and felt, gently, all around the edge until it is felted securely onto the body making sure the hat seam is at the back.

 

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6 – Make the nose by rolling a pinch of white or flesh coloured wool in your hands just to rough it up. Place on your mat and continue to felt with your needle, turning all the time. Now place back into the palm of your hands and roll vigorously until really firm and smooth. Tip; you may have to do this a couple of times to get it right as it is very easy to add too much wool and have a huge nose if you have never needle felted before. Less is always more when it comes to needle felting.

7 – Place the nose on its side, just under the front of the hat and felt the end into the body.

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9 – As you do this the nose will naturally rise into its correct position. Continue to felt around the base until it is firmly attached. The base of the hat should be sat just above the nose.

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10 – Decide what type of beard you are going to have. I have used grey Jacob but use whatever colour you wish. Curly locks also look really great.

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11 – If using a straight wool pull off a small section and fold in half and start by felting it onto the body just under the nose. Don’t worry about it being longer than the body because you will trim it to size (or not) once it is attached.

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12 – Continue to felt along the fold and attach it up the side of the nose and along the hat line. Tip; you can push the wool under the hat line with your needle (don’t bend it or  you may break the needle) for a neater finish.

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13 – Now trim your beard to your desired shape and style. I like mine quite ‘raggy’ so once I have got the length I then snip into the sides.

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There you have it. One fabulous Tomte Christmas gnome! You can crease the hat or keep it straight. I like both. Told you it was easy!

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But why would you stop there…The variations and colours are endless!

Gnome needle felting kits are available on the Website and Etsy

If you would like to see more of these types of tutorial don’t forget to leave a comment.

For all enquiries please message me at:

Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts

VIP subscribers receive exclusive access to discount codes, promotions and flash sales: SUBSCRIBE

 

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If you would like to see more of these types of tutorial don’t forget to leave a comment.

For all enquiries please message me at: Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts

VIP subscribers receive exclusive access to discount codes, promotions and flash sales: SUBSCRIBE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Needle felting eyes: adding detail and dimension.

Needle felting animal eyes: The devil really is in the detail and once you know the little tricks to make them pop, and give them some dimension, it really is super easy! Here’s a helpful tip to get you going…

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Give your projects more dimension by raising the eyebrow. Just add a seed shape of wool above the eye and gently felt into place. The results can be subtle or dramatic; either way it is so simple and adds a great finish to the eye.

As you can see with the fox eyebrows, I have blended lighter and slightly darker colours. This stops them from disappearing into the face and also photographs so much better. Just try different styles and see what works for you.

 

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Roll a small piece of wool into a seed shape by rolling in the palm of your hand with your fore finger

 

 

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Gently felt in place just above the eye

 

 

How To Needle Felt Animal Ears

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How to make ears.
Ears, especially smaller ones, can be a real faff so I was incredibly happy to find this great tip on the internet a few years ago. These are fox ears but the technique can be applied to pretty much any flat shape. Happy felting!

These ears are for a 15cm tall fox (including the ears) so adapt for your size.

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1: Start by laying a thin layer of wool across your foam/pad and roughly ‘draw’ the ear shape (triangle approx. 3 to 4 cm high) onto the wool with your felting needle and leave the ends loose where they will attach to the head.

2,3 and 4: Now fold both sides across to the centre of the ear and continue to felt gently, turning regularly until you have your approximate ear size and shape. Your finished ear should be loose at one end.  If there is too much loose wool pull it gently away from the base.

5: Add a few wisps of white for detail Tip: You can be as creative as you want with the ears so make them bigger/smaller and add as much or as little detail as you wish.

6: Now your ears are firm enough to hold their shape you will want to create more of a 3D shape; pinch the sides together and lightly felt until it holds its position when you let go

7: Before attaching ears to the head I often find it easier if the ears are felted together; it makes them easier to position and helps with the symmetry.

 

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How To Needle Felt A Birds Wing

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A quick needle felting ‘how to’ make a wing for your darling needle felted birdies. This tutorial is for my Robin but you can adapt this for any bird. It is super easy and, before you know it, you will have a pile of wings just waiting to be stuck to a body.

You choose the finish; I prefer a looser more rustic look but the ‘neat freaks’, like my daughter, would be horrified at the thought so just go with whatever you’re happy with.

Please follow the written instructions and the corresponding photograph numbers. You don’t need much wool at all for each wing and after one or two attempts you will be flying… Aah come on; someone had to say it!

Make a rough paper template as a guide (approx 6/cm) or just ‘draw’ a teardrop shape with your needle.

  1. With your hands blend a thin layer of brown, dark brown and a little orange (or whatever colour you choose) and lay on top of your foam block. Cut out one wing template and lay on top of the layer of wool. Use your needle to draw a rough shape around it; poke the needle straight up and down all the way around your template.
  2. Remove the wing template and go over the lines you have drawn again; not too deep into your foam block.
  3. Fold in the sides and felt gently, following the line of the shape you have created
  4. Keep turning and felting until it is firm and holds its shape Tip: It should be firm but not bulky
  5. Hold the sides of the wing and create a curve by pushing the needle gently and repeatedly along the top centre, being careful not to poke your fingers. Always keep your needle straight or the tip will break!
  6. If you want to you can tidy the wing around the edges by pulling the edges over and felting some more. Keep turning and repeating until you are happy with the overall shape. Repeat the procedure for your second wing.
  7. Decide how you want your finished wing to look; you can fold the end over for a tidy finish or leave it loose.

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How to: Avoid floppy and saggy legs…

A rough guide to firm legs which, lets face it, is something we all want. The picture shows the hares legs but you can apply this technique to pretty much any felting project. When you have finished you should be able to hold the limb by the loose end and wave it about without any flopping or sags: if you can’t do this then continue to felt and if it gets too thin then add more wool. Golden rule: you can add but not take away!

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