My step by step, hold your hand guide to creativity!
Needle felting tutorials don’t come much easier than this. Fabulous for woodland themes, nervous beginners or just because you love crafts.
Welcome to Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts needle felting tutorials. I am going to show you the different techniques, tools and wool that make this project super easy and a huge amount of fun.
TOP, TOP TIP: Enjoy and don’t aim for perfection. There are no rights and wrongs to your finished creation and feel free to add as much or as little detail as you wish. Enthusiasm is the key to most things and with a little of that you won’t go far wrong. *Read each section before starting so you have an idea of where it is headed and what the finished piece will look like. Each section has written, numbered instructions and each corresponds with the numbered photographs.
*There are lots of steps to make it as easy as possible for you, but many are just a few seconds in the making and some are finished photographs.
TERMINOLOGY – You will come across the following terms throughout your instructions
Felting/to felt: Means to stab/poke your wool with the barbed felting needles provided to produce a fibre that will not pull apart.
Wool top (sometime referred to as roving): Long lengths of wool with all the fibers going in the same direction, making the wool smooth.
Carded slivers: Long lengths of wool with fibers laid in different directions. This creates shorter, more springy fibers than wool tops. Perfect for creating shapes around sticks and wire armatures.
Carded batts: Prepared the same way as carded slivers but it comes in springy sheets instead of long lengths
You will need:
- Carded wool slivers (or wool tops) and batting in your choice of colours
- 38 felting needle, standard
- 40 felting needle (optional, for fine detail)
- Felting mat
- BBQ stick or similar
So, let’s get started…
MUSHROOM CAPS – Using carded slivers or wool tops, and a BBQ stick or similar.
Take your long length of white carded sliver, hold approx. 6” down the length and separate with your free hand. Your second and third mushrooms will use approx. 8″ and 10″ lengths of wool. Tip: Don’t try and get the shape perfect or worry about any lumps and bumps as your coloured carded wool batting (flat springy sheets) will cover it completely.
1 Lay the smallest length on your felting mat and lay the wooden wrap stick (pointed end) across the end of the wool.
2 Hold the wool firmly in place with one hand and start to wrap the wool (quite tightly) around the stick with the other. Wind it approx. 1 to 1 ½ inches down the stick from the point, keeping your thumb and forefinger at the base to stop it from slipping and lengthening; the shape will end up looking a little like fairground candyfloss.
3 Using your felting needle (38 standard) at a diagonal angle (to avoid hitting the stick with it) poke your needle into the wool This will tangle the so it just holds. Keep turning the stick and continue to poke into the wool.
Top Tip: Avoid breaking the needle by felting quite gently until it is removed from the stick
4 Felt in an upward motion into the base of the mushroom (where your thumb and forefingers were) to secure and firm.
5 Wrap a little more wool around the base of the mushroom to create the widest part felting gently with your needle as you go and taper the wool (so it becomes narrower) to the top of the mushroom where the point ends. When you reach the top gently pull the excess wool away from the tip of the mushroom and felt the loose wool to secure it.
6 Pull the mushroom away from the stick. Continue to turn and felt to create a better shape and firm it a little more. It should still be very springy to the touch.
7 You are now going to create a small, circular indent in the base of your mushroom which is where your mushroom stalk will be attached a little later. Do this by poking your felting needle (watch your fingers) up into the centre of the base, turning and felting at the same time. You will start to feel this area firming up but it still needs to remain a little springy.
8 Repeat the whole process again for your next two mushrooms (using 8” and 10” lengths) slightly increasing the size of each one.
9 Your three mushrooms are now ready to be covered in their coloured wool batting but first we are going to make the stalks.
MAKING THE STALKS – Three pieces of carded slivers or wool top approximately 6/8” in length)
Top Tip: If you want your mushrooms to stand on their own then make the base slightly wider. Make sure you flatten the base using your felting needle.
The process is exactly the same as for the mushroom caps except, you are creating a short cylindrical shape (1 ½” to 2” long) with one end (the base) wider.
10 Follow the same procedure as you did for the mushroom caps but wrap more tightly and evenly with a slight increase the base of the stalk.
11 Once wrapped and felted remove from the stick and continue to felt the narrow end but still keep the wool quite loose; this will help when attaching it to the base of the mushroom cap.
12 The stalk needs to be firmer than the cap because it is going to support the mushroom when stuck to your wooden base. Top Tip: Using the needle at a diagonal angle makes this much easier, avoids needle marks and spoiling the shape.
13 Pop it under your chosen mushroom cap to make sure it is going to sit nicely on top of the stalk.
ADDING COLOUR – Use your choice of coloured batting and (only if you have one) a finer needle; I like a size 40 gauge for this.
You are going to wrap the coloured batting around the mushroom cap gathering the excess underneath the base of the mushroom; where you created that indent for the stalk a little earlier.
14 Take a piece of coloured batting and lay it on your felting mat.
15 Sit your chosen mushroom cap (narrow end down) in the centre of the batting and wrap the batting around it, pulling it close to the mushroom and gathering the loose ends around the base. Top Tip: Don’t be too precious as this area won’t be visible when assembled.
16 Use your size 40 needle (do not bend as it will break) to felt the batting gently onto the mushroom and gently pull away any excess.
Top Tip: Felt very gently at a diagonal angle so as not to create lots of needle marks. It only needs to be very lightly attached. Always felt in a straight line!
17 If there is any white showing through you can cover this with a very thin layer excess batting and felt only until it holds, to avoid needle marks.
ATTACHING THE STALK (use 38 standard needle)
18 Tidy up the base of your mushroom by felting any loose coloured batting into the stalk indent you created earlier.
19 Pop the stalk into the indented area and hold the cap and stalk in one hand to steady. With your free hand felt the thin (loose end) of the stalk into the cap until it starts to hold. Do this by pushing your felting needle straight up through the stalk and into the cap base. This will tangle the wool fibres from the cap and stalk together. Once the stalk is holding without your support you can now continue to felt it to the base of the mushroom cap.
Tip: Make sure it is felted very firmly to the mushroom so it doesn’t flop around in an upright position
20 Your finished mushroom. Repeat the process for your remaining mushrooms.
ADDING DETAIL WITH YOUR 40 FINE NEEDLE
If you want to add some detail you can take tiny pieces of the white carded slivers (or wool top) you used to make your mushrooms and add some lovely mushroom spots. Sit the piece of white wool on top of your mushroom and felt on by pulling the strands towards the centre of the spot (gently with your needle) and only just penetrating the surface, whilst keeping the needle straight. This technique will just hold the spots and avoids distorting the shape you have created. Tip: If you are not happy with your first few attempts, remove and re-apply.
Et Voila! Marvellous mushrooms!
They look fabulous added to woodland scenes like this forest floor garden.