Needle Felted Tomte Christmas Gnome Tutorial

Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts Website

Etsy

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Nordic and Scandinavian style decor is so popular and I just love it. What I especially love is the Tomte gnomes. You may also see them referred to as Nisse 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!

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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 Ears

www.lincolnshirefenncrafts.com

Etsy

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…Freestyle!

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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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Etsy

 

 

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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