How To Needle Felt With Wire? Amazing DIY Crafts!

Learn how To Needle Felt With Wire – Easy step by step guide

Welcome to The Felt Hub with Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts, here to feed your passion for needle felting! This easy guide to using wire for needle felting will give you a god grasp of what wire to use, and when. From realistic horns, using only wool and a pipe cleaner, to full fox armature.


Links for free download, video tutorials, and felting wire are at the bottom of the post.


It may seem an odd place to start but it is important to know that many needle felters, including myself, rarely use a full wire armature. Many new needle felters – mistakenly – think that using wire means you are better at needle felting. This is not the case at all, and the truth is, most needle felting projects don’t need it. In fact, the trustee wooden BBQ skewer can completely change the finished look and stability of your needle felting projects, without the need for any wire. Just check out my Parsley Hare needle felting tutorial on YouTube to see how amazing this tool really is.

Image shows a tall brown needle felted hare that has been made without needle felting wire.


The humble wooden BBQ skewer is in my top 3 needle felting tools. It enables you to quickly, and easily create firm needle parts for your project, without the need for wire. Using one of these will change the way you needle felt. Find out more HERE

An image of lots of different types of needle felting wire.


A BBQ skewer wont work for everything though and a pipe cleaner, or two, makes it possible to add some really clever touches to your project. Especially tails and horns, flower stems, or to stop your legs doing the Fandango every time you try to get them to stand, or when your project is top heavy; why do I feel like I am talking about myself?

Shows how floristry wire can be used to make realistic needle felted flowers


Using wire for your needle felting projects will allow you to pose your animal and add more stability. It can be used for just a tail, the legs, neck, or the whole project.

Cute needle felted Herdwick sheep with wire in its neck so it can be posed at different angles.


This requires a much finer wire and the paper covered steel wire in your pack is just the job. No need for wax, and the wool sticks well to the paper, allowing you to get those delicate details. It also works well for super thin bird’s legs and claws.


Realistic needle felted fox. Fully poseable and needle felted around a wire armature.
Make amazing needle felted animals with easy to follow needle felting tutorials.


Wire gauge refers to the physical size of the wire; the smaller the wire gauge number, the larger/thicker the wire diameter. 


Whilst thicker is usually stronger, the type of metal affects its flexibility. Working on a like for like gauge size, Aluminium is the softest and most flexible, copper a little stronger, and steel (the paper covered wire) is stronger still.


The plastic covered garden wire is a great substitute if that’s what you have lying around and can’t wait to try needle felting with wire. The plastic is also quite ‘sticky’ so holds the wool well.


Ideal for medium to large lightweight sculptures. Strong but still easily shaped by hand, and with pliers.

Pipe cleaners can be wrapped around the armature so the wool sticks and does not slip and slide.

18 GAUGE ALUMINIUM WIRE: 1mm x 10 metres

Ideal for medium lightweight sculptures. Strong but still easily shaped by hand, and with pliers. Pipe cleaners can be wrapped around the armature so the wool sticks and does not slip and slide.

A picture containing different types of needle felting wire and pipe cleaners used for needle felting.


Great for smaller projects. A finer wire that can be easily shaped by hand. Pipe cleaners can be wrapped around the armature so the wool sticks and does not slip and slide.

STEEL 0.5mm PAPER COVERED WIRE (approx. 26 gauge)

Ideal for tiny fingers, toes, and claws. Wool sticks well to the paper so you can keep your limbs, hands, and toes as small as possible.

STEEL 1mm PAPER COVERED WIRE (approx. 18 gauge)

A very strong paper covered wire that is ideal for projects that are heavier, or taller, or top heavy.


Where would we be without the old faithful pipe cleaners which are perfect for small, lightweight armatures, and especially useful for wrapping around wire armatures so that the wool sticks. Also adds extra strength and stability to neck, back, and limbs, whilst allowing you to felt smaller feet, toes, hands, and claws.

A picture showing a person in a bright pink dress holding a realistic needle felted Hebridean sheep. It is being held in her right hand.

It’s perfect for quick horns and tails, or if you just want part of your project to be poseable or have more stability. Cotton covered pipe cleaners are all pretty much the same with regards to flexibility, unless you opt for a slightly stiffer pipe cleaner.


It really doesn’t matter the size of the wire, as long as it works for your project. It is also very much trial, error, personal preference, and practice.


Image shows a wire fox frame and text says, visit The Felt Hub on YouTube for video tutorials.

You will find lots in The Felt Hub on YouTube. Just look for the NEEDLE FELTING WITH WIRE playlist.


Start with a small simple project, such as horns or tails, and legs. Get used to wrapping the wool and working around the wire before trying tiny fingers and toes. Even the most competent of needle felters usually has a little sigh before starting on those, and it takes practice to get them right, lots of practice, so be patient. Each time you try those tiny paws and claws you will get better.

A picture showing a grey needle felted mouse wearing a red French beret. It is stood next to a painting easel with paintbrushes in the background.


This is so important, and I can’t tell you the number of people I have seen give up because they have started on a complicated armature project before even using a felting needle for the first time. You have to walk before you run but the basics are quick and easy to learn.


The mouse and cat pictured have thin wire in their legs and tail. It is super simple but adds an extra special touch. If in doubt, add a scarf as you can’t go wrong with one of those.

A picture showing a white needle felted mouse carrying a bunch of brightly coloured felted flowers. Second image shows a needle felted cartoon style Siamese cat.


SHOP: Needle felting wire, tools, and accessories

READ: Ultimate Guide To Needle Felting Wool And Sheep Breeds


Easy template to create an armature for your fox or dog. Making an armature is easy, with the right technique, and you can use almost any flexible wire, or pipe cleaners you already have. This simple template will make sure you get the proportions of your needle felted fox, or dog, right every time.


Join The Needle Felting Group And Watch Free Live Workshops


It’s completely free and when you join the needle felting and free workshops group you will benefit from exclusive access to my free live workshops, all in one place, including all previous workshops. I hope this group will inspire and develop your needle felting confidence (whatever level you are at) and encourage others to get involved, in a more private space. You will also be able to comment and share your WIP creations during and after the live workshops and ask for help and support from myself or other members. 

Join The Needle Felting Group And Watch Free Live Workshops

Plus so much more! Whilst the group will be primarily for live workshops events and updates, I will also be dropping in with some impromptu live sessions sharing needle felting techniques, quick wins and ideas. You can also drop into the group anytime to access all the tutorials in one place as each will be available to view after the event. It’s pretty busy in there some come meet the flock and put the next live workshop date in your diary.

P.S Click below to join. It’s completely free and a great way to enjoy some creative community in a more private space! Let’s start 2022 as we mean to go on? Creatively! 💗


Apart from being the most joyful craft ever invented, needle felting is utterly versatile and allows you to create the most simple or complex sculptures with handful of loose wool and a barbed* needle. This is simply done by stabbing the wool repeatedly with the felting needle, shaping until it meshes the wool fibers together creating a firm object.

*They actually have notches but most sites describe them as barbed so that is what I will refer to them as… I will discuss needle sizes and their uses on another page.


The Origin of Needle Felting: Felt is strong and its origins go back to the 1950’s when  industrial size felting machines were invented to produce on a much larger scale for many items such as: car and instrument dampers, piano keys, insulation, polishers etc. However, needle felting as a craft is hugely popular and the craft world has been taken by storm by this addictive way to express ourselves creatively.


Do you want to try a wonderfully addictive craft that has no limits, perfect for absolute beginners and beyond? Are you a first time crafter who’s really nervous of trying something new, but yearning to unlock your creativity and be inspired?

Do you enjoy a laid-back approach to crafts and are you looking for an affordable, no fuss, no sew craft or, craving creative ‘me’ time away from the noise and stresses of daily life?

If your answer was yes to any of the above then needle felting is for you. All you really need is enthusiasm!


Become part of the creative community and enjoy free live needle felting workshops!

Improve Your Needle Felting Techniques

Parsley hare is one of my favourite hare designs and, with a touch of whimsy and a dash of folk art, you can’t fail to be charmed by him. This is such a great project that is perfect if you want to build on your existing needle felting skills. It’s a project that requires some previous experience of needle felting and assumes you have completed at least two beginners needle felting projects.

The ‘Magic’ Tool

Everything is made around a wooden skewer (apart from the ears) and is the tool that no self respecting needle felter should be without. If you haven’t used one before it is a complete needle felting revelation and you will wonder how you ever managed without one. It is also a great way to make perfect needle felted balls and acorn shapes in just three minutes.

Banish Saggy Legs Forever

Using the wooden BBQ skewer negates the need for using wire but still ensures that you have really firm body parts.

Create A Perfect Finish

Using this technique also allows you to get great symmetry, with ease, and a beautifully smooth finish. You can also create a perfectly shaped head every time, no lumps or bumps.

The Wool

Use a good coarse wool top or, as I have done with mine, use carded wool in long lengths.

Materials List:

  • Coarse brown wool top or long carded lengths
  • White accent wool
  • 1 Felting needle – size 38 is a good all rounder
  • 1 Wooden skewer
  • 2 Beads for eyes
  • Lace ruffle
  • Felting mat

The needle felting kit, wool and accessories can be found on the Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts WEBSITE and the kit comes with everything you need including the lovely antique style ruffle.

Video Tutorials

Below are five step by step, easy to follow video tutorials. If you prefer to work with written instructions the pattern is also available for instant download HERE

Happy Felting!

Video Introduction


Video 1 – Body And Head

Video 2 – Legs

Video 3 – Ears

Video 4 – Putting It Together

Learn to needle felt a Highland Cow

So excited to tell you that Heather The Highland Cow Needle Felting Kit is now available on the website. Over  3,500 words, 90 full colour photographs, lots of different techniques and a whole load of Highland, what’s not to love. If you don’t need the tools it is also available as a wool refill pack.
You will learn how to create long fur, wrap wire around pipe cleaners for perfect shaped legs and stability, build up the head and body to create that typical highland chunkiness and create those beautiful finishing touches. Every part is needle felted and no need for any glue. It’s just you, your needle and lush British wool. BTW, the wool topcoat is a Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts specially dyed Shetland, only available from yours truly; not to orange and not too brown.

VIDEO TUTORIAL – Links below.

Not only that, but the full video tutorial is now live on my YouTube channel and it is epic and no needle felted stone has been left unturned. Just grab your wool and felting need and join me on YouTube for a workshop style tutorial. It’s in 6 parts so you can work methodically with me through each step. I have put them in a playlist so each step starts after the previous, working towards the finale of the fabulous top coat!

Highland Cow video tutorials; parts 1-6

I always approach a new kit and video tutorial as if the person using it has never heard of needle felting and is new to crafts making it accessible to as many people as possible. And, let’s face it, crafts now more than ever are a great coping mechanism when life gets a little too much. So add some creativity to your list of self care tools. All my video tutorials are free so if you have a handful of wool and a felting needle just find a project and make something, if only to lighten the mental load for a while. 

Before and after. Ta-Da!!!


Two more needle felting kits and video tutorials; whimsical hare and forest folk. I can’t wait!

Stay safe and happy felting x

Using wire for needle felting

I will let you into a little secret; unless you are working on big projects you really don’t need a full wire frame.

Working with a wire armature can be a little daunting, especially if you are new to needle felting and, to be honest, I find working with a full wire armature a little fiddly. I usually prefer working with a firmer shape so I tend to work more with just part armature; usually just the legs, neck or tail. It’s easy and really useful for when something needs stability or to add detail or dimension that can’t otherwise be achieved e.g the neck and legs on the flamingo, the tail and legs of the mouse and the life size ears of the Snow hare below.

Wire is used just for the neck and legs of the flamingo
Wire wrapped neck is then felted straight onto the body


See how using paper covered floristry wire can take a project to the next level. I have used wire only for the legs and tail on this fabulous cat; a happy accident who started life as a mouse. Because the wire is paper covered the wool sticks to it really well. No need for messy wax. For a super smooth finish just roll firmly between the palms of your hands. You can also dip the pieces in hot water before rolling firmly for an even firmer finish.

Wrapping wire is really easy and can be done quite quickly and simply, but don’t be too ambitious and decide that tiny fingers and toes are going to be your first attempt. You will almost certainly set yourself up for a fail at the first hurdle and probably run for the needle felted hills. I still avoid tiny fingers and toes – if there is another option – so don’t sweat it.

Feet and tail are wire wrapped for shape and stability. The tail helps keep the mouse upright.

Instead, get used to wrapping wire and creating simple shapes. Most important is the wool and wire you use. Get those right and the task is so much easier, a lot more fun and negates the need for any messy wax or glue.

The ears of this life size Snowshoe hare were 10 inches long and the wool was wrapped around an oval wire frame, then needle felted to the head.

What wire should you use?

My favourites are floristry wire (the paper wrapped kind) or cotton covered pipe cleaners. Using either of these means the wool holds really well as you wrap it around the wire and requires little felting, thus reducing the risk of broken or bent needles and no need for messy wax.

Top Tip: I like to use the old-style cotton covered pipe cleaners. Look for the tobacconist kind as the wool sticks to these better than the chenille ones. They are also a lot cheaper than the craft ones.

Wire size/gauge – I usually opt for 0.5mm or 1mm if I’m working on something larger.


It’s all personal preference but for me it is usually wool top/roving because you can use long, continuous lengths that can be pulled really tightly around the wire, giving it a lovely smooth, neat finish. I like to use white Jacob or Shetland tops but any wool top will do.


I don’t use it unless I am wrapping tiny fingers and toes. I seem to get more on myself than the project so I avoid it if possible and find that I rarely need it anyway. That said, I know some felters who get on really well with it so it really is personal preference.


Have a practice by following the tutorial below. This one is for creating Flamingo legs but the same method can be used for any felting project. If you are creating sheep or hares just continue to wrap your wool around the wire to build up the limbs.

Top Tip: This is where the majority of needles get bent or broken so take care and use the ‘softly softly’ approach.

1 Create the shape you want with your wire. I am using 0.5mm tape covered floristry wire, 24cm long which I have doubled over for strength and stability. There is no need for pliers with this gauge wire as it bends and twists easily.

Create your shape

1 Pull a thin piece of wool top/roving down the long length of your wool; it needs to be thin so it covers the wire without bulking it out.

2 Start to wrap tightly down from the top of the leg (this is to cover the wire). Tip: wrap a few times in one place at the top of the leg and rub around with your fingers to mesh the fibres together so they hold (no need for wax).

3 and 4 Wrap around the first half of the foot then pull the length of wool through the hoop.

5 Pull the loose length over the front of the foot and pull towards the back of the foot and felt gently a few times to hold it in place. Tip: I do it this way because I find it easier to cover the foot without showing any wire.

6 Continue to wrap around the foot until it is covered and felt each side.

Tip: Finish felting through the top of the foot and pull, or trim, any excess from underneath.

Your legs are now ready to attach to your creation.

Building up the legs

If you need chunkier legs, say something like mice – just continue to wrap with your wool until you are happy with the size and shape. Top Tip: always leave loose wool at the top of the wire so you can felt it to the body.

For video tutorials visit: Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts on YouTube

Kits and accessories are available on the website at: Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts

Est. 2013
© 2013 Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts

Needle Felted Maine Coon Cat

I was beyond excited when my good friend and talented artist, Nancy Sullivan, agreed to be a guest on the blog and put together a needle felting tutorial for you all. What I wasn’t prepared for though was an advanced tutorial that is so detailed that I have yet to see anything to match it. This beautiful life-size version of her own cat, Scout, has taken many, many, many hours to complete and is beautifully written in Nancy’s typically charming and funny way. Whilst it is a very advanced tutorial, Nancy’s writing style and presentation still make it easy to understand as she skillfully and seamlessly moves you from one section to the next, introducing techniques I have never seen used.  Thank you so much for all your hard work, time and generosity Nancy xxx



  • Copy and sell/promote this tutorial as your own
  • Share the link and password for this tutorial on any social media, Facebook groups or via any other forms of communication
  • Print tutorial for use at workshops
  • Tutorial is for personal use only and cannot be used for any other purpose

However, sharing photographs of your sculpture on social media, Facebook groups and giving as gifts is acceptable but please make sure to credit your source of information and inspiration.

Failure to comply with the above would be viewed as copyright infringement. 

All link content on this post is the property of Nancy Sullivan.
All content appearing on this blog is the property of:
Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts
Copyright © 2019 Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts. All rights reserved.


About The Artist

My name is Nancy Sullivan. I was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in
1950, moved to New York in 1988, and have been here in Southern
California since 2002. Yes, I am 68 years old!
My interest in art began in the 2nd grade when my teacher told my mother
that I had talent. Because of that, my parents worked hard to give me as
many opportunities for special art student programs as were available
through my youth. Later, in high school, I entered a statewide competition
in Oklahoma and won the first place prize, a small scholarship for college.
Since then I have managed to work art into everything I do.
I started working in Medicine at age 26, and before long my first
“secretarial” job included working in eye surgery, designing and editing
medical publications and doing medical illustrations of surgical techniques
and graphically presenting research results for journals, textbooks, and
international medical symposia. My mentors paved the way for me to
attend workshops and special courses in anatomy and illustration. I was
very fortunate to be able to create a situation where I could get this
education as a part of my job. I also had the opportunity to attend and
observe human head and neck dissections with Ophthalmology Residents.
I also designed training manuals for non-medical employees so they would
understand the basics of ophthalmology.
I learned the most about anatomy from Joseph Sheppard, a celebrated
sculptor and painter from Baltimore, who now lives in Italy. His training
and publications gave me the knowledge to take my work to a higher level
of accuracy. He teaches drawing human figures from the skeleton out –
which is exactly how I approach the animals that I needle felt.

nancy life drawing

Needle felting is only the most recent of a life-long progression of crafts
that I have enjoyed practicing. It started with making “outfits” for my
Barbie doll when I was very young, which evolved into making my own
clothes when I got a bit older. I used to make plastic car models with my
oldest brother when we were young, and he was meticulous with tiny
details, which seemed to rub off on me. My Grandmother encouraged me
to take up quilt-making, which I did for many years with her, and
continued to do on my own after she died.
In my career, most of my “craft” involved technical illustration, but I still
managed to do some quilting and other projects on the weekends. While
in New York, I was exposed to the most wonderful variation of arts and
crafts, attending shows and Museum exhibits as often as I possibly could.
I was surrounded with inspiration from all kinds of art and music.
The best time I’ve had has been since retiring, being able to choose how I
spend my time – I have taken up genealogy of my family and created
many volumes of information and images, and “scrapbooks” to be handed
down to future generations. Paper crafts have taken over the landscape of
my life, since there is no limit to the creativity you can translate into
tangible pieces you can hold in your hands and share with others. Stained
glass was also very exciting and rewarding. Recently I have enjoyed doing
hand-bound books; stamping, mixed media and watercolor remain some
of my favorite crafts. I make hand-crafted gifts for Christmas each year,
and design greeting cards for all occasions.

I’d like to share with you some words that I have learned are true
enough to live by, and they are certainly relevant when you think of
how our artistic endeavors can enhance our enjoyment of life… the
older you get, the more meaningful these words become!

“We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief
requirements of life, when all that we need to make us
really happy is something to be enthusiastic about.”
Charles Kingsley

Thanks to Sandy at Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts, I have added needle
felting to my growing list of interests, and enjoy it more than
anything else I have done – wool sculpture – it’s the best!
All these artistic endeavors have enriched my life enormously, and I
am very pleased to have this opportunity of sharing that with you.

TAKE ME TO THE TUTORIAL: Needle Felting a Maine Coon Cat Advanced Tutorial – By Nancy Sullivan February 2019

nancy maine coon 6