Needle Felting For Beginners: The Do’s And Definite Don’ts!

 

 

Let me show you how to avoid common needle felting mistakes before you even start. Let’s start with 14 easy first steps and some needle felting mini tutorials:

1 -Firm is key to successful 3D needle felting. Firm (not hard) but still springs back when squashed – especially legs and head.

2 –Roll body parts quite tightly before beginning to felt – trust me, this will greatly reduce your felting time.

how to body shape

3 -Needle felting is a short stabbing motion into your wool. Your needle should not disappear into the foam block and should hardly pierce the foam at all when 3D felting.

4 –Turn as you felt any 3D body part. This will give your structure its shape and prevent ‘dimples’ in your finished product.

5 – Start with less than you think you will need; you can add wool to make your shape bigger but you can’t take it away! The exception to this is limbs; if you have attached the limb/head and it’s in the wrong place, upside down (put your glasses on!) etc. then gently unpick with a pin and reposition or rework. Never try to unpick with your felting needle as I guarantee it will break. Good needles are not cheap and you will spend the next thirty minutes trying to find the end before the dog eats it, or worse, sits on it! The business end of your pet is not the end you want to be messing with…

6- When fully felted your 3D body part will be approximately 30% smaller than the shape you started with; unless you have felted so much you have made a rock which will make it around 75% smaller and turn it into a dangerous weapon…

Easy Ear Shapes

Needle Feltin Ears
How to needle felt ears; works for almost all shapes and sizes

7 – Only move your needle straight up and down, not at an angle.  If you bend your needle the tip will break off.

8 – Be patient. This is a walk, not a sprint. You are not suddenly going to become Sarafina (Google ‘Gods of the needle felting world’) overnight and you are learning a new craft, not performing surgery, so enjoy it. When Usain Bolt first turned up for his first training session do you think he had all those gold medals around his neck…

The projects in my kits take around 3-6 hours from start to finish so ignore all those YouTube tutorials that only take half an hour. They are excellent as a guide but view the time it takes them to complete with a rather large dose of salt…

9 – Your project will, generally, not resemble anything close to what you are trying to make until at least 3/4 of the way through when you will hit the “how on earth is this ever going to look like that” wall, which you must punch your way through with steely determination. It all comes together near the end and every one, experienced or a complete beginner, feels exactly the same way. The devil really is in the detail and you can pull, reshape and add to whatever you are making. Alternatively, step away from it for a while and then view it with fresh eyes or new information/ideas. The internet is full of them and Pinterest is the worlds largest free crafting magazine…

Occasionally you will get to the end and it still won’t look like the vision in your head. Deal with it and don’t let it spoil your day because whatever you make will be yours and it will be wonderful! Those wonky ears and the gammy looking leg add character and, who doesn’t love the ‘underdog’…

N.B Every needle felter has a pile of fuzzy Frankenstein body parts just waiting to be added to another project. I call them “limbs in limbo”…

10 – DISCLAIMER:  Needle felting is highly addictive! It can, and does, lead to compulsive creativity. Therefore, I cannot be held responsible for hungry pets, children and other family members.

11 – Housework will become a dirty word…literally (see number 10).

12 – Pets love, love, love wool. The only thing they love more is destroying your beautiful creation that you have invested blood, sweat and tears into. If you don’t want the sad demise of a poor customers grey hare below to become your story then store well away from the little darlings. Warning! Photographs below contain graphic content which may upset those of a nervous disposition…

Before the dog…                                              After!

 

 

13 – Practice makes perfect and I love pieces made with simple shapes; you can do so much with them once you have got the shape you want. Don’t expect to get it right first time so practise getting your basic shapes right before trying a more challenging piece.

The head and body of these Herdwick’s are the same shape, just different sizes. Add basic features, cover the body with some beautiful curly locks and those simple shapes have turned into something really special!

sh14

img_2447

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

twitter kits

14 – Take the bull by the proverbial horns and get creative; whether it be colouring books, needle felting, gardening. It really doesn’t matter and, if fear of failure is eating you up then remember this: You will always fail 100% of what you don’t try. Go easy on yourself; what have you got to loose…

Happy creating!

For needle felting kits please visit: Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts website

These techniques are all applied to the Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts range of needle felting kits but each kit (currently 19) has it’s own set of bespoke, detailed instructions.

27 thoughts on “Needle Felting For Beginners: The Do’s And Definite Don’ts!

  1. Natalie

    Found out about needle felting about a week ago. Took a “stab” at it for the first time tonight. No kit or pattern; just looking at pictures and following advice from blogs like yours. It came out pretty good if i do say so myself 🙂 at least for a first try! I am now addicted 🙂 lol

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Patty

    Well Sandy……..I am hooked! I have just completer the red Fox and love my new hobby.
    It is a good while since I did any crafting and now I am felting! So glad I found you!
    PS I am not a Face book person too………

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Patty

    Hi Sandy and all,
    I started on my first kit this evening ….never needle felted before. Hopefully the sausage I have just about completed a sausage that (fingers crossed) will resemble Mr Fox’s body! Going to try for the next step tomorrow!

    Regards,

    Patty

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Annie

    Thanks for the info. I’m trying to make a female figure at the moment, despite the fact that 3D is (as yet) way beyond my ability range. I was about to consign her to the ‘needlefelt bin of no-return’ when I read your advice and she is now on reprieve awaiting more work and determination.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts

      Reprieve is quite a popular concept when needle felting and I have a ‘reprieve’ pile as well. Some of the poor things I have look frightful! Never a failure though, just a learning curve. Glad you found the blog 🙂

      Like

    • Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts

      Hi Kathie. I am chuckling because it was said in humour; felting straight onto your knees could be a very bloody business indeed 🙂 A lap tray or something similar on your knees to sit your foam block on will work just fine and it will also keep your work steady.
      Best regards
      Sandy

      Like

    • Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts

      Thanks Kathie for buying my kits. I have tried to keep them as simple as possible and so armatures are not required.
      I do use armature occasionally; especially on larger pieces or if I want to pose a piece (as with the fox you can see on the blog) but I don’t use them often for my smaller pieces; I find I like the solidity of just working with and manipulating the wool; it is also easier to felt without the hindrance of wires. Working with an armature is also a much looser felting process so it really is a case of experimenting and finding what you enjoy the most.
      I think the most important thing is to learn your basic needle felting techniques first and then you can start to experiment; definitely a case of ‘learning to walk before you run’.
      My instructions are very detailed and there are lots of step by step colour photos. Both the hare and the mouse are great for beginners and I would start with the hare first before you start on the smaller details on the mouse. I would love some photos for the gallery when they are done. Happy felting
      Best regards
      Sandy

      Like

  5. Cathy Chinery

    Have just ordered my first ever felting kit… My mum, bless her, was brilliant at everything… sewing, knitting, crochet, cooking. She tried hard to teach me but in the end, jokingly called me cack handed and I would do well sewing mail sacks… I have dabbled with knitting and crocheting a blanket and have tried to self teach myself on my sewing machine, with some much needed guidance from my dad. Looking forward to my felting kit arriving. Hope it is as easy as some say, for the sanity of my husband!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts

      Thank you Cathy. I love this craft because it is very laid back and no patterns to follow; I am the worlds worst knitter and suffer from severe knitting envy so I feel your pain…I designed most of the kits for beginners. Everything you need is in the box, including detailed instructions and lots of step by step colour photographs. No sewing. No wires. All you need is a little time and enthusiasm. Lots of info on the blog for you to mull over until it arrives. I am only a message away and most importantly, enjoy yourself. Happy felting!

      Like

  6. Di Woodcock.

    Cats are rather partial to a bag of lovely felting wool too! Yup, they like the finished project, that makes a good mouse substitute, but it’s also a good idea to keep them away from your stash of wool. They think it’s been put there just for them, (like everything else in the house!) and it makes a scrummy bed. A quote from one of my kitty kats; “We can paddle and purr in it, as we blissfully slobber and drool all over it. No idea why mummy gets fed up with me when I do that. After all, I look sooo cute when I’m all tucked up and snoozing in my new nest!!!”
    >^..^<

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s