Adding Face Details To Your Needle Felted Animals

One of the trickiest things to do when creating face details is getting the really fine lines for the mouth and nose. It’s something I always spend time on with my workshop students so they don’t feel disappointed with the finishing touches. Practice, practice practice is the answer, a firm base on which to work, and less is more when it comes to the wool. When I say less is more, think even less than that. You only need the tiniest strand of wool to create really impactful details, add in a few simple techniques and you will soon be adding those details with confidence.

Top Tip: If it doesn’t look right don’t try and rectify it. Pull the wool off and start again. I often do this and it takes much less time than trying to fix the problem. Also, preparation is key so make sure the head is firm before starting. If the head is soft and squidgy you aren’t going to get the nice straight lines you want to achieve and your sheep or animal will look like they’ve been on the sauce.

Whatever your design, this technique can be applied to your project in many different ways.

Let’s get started and, if you haven’t made your head yet just click the link for the video tutorial: HOW TO CREATE A BASIC HEAD SHAPE

1 Create an impression of the mouth – Do this by ‘drawing’ the mouth onto the face with your felting needle. ‘Draw’ a V for the nose, a line down the centre and two shallow curves each side. Go over the lines you have drawn until they are clearly visible and defined. This is where your wool is going to sit and makes it so much easier to maintain a nice, even shape.

2 Roll a very, very thin wisp of wool between your fingers to gently mat it together (not vital but it helps). If you don’t think it is thick enough you can go over it again later. However, start with too much and it ends up looking like you have drawn it on with a felt tip. Place it on the top left of the V shape you have created and gently tack it down towards the bottom of the V shape. Top Tip: Make sure the wool is at least twice the length you need as it will be pulled into the face as you felt; you can trim it later.

3 Continue back up the V shape and leave the ends loose.

4 Use another thin strand of wool (longer than you will need) to create the line down the centre. Top Tip: Keep the wool taught with your free hand. This will help create a straight, even line and avoid a drunken grin.

5 Leave all the strands loose until you have completed the mouth.

6 As before, use a very thin strand of wool and felt along the mouth. Repeat for the other side.

Top Tip: Don’t be precious over the shape of the curve as this can be teased into shape before you finish.

7 Make sure the wool is secure before trimming and shape the mouth by gently rubbing the tip of you finger on the wool – in the centre – to pull it down slightly.

8 Your head is now ready for the eyes and that’s another easy tutorial. You can watch it Here or keep scrolling for the written tutorial.

Top Tip: Sometimes the mouth can look a little off centre or lopsided. This is easily fixed by squeezing, and moving the head in your fingers – wool is still quite pliable, even when felted – until the features straighten out.

Create fabulous features for all your needle felted creations.

How to sew eyes onto your needle felted animal

Needle felted eyes look great but I also love the sparkle and shine you get from a glass bead. I always find it funny that, when some of my students have spent hours creating their needle felted animal, they say they find sewing on the eyes the hardest part. I think it is because they seem a little bit fiddly but here is a quick way of doing it, in five minutes and four easy steps.

1 Use black thread and needle and sew through the side of the face – where your eyes will sit – and repeat a few times until your thread is secure.

2 Pop your bead onto the tip of your needle and pull it through.

3 Push your needle back through to the other side and pop on your second bead.

4 Repeat the process a few times until you can pull quite firmly on your thread, and both beads are secure. Finish by sewing through the back of the head a and cut the thread.

We need craft therapy, now more than ever!

For the first time in my 51 years I am suffering from, what I can only assume, is anxiety. I am usually pretty chilled and my glass is almost always half full. Yet, my stomach is in knots, I can’t switch off, my heart is constantly fluttering, I’m frequently feeling overwhelmed, and fight or flight mode is firmly in the ‘on’ position. I’m worried for those who are going to suffer terrible financial hardships over the coming year and for the kids where school is a safe haven and a place where they get most, if not all of their nutrition. Ring any bells? Well of course it does. It is a universal feeling and we are all suffering – to one extent or another – the same emotions. Much of what we take for granted will be out of reach for some time and many of us (myself included) have the added worry of close, immediate family members and friends who are very vulnerable with serious health conditions. We are entering difficult times, in uncharted territory, and need to find our own coping mechanisms to help us navigate the next few months and beyond.
So here’s the thing. We all know how to stay safe but staying sane is another matter. Many of us will be isolated and often lonely over the coming months and crafts, now more than ever, will provide us with much needed respite and allow us to switch off, for a little while at least. For lots of us crafts and the creative community will become our online ‘tribe’ and take on a much more important role. Creativity is so important for our mental health, especially as we hunker down for the long haul.
I had a discussion with a very close friend about how I was feeling and her advice was to keep creating and continue to share it with others, as I have for the last six years. So, to that end, I will continue to add tutorials to YouTube and the blog whenever I can. I may even do a Facebook live if that’s something you might enjoy. It’s also a time to refocus and prioritise and this is just my, very small contribution. If there is any aspect of needle felting you are struggling with, even if it’s the confidence to get started, then just pop over to my Facebook page and message me or pop a question in this FaceBook post. Even if I’m not around (or don’t have the answers), there are lots of knowledgeable and talented crafters on there (some I have been in contact with creatively for a long while) able to share their own creative advice or just give you the boost you need to get going. What you definitely won’t see from me is lots of ‘positive vibes’ quotes. It’s not my bag (I have always found my sense of dark, dry humour to be the best remedy) and it will get very old very quickly, oftentimes diminishing the problems we are facing. Nobody wants a barrage of ‘you got this’ or ‘keep calm and carry on’ when calm is the last thing we are feeling. However, social media really is about to come into its own so let’s bolster and support each other as much as we can and continue to use our creative social media community for the greater good.

YouTube tutorial links are below and kits and supplies available on the Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts website and Etsy but all you need is a handful of wool, a felting needle and a cuppa.
Stay safe and big love
Sandy xxx

This way for craft therapy video tutorials

Est. 2013
© 2013 Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts

8 Easy Steps To Needle Felted Animal Eyes

Needle felting eyes are really simple, once you know how…

Feeling ready to tackle needle felting your own animal eyes? Well, I have created a super easy tutorial for you. It consists of 8 simple steps to get you started and is the method I still use myself. Try a few practice runs first if you are a little nervous but, as with all my instructions and tutorials, everything is broken down into simple steps to make it really easy to follow. Adding eyelashes is the easiest feature to add to your animal and you will find the four step, mini tutorial at the bottom of the page.
If you want to learn how to crate a basic head shape, then pop over to my YouTube channel and follow the ‘needle felting for beginners’ series of short videos, showing you how to make each body part: head, legs, body and ears. Exactly as I teach my workshops. They work as standalone tutorials but have also been designed to work perfectly with the Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts range of needle felting kits.
Happy felting! 

TAKE ME TO YOUTUBE TUTORIALS

SHOP NEEDLE FELTING KITS

Let’s do this!

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Say hello to Hamilton!

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This simple technique can be applied to most needle felted animals; the Winter Hare is life size.

EYELASHES

Eyelashes are the quickest – we are talking a couple of minutes – and easiest feature you can add to your projects. They also create a striking finishing touch to your animals features.

how to eyelashes

Est. 2013
© 2013 Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts

needle felted hedgehogs

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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Instant pattern downloads now available!

Pattern only instant downloads are also 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.

 

needle felting demonstration

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!

Website

 

 

Needle Felted Nordic Gnome Tutorial

Video tutorial for this project is on the Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts YouTube channel.

Skill level: Complete beginners – no crafting experience necessary

Time to make: Approximately 30 minutes

You will need:

15g any colour wool top/roving for the body

5g Wool top/roving or carded wool for the hat, in your choice of colour

Pinch of light colour for the nose

2g Wool top/roving, or curly wool for the beard, in your choice of colour

Enthusiasm

If you don’t have any supplies then the Gnome needle felting kit is available on the website.

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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 the body fits the hat; 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. The triangle template measurements are approx; base 10cm (slightly curved) and sides 12cm .

Layer your hat wool on your felting mat and pop your hat template on top of your wool, leaving a few extra centimetres of wool around each side. Top tip: Your wool shouldn’t be too thick but make sure you can’t see the felting mat through it

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Make sure you can’t see through the wool

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

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‘Draw’ around the template

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

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Make sure your line is visible

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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Stop at the fold line

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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Repeat for all three sides

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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Keep turning regularly so it doesn’t stick to the base

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

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Continue felting until it holds its shape

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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Be careful, the needle is sharp

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

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Your finished hat shape; it doesn’t have to be perfect

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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Fold in half and felt along the seam
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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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Roll the tip in the palm of your hands to create a pointy hat
Use any colours you want for the hat

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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Try different wool and add some fabulous locks for a different look. For the gnomes below I have used a lush teal batting with green silk fibres for the hat, and plant dyed, hand spun locks for the beard. The gnome on the right has a beard of grey Masham shot through with white silk.

But why would you stop there when the variations and colours are endless!

Gnome needle felting kits are also available on the Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts website.

CLICK FOR GNOME NEEDLE FELTING KIT