This is one of the easiest needle felting projects you can make. These gorgeous needle felted pumpkins are utterly addictive and make for some really show stopping Autumn/Fall décor! Imagine having these plump beauties dotted around the house, made into garlands, or given as gifts to only your best friends.
HAVE A PUMPKIN CRAFT PARTY
They are so much fun and so easy, why not have a craft party and needle felt the afternoon away. Imagine how many of these you could make in just a couple of hours, and more fun than you can shake a witches broomstick at.
You will find my step by step video tutorials at the bottom of this page Make time: 20 minutes
1 Roll a small handful of core wool into a very rough ball and felt to hold in place. This will only take a minute as you need to keep it soft; this is what helps create the pumpkin shape.
2 Wrap a thin piece of carded batting around the core wool and felt at the base.
TOP TIP: Don’t cover up any patches as this will enhance the finished look once you add a second layer
3 Continue to felt the wool batting towards the centre and pull away any excess. Sit it ‘bottom’ down on your mat and check the shape.
4 Working from the top to the bottom, repeat the previous step with a different colour, making sure it is pulled thin enough for the base layer to show through.
5 Lay a very thin piece of wool top across the centre of your pumpkin and felt to secure. Wrap it quite tightly around your pumpkin and felt the two ends together at the base.
TOP TIP: The base won’t be visible so you can felt really firmly. Pulling it tightly around the pumpkin creates the ‘segments’.
6 Continue as in the previous step until you have eight distinct segments. Because the core was left really soft you now have a very obvious pumpkin shape.
7 Work gently around your pumpkin with your felting needle and tidy up any loose, untidy, or lumpy sections. It needs to look good from all sides, but don’t worry too much about the base as it won’t be seen.
8 Create a stem for your pumpkin
9 Felt the loose wool (at the narrow base) into the centre of your pumpkin. feel free to add any embellishments. I have added a lovely crochet leaf which really finishes it off. You could also add curly locks and different fibres, or acorns.
Learn how to needle felt a picture and create your own stunning 2D needle felted Cornish seascape, bursting with colour and character. Video tutorial links are at the bottom of this post and this beautiful project is suitable for beginners, and experienced needle felters, taking around eight hours to complete. I have carefully selected all the materials, wool, and fibres to give you the best possible outcome for your project, so if you are working from my Needle Felting Kit everything you need is already there. That also includes to linen, printed design and carbon paper to trace it onto your fabric, ready to start needle felting.
VIDEO TUTORIALS ARE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POST
If you haven’t tried needle felted pictures before, I know you are going to love this design. It was a joy to create and the bold colours, and design, really sing. Adding the cheeky three dimensional Seagulls really brings it to life, as do the rolling waves with the gorgeous silk strands. The result is a mix of Cornish impressionism meets Balamory, and my love of the sea.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED/CONTENTS
If you are working from the kit, everything you need is in your box. If you are working from the pattern, and your own supplies, you will need:
Approximately 40g of mixed wool colours. I have used approximately 18 different colours: a mix of carded wool, wool tops, silk blends, and silk throwsters waste.
Carbon paper for tracing the design but you can copy directly onto the fabric
Frame, driftwood, or similar to display. It can also be mounted onto card using double sided tape
HOW TO NEEDLE FELT: THE BASICS
Caution: This activity is for adults and older children – 12 years and older – and then only with strict adult guidance and supervision due to the very sharp needles. Do not allow children to attempt this project alone!
HOW TO USE YOUR FELTING NEEDLE?
Felt is made using the barbed needles and repeatedly and by carefully stabbing into the wool fleece. This will tangle the fibres together until the wool becomes firm, and, following the instructions, create your own needle felted project.
Before you start you project it is important to know a few basics about needle felting but equally important is that this is YOUR creation. You may decide to make changes. BRILLIANT! Make it your own. If you make a mistake, then remove it by gently tugging with a standard dress pin and try again. Most importantly, be patient and enjoy this gorgeous project. Take your time and remember “the devil is in the detail” so tempting though it is, don’t rush when you are getting near the end of your project. Sit back and decide on your finishing touches. Make it simple, quirky, or as detailed as you like…
You need to take extra precautions to watch your fingers because, as you hold and turn your project, there is a greater chance of poking through the wool right into your finger; use finger guards if this helps.
Use the foam pad wherever possible and remember to always poke your needle in a straight line, no matter the angle, so as not to break your needle.
The finished project will be unique to you so feel free to use your imagination. Be patient as these lovely creations deserve the time they take to make, and you will quickly get used to the needle felting process. Once you have finished this project there will be no stopping you!
Upon completion sit back, admire, and tell your friends and family “I did that!”
PLEASE REMEMBER THAT THESE PROJECTS ARE COLLECTABLES, NOT TOYS! KEEP THEM AWAY FROM PETSAND SMALL CHILDREN!
3 Feel free to add your own details and use your own artistic license for the finishing touches.
4 ENJOY! If this is your first needle felting project allow yourself to be a beginner and build your creative confidence. It’s not a sprint to the finish and you are going to learn some fabulous new skills. Hopefully, this will be just the start of your needle felting journey.
5VIDEO TUTORIALS – You will find so many helpful tutorials on my YouTube channel, from nervous beginners to intermediate level. Have a look at the playlists and find what is most suitable for you on the: Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts YouTube channel
ABOUT THIS PROJECT
Skill level: Beginners to confident needle felters
Make time: 6 to 8 hours
Think Cornish coastline meets Balamory, which was actually set in Tobermory. Full of vibrant colours and details, I approached it like a paint by numbers, colour between the lines, sort of project. It is beautifully simple and, apart from the seagulls and some sea detail, this project is completely flat felted. It is not difficult and is soothingly repetitive. You can pick it up whenever you feel like it, have a break and do some more.
As the technique for most of the project is the same, video tutorials and the pattern will guide you through the different sections, from tracing the picture, using the fabric, type of needles to use, laying down the fibres, outlining the details, and building up some of the areas to add dimension, detail, and contrast.
ADD YOUR OWN FLAIR
If you are a confident crafter, or this isn’t your first needle felting gig, feel free to blend your own colours, add fabric scraps, beads, and your own details.
IS IT YOUR FIRST TIME FELTING ON LINEN?
If so, it will feel quite strange for the first ten minutes, but you will quickly get used to the different work surface. This is also a popular choice for flat felted animal portraits.
I love experimenting with different fabrics for flat needle felting and, there are several reasons why linen/Calico works really well for this project
It needs to be a close weave linen/Calico so that your needle doesn’t damage the fabric or create holes in the weave.
Perfect for tracing your image onto in detail, which you just can’t do with a wool felt base.
It is also a great base for this project as you want the fibres to lay as flat as possible, with no distortion, allowing for tiny details to be added without getting lost.
If you are working from the kit you will find mostly carded wool and a few wool tops. In addition there are some beautiful silk fibres, and wool silk blends which add great contrast and interest to the finished piece.
USING YOUR OWN WOOL STASH
Almost any felting wool can be used with ease for this project. Just grab as many bright and bold colours you can from your wool stash.
WHAT FELTING NEEDLES DO I NEED?
The entire project can be completed with one needle. I found the 38 star needle to be my favourite for this project, and I also used the 7 needle punch tool but removed 2 of the needles as I found it penetrated the foam mat surface more easily.
You can also use a needle felting pen tool, or a wooden multi tool with 3 needles. All the needles and tools can be found in the tools section on the Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts website.
WHAT FELTING MAT SHOULD I USE?
I have used a large foam mat – 30cm x 30cm – with a wool felt topper to protect it. However, any felting mat will do, including a soft wool mat, or hessian mat.
ALWAYS USE A PROTECTIVE TOPPER!
Whatever surface you are working on, I always advise using a topper to protect your mat. Anything from a wool/cotton blend to 100% wool is suitable. It will stop your work from sticking to your felting mat and significantly extend its working life, saving you money and reducing landfill waste. Your wool topper can be sustainably and easily replaced.
LIFT YOUR WORK REGULARLY FROM THE FELTING MAT
This is especially important when flat needle felting. If you don’t lift your work regularly you will find it much harder to peel from your mat. It is normal for your work to stick but this is reduced if you keep moving it, especially when using a multi needle tool.
YOU WON’T GET IT WRONG
Because there is no right and wrong when it comes to this project, and adding your own preferences and details. It is more important that you work on your technique to give you the best possible result. Take your time and make sure to take regular breaks. I would recommend you complete this project in three or more sittings.
WATCH THE VIDEO TUTORIALS
I love questions so please feel free to message me at:
Work alongside me and make these fabulous needle felted characters, step by creative step. I have split the hares and sheep and Highland Cow into several easy parts so you don’t feel overwhelmed plus there’s plenty of time for tea and cake breaks. Put the kettle on and enjoy!
Grab a cuppa and mince pie and get creative with me, You can felt along with me or just watch and save for later. All you need is a handful of wool, any colours or type, and a felting needle. A cocktail stick will come in useful but it’s not essential.
OK, so maybe her attention is more on the mince pie than the needle felted gnome but, she does love wool and loves watching me needle felt. That counts, right?
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
2 – ‘Draw’ a line around the triangle with your needle to create a very rough outline
3 – Remove template and draw around the line a couple more times. This will be your fold line.
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!
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.
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.
7 – Keep repeating the process until it starts to firm up.
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.
9 – Your approx finished triangle which should be soft but firm and holds its shape.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
4 – Flatten the base until it sits without wobbling.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
A short video (only 12 minutes) to help you improve your needle felting techniques.
When needle felting a head (animals or people) it is important to make sure you have a really firm shape. If you have a soft head then when you start to add the features you will distort or flatten the wool.
It is one of the most common mistakes (apart from floppy legs) but very easy to get right. As with all things, practice makes perfect, but needle felting does allow for mistakes because you can just add another layer. Just remember the golden rule: Start smaller and build your shape up and you can add but not take away. If you start too big and have to keep adding you will end up with a head the size of a football and then have to make a body to match! We are now talking life size sheep or giant hares that will just scare everyone, especially the dog or cat…
My best advice: Be patient. Don’t try to run before you can walk. Get the basics right and the rest will follow. Yes, I know your bestie, family member or work colleague wants a sculpture of their dog making after seeing a flower brooch you made? However, anything worth doing takes time. If it didn’t we would all be taking David Bailey quality photographs after an hours tutorial, or be able to put in a whole plumbing system after fixing a leaky tap… Most definitely, very soon we would all be very bored of hearing about each others achievements and stop making the effort.
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!