Penguins are the best at any time of year, but even more so when the Winter chill sets in. These cute needle felted baby penguins are great fun and an easy and relaxing project, using simple shapes and needle felting techniques. Just imagine your house filled with a ‘Waddle’ of penguins; yes, that really is the name for a group of penguins.
Also, don’t forget I am holding a live workshop on Saturday over on my Facebook page. It’s free and will be 90 minutes of joyful , festive creativity. Plus, you will be able to ask me all your needle felting questions. Full details and link below; it would be lovely to see you there! Click photo for Facebook notifications.
Each video tutorial breaks down every step of needle felting your animals into simple body shapes and can easily be can be adapted for whatever animal you are making. They are perfect for beginners, improvers or anyone wanting some creative respite and I have created each video to guide you step by step – workshop style – on your creative journey, sharing my top tips to make it even quicker and easier.
Everything you need to know is covered, from needle felting your basic body shape at the start to putting it all together, in simple bite size chunks that will give you the confidence to continue with this fabulously addictive craft.
If you are working from one of my NEEDLE FELTING KITS just follow the written instructions alongside the video tutorials.
Adding a long coat to your needle felted sheep adds serious impact as well as adding another element of realism. I have had a lot of requests asking how it’s done and the technique is so easy that even the most nervous beginner will be able to tackle this with ease. Once learned, this technique can be used for so many other animals and projects.
YOU WILL NEED:
Any medium to coarse wool top.
Standard felting needle – 36 or 38 gauge are good all rounders.
Foam pad or felting mat to support your project.
TIME TO MAKE
Adding wool top and trimming: 20 minutes
Faff time: how long is a piece of string?
For full, flowing effect use a wool top for long coats, also known as roving although this isn’t strictly accurate. Carded wool can be used but you just don’t get the same results as the fibres are much shorter and run in different directions. As I am making my favourite, the Herdwick sheep, I have used Herdwick wool top but any medium to coarse wool top will work just as well. Herdwick wool top is very coarse, and sheds a lot so is not entirely suitable for all aspects of needle felting. However, for this application it is perfect and the earthy texture is just what I am looking for.
Herdwick Sheep needle felting kits are available on the website HERE
Lets get creating! Visit the homepage HERE for full list of tutorials
1) Your ‘naked’ sheep is prepped and ready for it’s top coat. To make this sheep follow the basic shapes video tutorials HERE.
2) If your wool top is quite thick then split it down the middle before starting
3) Cut (or pull) a strip of wool approximately 10cm long, but longer if your sheep is larger than mine which is 9cm from feet to top of its back. Please note: this is one of the few times it is OK to cut wool as the cut eds will not be attached to anything. TOP TIP: Cutting wool for needle felting is generally a no no as it damages the fibres, and prevents them from felting. If you do need to cut a piece away from your needle felting project (head maybe too big or legs not firm enough) make sure you wrap it in fresh, uncut wool before re-attaching.
4) Lay your strip of wool on the bottom half of the body of your sheep.
5 & 6 ) Felt across the centre of the strip of wool to keep it in place. Make sure it is firmly attached as you don’t want it to pull away when handled.
7 & 8) Fold the top over to double the thickness
9) Felt along the top to keep it in place.
Fun Herdwick fact: Herdy’s will climb up to 3000ft to graze on the Lakeland high fells, and are fondly known as the ‘gardners’ of the Lake District.
10) Repeat this process around the sheep until you have created a ‘skirt’. Trim around the bottom of the skirt so that the legs are visible and the wool is an even length all the way round.
11 & 12) Repeat steps 1 to 10 and create a second skirt approximately 1 to 2 cm above the first.
13) Once the second skirt is complete lay a strip of wool across the sheeps back.
14) Felt down the centre of the wool strip to secure it. Repeat once or twice more until the back is covered.
15 & 16) Skip this part if your sheep doesn’t have a neck. Add much thinner strips of wool around the neck but leave the top part of the neck visible.
17 & 18) Your sheep is looking a bit wild so smooth it down with your hands.
19) Now you have flattened the wool it is looking a bit chunky so time for a trim. You can also snip into it, hairdresser style, to thin it out and give it some layers. TOP TIP: Take your time as you can’t stick it back on once you have cut it and you don’t want to end up with bald spots.
20) Give it a gentle shake to get rid of any loose wool. TOP TIP: You may want to do this outside or in a bag to avoid lots of fibres flying everywhere.
21) I quite like the wild look but, if you want to go for the more traditional then just smooth the coat down and fluff gently with the tips of your fingers. Now, depending on the sheep you have created you may just want to leave it at that. However, the Herdwick sheep sport a pretty nifty ‘buzz’ cut so continue to the next section to see how it’s done.
22) Lay a thin strip of wool across the top of the head
23) Secure by felting across the centre of the wool strip, making sure the eyes are still visible.
24) You now have something of a troll situation going on.
25) Trim quite close to the head, being careful not to snip into the ears.
26) There you have it. Your sheep in all its long coated glory, ready for even the harshest of Cumbrian winters.
If you are ready to dip your needle felting toe into the water this super easy needle felting pattern is a great place to begin. Perfect for even the most nervous of beginners this step by step guide will have you confidently creating fabulous needle felted characters in no time. Grab your free printable below. Just click for access, no purchase or subscription necessary.
If you don’t have wool or needles then a needle felting kit is the perfect way to get started. There are more than 30 to choose from on the website. All you have to do is open the box and add enthusiasm!
I love creating new needle felting video tutorials for you all, and anything that gives you the confidence to try this amazing craft is a win win for me. You can felt along with or without a a Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts Needle Felting Kit and all you need is a cuppa, felting needle, mat and your wool stash. My videos are perfect for even the most nervous of beginners and this one shows how to create really simple, but super cute, details for your animal faces, in just ten minutes! I’m not kidding, it really is only ten minutes.
‘KEEP IT SIMPLE’ is my mantra and the video tutorials on this blog and YouTube are designed to do just that. They are the building blocks of needle felting; a perfect beginners introduction on how to get it right from the very start.
As well as standalone video tutorials they also perfectly compliment my range of needle felting kits; if you have purchased a kit then you can happily needle felt along with each tutorial as you work through the different stages of your project.
I hope these short videos will help you build confidence as you needle felt along with me, workshop style. It’s such a wonderfully addictive craft. No sewing, wires or tricky patterns and all you need is enthusiasm.
I don’t normally post non needle felting related blogs but couldn’t resist as I am so thrilled to be April’s featured business in the fabulous online Handmade Seller Magazine. A huge thank you to Dani, founder and digital artist, at Handmade Seller Magazine for inviting me to be this months featured seller. Wow, writing a feature is hard and takes so much more time than you realise but, I really enjoyed going back over the last 6 years and reviewing my business journey. And, even if I do say so myself, it’s a really good read 📰
I have been a ma-hoosive fan (and subscriber) of this great online publication for about four years now and it’s a fantastic resource for handmade sellers. It covers everything from E commerce and Etsy to Pinterest, blogging, SEO (search engine optimisation), photography tips, resources…the list really does go on and on.
Even better, featured stories are told by the people who know best, business owners, sharing their own stories of successes, and failures.
It was a real honour to be asked to contribute. I hope you enjoy it and it helps you on your own handmade business journey or just gives you the courage to start.