I am often asked if wire is needed for needle felting, and the short answer is no. In fact I rarely use a full wire armature because I like a firm felt. However, using wire in specific areas can really help you create the shape you need, and create more detail and dimension.
Use it in the neck of a sheep so you can pose the head, or the horns and tail of an animal to create great shapes. If you want super thin legs or arms then wire is a great solution. Alternatively, make limbs around a BBQ skewer (the ‘farmers friend’ of needle felting), to create smooth legs and perfect symmetry in super fast time.
Watch the video tutorial, at the bottom of the post, from our Friday night felt along on the FACEBOOK GROUP, or follow the mini tutorial below, and you will be amazed at how professional the finished result is, even if you have never needle felted before!
QUICK TUTORIAL (scroll to bottom for video tutorial)
Make Time: Super fast! Approximately 20 minutes for both legs plus faffing time…
- Long lengths of wool top or carded wool.
- Wooden BBQ Skewer.
- Medium felting needle; 38 or 36 works well. Too fine a needle can break easily.
- Soft base to work on.
- A cuppa always helps.
The needle felting kit and pattern are available via the links below and you can join the new FACEBOOK GROUP HERE
LOOK, NO WIRE? Making Perfect Legs Around A Wooden BBQ Skewer
As I mentioned, if string is a ‘farmers friend’ then a wooden BBQ skewer is most definitely a ‘felters friend’. Never be without one as it will change the way you needle felt, drastically reducing the chore of hours spent smoothing and shaping.
This is super easy, but technique is important and you may have a couple of false starts as the legs need to be kept tight and narrow, but that’s ok. Just unravel and start again. When finished they will be firm and smooth and the last couple of centimetres will be built up for the feet/paws. TOP TIP: Remember to keep the top of the legs very loose as they will be attached to the body and should look like they are part of the finished project, not just stuck on.
Let’s get going!
1 Select a length of carded wool or wool top/roving and split down the middle. This means that both legs will use equal amounts of wool and sizes will be more or less the same.
2 Start to wrap the wool tightly around the skewer, starting close to the top of the stick. TOP TIP: Keep the wool flat between your thumb and finger so the wool doesn’t twist and become lumpy and uneven.
3 Keeping the wool tight, continue for a little way then stop and felt around the entire area to secure. TOP TIP: Work at a diagonal angle around the sides of the stick keeping hold of the wool so it doesn’t become loose. If it does, unwrap and start again. This will also avoid bending or breaking the needle.
4 Continue with the process until the leg is approximately two thirds of its final length (you will see why when you remove it from the skewer) and add more wool to the foot to widen it. Continue to felt and shape the foot until it is firm. TOP TIP: A foot/paw that is significantly bigger than the rest of the leg will have more impact when your project is finished.
5 Remove from the stick and felt a little more but avoid the top of the leg as this needs to be kept loose for attaching to the body. TO TIP: Don’t worry if the shape is not perfect as you are going to fix that in a moment.
6 You are now going to roll the leg firmly in your hands to firm and smooth it, which will also lengthen it. When you do this keep the top of the leg sticking out, so the wool remains loose. In just a few seconds of firm rolling you will see how the leg has really firmed up and become even smoother without the need for any wires. TOP TIP: Don’t over roll it as it will become longer than needed.
Here’s what some of the fabulous Facebook group have been making and it’s a great technique that can be adapted to almost any project.
I was blown away by the quality, personality and individual styles of the projects from the FACEBOOK GROUP members and the feedback has been so good!
VIDEO TUTORIAL – Felt along with me!