Sewing Eyes Onto Your Needle Felted Animal

In just five minutes and four easy steps!

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.

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Shows how to sew eyes onto needle felted animals

Beads can be used for all your needle felted animals.

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HAPPY FELTING!

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.

Free Printable – Needle Felted Mushrooms – Unlock your inner creative!

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. 

TAKE ME TO THE FREE PRINTABLE 

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!

TAKE ME TO NEEDLE FELTING KITS

Inspiring needle felting kits for beginners and beyond

Needle Felting Video Tutorial: Sheep Ears Made Simple

A question I am often asked by new or beginner felters is how to complete the more fiddly finishing touches of a needle felting project. The small size and need for symmetry is something many struggle with when felting sheep ears, but it really doesn’t need to be a complicated process. The below video tutorial will show you all the techniques, tips, and tricks you need to create perfect sheep ears in just 15 minutes; or just 10 if you cut out the waffle.

WATCH ALL THE ‘NEEDLE FELTING FOR BEGINNERS’ VIDEO SERIES

Tiny ears are simple once armed with the right technique.

This video tutorial builds upon the written tutorial to show the entire process of creating and attaching sheep ears to your creation. If, like me, you are a visual learner and prefer to follow along with someone else, this real-time video tutorial is the one for you!

NEW VIDEO TUTORIAL

TAKE ME TO WRITTEN TUTORIAL

Create perfect ears for your needle felting projects

WATCH ALL THE ‘NEEDLE FELTING FOR BEGINNERS’ VIDEO SERIES


Little ears for mice and deer can be created using the same technique; all you change is the shape.

For needle felting kits please visit the LINCOLNSHIRE FENN CRAFTS website.

Est. 2013
© 2013 Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts

Needle Felted Mushrooms With Core Wool

This tutorial uses the super easy, soft sculpture technique style of needle felting. Once you have tried it you will fall in love with its simplicity and versatility. If you want to go straight to the mushroom tutorial click below, if you want to learn a little more before you start then read on.

TAKE ME STRAIGHT TO MUSHROOM TUTORIAL

Types Of Needle Felting

There are so many wool options for needle felting that it can make the room spin but really, needle felting mostly falls into just three categories. Yes, there are more but these are the most commonly used, and all you need to be familiar with when you are just starting out.

1 Flat felting: Pictures, brooches and, in my case, really big bunny ears

Flat felting: Needle Felted Picture

2 Firm sculpture: I like to use the coarse British wool tops/roving for this style.

Firm felting: Needle felted hares with flat felted ears

3 Soft sculpture (it’s really squidgy): Uses wool batting sheets (wool that has been carded into short fibres) and core wool, which is essentially stuffing and is what you wrap your batting sheet around.

Soft needle felted sculpture: it’s really squidgy

Creating needle felted soft sculpture is so easy and there is no end to what you can create; pumpkins are my favourite and there’s a video for that too. All you need is some wool batting, core wool, a felting base (foam pad or hessian mat) or a needle felting kit.

What Is Core Wool?

I just want to quickly talk about core wool as it often causes confusion. Core wool, for soft sculpture, is like toy stuffing and you wrap the batting sheet around it. It is made up of uneven, short fibres and is a little bit lumpy; perfect for our project. It is usually the ‘scraps’ of wool that can’t be used for firm felting or spinning, is cheaper than wool tops/roving and is mostly white or grey.

Five minute tutorial Here’s a quick guide to making a mushroom cap with core wool at the centre. This only takes around five minutes or you can watch the video tutorial which also works alongside the, ‘Shroom With A View’ needle felting kit.

1 Scrunch the core wool firmly into the shape of a bread roll and hold the centre to keep in place. Use your felting needle in a straight in and out motion (around the sides) to secure the shape. TIP: It doesn’t matter if the shape is uneven or untidy because the whole piece will soon be covered. Continue turning and felting the whole piece for a few minutes until you have your rough shape and size; it will be really squidgy, quite loose and won’t be a perfect shape.

2 Lay your wool batting sheet on your felting pad and put your core wool in the centre. Pull the batting sheet firmly around your core wool and felt into the centre.

3 Gather the batting firmly towards the centre, so it doesn’t have any sags, and felt in place. Pull away any excess. Top Tip: Only felt in the centre as this will keep the top and sides of your mushroom free of needle marks.

4 Your finished ‘shroom cap ready for it’s spots and maybe a chimney or two.

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Take Me To Full Mushroom Turorial

The possibilities are endless Once you have learned this quick and easy technique you will soon be making, well anything and every thing you want; enchanted gardens, pumpkins, ‘shrooms, snowmen. The list goes on and on and I am still trying to give away the mountain of pumpkins I made last year.

Supplies If you don’t have any wool or needles then they can all be found on the website, alongside the ‘Shroom With A View and Honey Pot Cottage needle felting kits. TAKE ME TO WEBSITE

TAKE ME TO PUMPKIN TUTORIAL

Click for hedgehog tutorial

If you are brand new to needle felting then pop over to the essential blog post for beginners: THE DO’S AND DON’TS OF NEEDLE FELTING

Happy creating x

Est. 2013
© 2013 Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts

Creating Cute Animal Faces

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.

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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.

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Brand new to needle felting? Dos And Don’ts For Beginners

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The Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts Sheep

Est. 2013
© 2013 Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts

needle felted sheep picture

How To Needle Felt A Picture

All photographs and finished pictures are Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts originals so please make sure to credit my pictures as inspiration should you decide to use them as reference for your own picture. This also applies to all social media and blog pages. Copies of my picture must not be sold! However I am happy for them to be gifted as long as full credit is given. All copyright laws apply.

I have had lots of requests to put together a quick guide to get you started on needle felting a 2D/3D picture so, using my own pictures as inspiration, here it is. It is suitable for all abilities (including complete beginners) and you can work at your own level and at your own pace. If this is your first time needle felting then please watch my beginner video tutorials to familiarise yourself with basic techniques:

HOW TO NEEDLE FELT

BASIC SHAPE VIDEO TUTORIAL

If you are new to needle felting, or don’t have many colours, I have put together a picture pack containing a carefully chosen wool selection, natural pre-felt and natural effect fibres that can be used for needle felting and wet felting. I will be focusing on needle felting but you can adapt to suit whatever project you are working on.

Shop Picture Needle Felting Kit

Preparation and planning is really important. I find using a photograph of a landscape, animal, woodland scene etc for reference/inspiration really helpful. It can be the roughest of guides or very specific to the photograph or image you have in mind. You may have a particular animal you want to incorporate into the picture which is also a great starting point; anything goes.

For this guide I am creating fields as the backdrop with a 2 D wooden gate, Herdwick Sheep and pebble wall in the foreground. It is called, ‘Watching Me, Watching Ewe.’ I know, cheese on toast right… but it was too good an opportunity not to. You should hear my pirate jokes. I save those for special occasions, usually workshops.  #sorrynotsorry to anyone who has been at the receiving end of them…

Enough pre-amble, lets get started.


1 – Using a piece of *pre-felt for the back of your picture take a marker or chalk to, very roughly, draw out your idea on to the pre-felt: ZERO DRAWING SKILLS REQUIRED. This way you can ensure that you can fit in all the elements you want to use.

* I always use pure Shetland but any 100% wool felt is OK. Size of the pre-felt I used for this picture is approx 20cm square. A 30cm square is included in the picture pack.

2 – I am making a *Herdwick picture with a landscape backdrop and stone wall to get lots of 2D elements in there. It’s quite a small picture; 20cm square to fit into some lovely shadow boxes I have. Also, starting with a smaller picture means there is less white space to fill which can be a little daunting and it takes less time.

*All photographs and finished pictures are Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts originals so please make sure to credit my pictures as inspiration should you decide to use them as reference for your own picture. All copyright laws apply.

Instructional diagram on needle felting herdwick sheep

3 – Mark your colours and objects so you know where your wool and 2D elements are going to sit. Keep it as simple as possible and remember these are just your guide lines.

4 – Time to get out your wool and needles. I am using a star 36/38 needles (good all rounders) and a punch tool (7 needles) to speed up the process.

5 – I felted the landscape first but you can start wherever you want depending on your picture style. I will be felting on my 2D elements later and adding embellishment. Lay your colour on, or between the lines, you have drawn, and use your needle to gently felt into place. It doesn’t have to be firmly felted but should stay in position.

I have used a mix of coarse wool tops and some semi carded wool tops that I had a lot of.

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6 – Continue to gently needle felt your selected colours until the back ground is full.

7 – If you are happy with the layout then go ahead and felt the whole background more firmly (but not too flat), peeling it off your mat at intervals so it doesn’t stick. If you are doing a lot of flat felting then I recommend a rice filled hessian or strong cotton felting pad and a punch tool. Trust me, you will thank me later for cutting your felting time by three quarters.

Don’t worry if you have covered up some of your lines; remember they were just a guide.

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You can also blend colours either by hand or using blending brushes (glorified dog brushes). For this picture I used a blend of Shetland blue top, light blue silk fibre and light grey Swaledale top for the sky.

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8 – I wanted a distinct line separating the fields and used very thin strips of dark brown Jacob wool top to achieve this. Felt the lines quite firmly into the pre-felt which will push it down and give a little more depth.

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Time to create some 2D elements.

9 – Wall

I have used lots of muted colours to create the pebbled wall appearance. Avoid all ‘flat’ colours by blending different colour wool by hand; if using the landscape box some colours will not need blending as they will already have texture and different shades. A soft palette works really well for this style of picture e.g purple blended with white, dark grey blended with white or light grey

Make your stones by rolling your wool into a very rough ball shape (this is not the shape you will end up with but will create dimension) and felting all over with your needle. Keep the wool moving as it firms up and don’t try to make it even; have you ever seen even shapes on a dry stone wall… Make quite a few different shapes and sizes; mine are  approx 1.5cm to 2.5cm then place them on your picture in the walled area to see how many more you will actually need.

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Once done stitch or glue them into position; I’m not a purist and whichever you choose is fine. Clearly, using glue is so much faster and a strong fabric glue will do just fine as long as you give it a little time to dry. Using glue also allows you to move your pebbles about before the glue dries; you will be ready for a cuppa at this stage anyway.

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10 – Time to make the Herdwick sheep head (or whichever animal you have chosen).

Please follow the link to the video tutorial: How to needle felt a head shape  You will want to flatten the back of the head so it sits nicely on your picture. You can then needle felt your eyes or use beads (included in the picture pack).

11- Start with a small length of white wool (approx 2g) and roll into a rough oval shape felting (stabbing gently with your needle) and tucking in the ends as you go.  Gently felt until it holds its shape and turning as you felt. Continue to felt until you have achieved a rough egg/oval shape. Now flatten the back of the head by needle felting until it sits flat on the picture but don’t attach it yet; it’s ears are missing.

12 – Ears: For the ears take a pinch of white wool. Lay it on your pad and draw a rough circle with your felting needle and fold the wool around the line you have drawn, felting it into the centre. Turn over (to prevent from sticking) and repeat a few times, leaving one end loose (to attach to the head) and felt until flat, smooth and slightly firm. Repeat for other ear. Attach the loose end of each ear to the side of the head and felt or sew into position so it is peeping over the wall.

13 – Gently felt on very thin wisps (even thinner than that) onto the face to create the nose and mouth. N.B. Easiest way is to roll very thin wisps of wool between your fingers before felting to the face. Alternatively, you can sew on using black or dark grey thread.

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14 – Add your gate by rolling and felting your brown wool into short lengths and overlapping for effect before gently felting into position. You may reposition a few times before you are happy with it.

15 – Add your wool for the body of your animal but don’t felt it flat and keep it quite loose as this will create dimension. I have used loose curly grey locks.

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16- Now add your foreground details. I have used greens and some locks for a grassy feel but be as creative as you wish. You could add flowers, butterflies, bees etc.

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17 – Finishing touches make all the difference and as you can see I have used french knots (easy and absolutely no need to be perfect). YouTube French Knot Tutorial. Curly locks also add more interest and dimension.

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There you have it. Super easy 2D picture tutorial.

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I have done a few pictures which are so worth the time they take. Here are a few more ideas for inspiration.

‘Asleep Under The Cherry Tree’ A gift for my daughter.

Again, I have used French Knots as well as beads for interest and detail.


‘Midnight At The Northern Lights’ 

Midnight is the name of my hare in the picture and inspiration came from my dream of visiting the  Northern Lights.

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You can also use wet felted pictures as a base and then add  two dimensional effects using needle felting. Free motion embroidery works really well on wet felted backgrounds. Below is a very unfinished picture waiting for me to decide what to do next. I have needle felted onto Shetland pre-felt then wet felted the whole scene incorporating locks and silk fibres.

There are lots of YouTube videos showing wet felting techniques: Wet Felting Tutorial

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So there you have it. The possibilities are endless and I hope this guide has inspired you to try something new. Happy creating!

If you would like a picture pack then please click on the link below for the website. You can also find my favourite selection of needle felting accessories and tools.

Shop website wool bundle

Shop Etsy wool bundle

Est. 2013
© 2013 Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts

needle felted herdwick sheep

Herdwick Sheep And Winnie The Pooh

Herdwick three ways. My favourite sheep. Natural, sustainable and completely biodegradable; what more do you want from a craft…

Have a fabulous week everyone and always remember that crafts are the perfect, instant respite when the stresses and strains of daily life start to get on top of you. So, today is officially my ‘Crafts As Therapy’ Monday. Failing that, just read a few Winnie The Pooh quotes; if that doesn’t work then we are all doomed and should stay in bed for the rest of our lives…

“I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” —Winnie-the-Pooh

Use the basic shapes video or tutorial to make the head and body then be as creative as you like. Sheep are the easiest way to start needle felting and you don’t even need to add the legs: BASIC SHAPE VIDEO 

If you fancy something more seasonal then the NEEDLE FELTED PUMPKIN VIDEO is perfect!

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