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.
I am often asked how to use wire for needle felting, and is it even needed? 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.
WHEN SHOULD I USE WIRE FOR NEEDLE FELTING?
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. Using the BBQ skewer as a tool negates the need for using wire altogether for many projects.
USING A BBQ SKEWER WILL CHANGE THE WAY YOU NEEDLE FELT!
Parsley, the needle felted hare seen below has no wire anywhere. This gorgeous needle felting project was made, almost entirely, using a wooden BBQ skewer. I started using this method back in 2017 and it has made teaching needle felting, and creating projects, so much easier!
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!
HOW TO NEEDLE FELT FIRM LEGS WITHOUT WIRE – QUICK AND EASY TUTORIAL
Scroll to bottom of the post for the video tutorial.
Make Time: Super fast! Approximately 20 minutes for both legs plus faffing time…
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 impactwhen 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 made during the live workshop! It’s a great technique that can be adapted to almost any project. Join the group HERE and come along to the free live events.
I was blown away by the quality, personality and individual styles of the projects from the FACEBOOK GROUP members and the amazing feedback has been so good!
VIDEO TUTORIAL – Felt along with me!
Watch the full tutorial and felt alongside me, workshop style.
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!