How To Use Wire For Needle Felting – Plus Mini Tutorial

I will let you into a little secret; unless you are working on big projects you really don’t need a full wire frame.

Working with a wire armature can be a little daunting, especially if you are new to needle felting and, to be honest, I find working with a full wire armature a little fiddly. I usually prefer working with a firmer shape so I tend to work more with just part armature; usually just the legs, neck or tail. It’s easy and really useful for when something needs stability or to add detail or dimension that can’t otherwise be achieved e.g the neck and legs on the flamingo, the tail and legs of the mouse and the life size ears of the Snow hare below.

Wire is used just for the neck and legs of the flamingo
Wire wrapped neck is then felted straight onto the body

Wrapping wire is really easy and can be done quite quickly and simply, but don’t be too ambitious and decide that tiny fingers and toes are going to be your first attempt. You will almost certainly set yourself up for a fail at the first hurdle and probably run for the needle felted hills. I still avoid tiny fingers and toes – if there is another option – so don’t sweat it.




Feet and tail are wire wrapped for shape and stability. The tail helps keep the mouse upright.

Instead, get used to wrapping wire and creating simple shapes. Most important is the wool and wire you use. Get those right and the task is so much easier, a lot more fun and negates the need for any messy wax or glue.

The ears of this life size Snowshoe hare were 10 inches long and the wool was wrapped around an oval wire frame, then needle felted to the head.

What wire should you use?

My favourites are floristry wire (the paper wrapped kind) or pipe cleaners. Using either of these means the wool holds really well as you wrap it around the wire and requires little felting, thus reducing the risk of broken or bent needles and no need for messy wax.

Top Tip: I like to use the old-style cotton covered pipe cleaners because the wool holds better than on the chenille kind.

Wire size/gauge – I usually opt for 0.5mm or 1mm if I’m working on something larger.

Wool

It’s all personal preference but for me it is usually wool top/roving because you can use long, continuous lengths that can be pulled really tightly around the wire, giving it a lovely smooth, neat finish. I like to use white Jacob or Shetland tops but any wool top will do.

Wax

I don’t use it unless I am wrapping tiny fingers and toes. I seem to get more on myself than the project so I avoid it if possible and find that I rarely need it anyway. That said, I know some felters who get on really well with it so it really is personal preference.

Try the mini tutorial below

Have a practice by following the tutorial below. This one is for creating Flamingo legs but the same method can be used for any felting project. If you are creating sheep or hares just continue to wrap your wool around the wire to build up the limbs.

Top Tip: This is where the majority of needles get bent or broken so take care and use the ‘softly softly’ approach.

1 Create the shape you want with your wire. I am using 0.5mm tape covered floristry wire, 24cm long which I have doubled over for strength and stability. There is no need for pliers with this gauge wire as it bends and twists easily.

Create your shape

1 Pull a thin piece of wool top/roving down the long length of your wool; it needs to be thin so it covers the wire without bulking it out.

2 Start to wrap tightly down from the top of the leg (this is to cover the wire). Tip: wrap a few times in one place at the top of the leg and rub around with your fingers to mesh the fibres together so they hold (no need for wax).

3 and 4 Wrap around the first half of the foot then pull the length of wool through the hoop.

5 Pull the loose length over the front of the foot and pull towards the back of the foot and felt gently a few times to hold it in place. Tip: I do it this way because I find it easier to cover the foot without showing any wire.

6 Continue to wrap around the foot until it is covered and felt each side.

Tip: Finish felting through the top of the foot and pull, or trim, any excess from underneath.

Your legs are now ready to attach to your creation.

Building up the legs

If you need chunkier legs, say something like mice – just continue to wrap with your wool until you are happy with the size and shape. Top Tip: always leave loose wool at the top of the wire so you can felt it to the body.

For video tutorials visit: Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts on YouTube

Kits and accessories are available on the website at: Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts

Est. 2013
© 2013 Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts

Advertisements

Making Needle Felted Mushrooms; using 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.

4

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

This Needle Felting Kit Is More Fun Than You Can Shake A Fairy At!

‘Shroom With A View’ needle felting kit has arrived and if you are already a fabulous Felt Club member you will have already received your mahoosive discount code! You are so worth it. I must admit I am a little bit in love with this one.

Makes one large mushroom house and garden or two smaller ones.

This is the latest addition to my garden range of needle felting kits; perfect for only the best dressed fairies and gnomes.

A beautiful enchanted garden needle felting kit to feed the imagination and add a whimsical, woodland  flourish to any room.

Ideal for any skill level including absolute beginners.

Nature and nurture in one beautiful piece plus sustainable and eco friendly credentials to boot. The result is a beautiful statement piece celebrating the art of needle felting and the wonderful properties of natural fibers.

TAKE ME TO ‘SHROOM KIT

ETSY

Ended!

Fiver Friday If you are super fast you may get in on the fiver Friday action! This Blue Tit supply pack should keep you busy for a few hours with perfectly matched colours, wire for legs and black glass eyes. Can you believe that the fiver includes UK postage…I’m not even sure how I managed that!!!
Only available until midnight tonight so don’t hang about! Discount already applied.

30% discount on all needle felting patterns Last little treat for you.  until the 7th June. Instantly downloadable and printable. 15 to choose from for all abilities.

TAKE ME TO PATTERNS

ETSY

Become a VIP Felt Club Member and be spoiled with exclusive access to promotions, secret discount codes for new product launches and sneak peeks and your loyalty discount code on every purchase, forever! BECOME A VIP FELT CLUB MEMBER

FELT CLUB PHOTO

Want to know what needle felting is all about? Just pop over and have a look at my series of video tutorials. TAKE ME TO NEEDLE FELTING VIDEO TUTORIALS

TWITTER VIDEO SERIES

Have a fab weekend and big love for all the support!  heart hands.jpg

Est. 2013
© 2013 Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts