Warning! Needle felting is highly addictive and could lead to compulsive creativity…
No sewing, no wires, no glue… honestly and, if like me you enjoy a more laid back approach to arts and crafts then read on.
Needle felting is utterly versatile and allows you to create the most simple or complex sculptures with handful of loose wool and a barbed* needle; done by stabbing the wool over and over and shaping until it meshes the wool fibers together, creating a firm object.
You don’t have to sew, knit, follow a pattern or even be creative. Enthusiasm is all you need!
*They actually have notches but most sites describe them as barbed so that is what I will refer to them as… I will discuss needle sizes and their uses on another page.
The Origin of Needle Felting: Felt is strong and its origins go back to the 1950’s when industrial size felting machines were invented to produce on a much larger scale for many items such as: car and instrument dampers, piano keys, insulation, polishers etc.
The introduction of hand needle felting sometime back in the 70’s/80’s and a little nudge from Kirsty Allsopp has given felting a thoroughly modern makeover that has taken the crafting world by storm in the last few years..
Needle felting is a completely different process to the ancient craft of wet felting; no mess and you only need a small area to work on and, pretty cheap in comparison to many crafts as you need very little to get started. You will find lots of info here on wool type, accessories and my own preferences. I have also made it really easy for you by putting it all in a starter kit to help you get set up.
In contrast, wet felting is combining wool fibres using water soap and an awful lot of agitation (the rubbing kind; not the ‘grrrr’ kind…) and, although I love wet felting, I can be a very messy worker.
Needle felting essentials: tea, cake and enthusiasm!
With needle felting the possibilities are endless and there really isn’t anything you can’t turn into a needle felted sculpture, whether it be life-size or a teeny, tiny miniature.