Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Needle Felting - A work in progress Part 1

Hi there! I'm going to show you how I made this little guy:

One of my all-time favorite ways to create things---by using super-sharp, barbed needles, repeatedly stabbing into fluffy wool until the fibers interlock and form shapes. Ahh...definitely a great stress reliever, and FUN.

It had been a while since I'd done any needle felting and I was really starting to miss it. Then the other day an idea popped into my head to make some tiny little art-dolls...but different than anything I've seen done anywhere else in needle felting. Cute little kid-faces peeking out of hooded costumes...I've got so many ideas swimming in my head with these, I'm having a hard time concentrating on anything else.
I've already finished a "practice" one (or prototype if I want to sound all fancy) so I could get a feel for how to approach it, what to do and what to avoid. Now I'm making one for REAL :) Here are a few photos taken at my worktable tonight (click on any photo if you want to see it a little more closely)...

After shaping a ball from the wool, I begin needling in 'eyeholes' and doing a little basic sculpting of the face. I like to do these steps first because it gives the whole "coming to life" effect sooner, and it always spurs me on to keep going when I see a little face emerging :)
The hair I'll use for these dolls is silky Tibetan Lamb; this stuff is so soft and beautiful. I have a lot left over from doing polymer clay sculptures - I love crossover supplies!

The little bunny girl up there is the first one I made when I got the idea...she's looking down at the featureless face and waiting patiently for a friend to be created :)
I'm using black German glass eyes with loops on these little guys (and girls) as you can see in the photos, but I'm applying the hair first, and here's why: I do a lot of 'deep' needling when applying the hair because it's so silky... I find that it needs a lot of poking to be really attached firmly. And since I am going to be sewing the glass eyes in for extra durability, I don't want to risk hitting the eye-thread inside this little guy's head while going to town on needling the hair in. It would weaken the thread and I kind of like everything to stay put! So the major hair application is done first, then the eyes get sewn in using a long doll needle.

Here, I've sewn in the eyes and am finishing up the hairline, with quick little jabs as you can tell from the blurriness of my right hand! And yep, that does result in quick little jabs to my own fingers once in a while, but it's not as bad as it sounds. Really it's more startling than painful. Honest.

That's it for tonight, hopefully I'll get some time tomorrow night to continue!


  1. The Bunny Girl and the Bumblebee are BOTH so adorable! I have to tell you I AM impressed with your talent using this medium although personally....I would not know where to begin to attempt doing this if I was even *thinking* about it, LOL! I can't wait to see what you will create next!

  2. This is so cute! I'm also trying to learn, but I cannot figure out how to attach the eyes. I also got some glass eyes with loops, and the loop makes the eye stick out from the face so that the eye won't lay flush with the face. (I hope that makes sense.) I tried squashing the loop almost flat against the back of the eye with pliers, leaving just enough of the loop to push the needle through, but the eye still doesn't lay flat. Do I just need to needle-felt a deeper indentation where the eye will go? Any advice would be really, really appreciated!

  3. Hi there Anonymous ;) You inspired me to do a tutorial about your question! I've just finished taking the photos, now I need to do the write-up and I will post it later this afternoon or this evening, so check back!


  4. Tutorial posted!

  5. Thanks for the tutorial posting. Loved stopping by. Off to read more. Hope you can stop by my garden.