My Needle Felting Secrets!
Over the years I have learned a few things while needle felting that have helped me immensely. I had to learn about them through trial and error but I am looking forward to sharing my needle felting secrets with you to help you in your needle felting journey. I think there are some techniques out there that make needle felting more nerve racking than it needs to be and I would like to change that for you.
These are the 4 things I have found that have made needle felting
- more comfortable
- and quicker
I have been needle felting since 2006 with the support of a local group of fiber enthusiasts. (we call ourselves the Woolly Women) The Woolly Women have been my biggest fans and teachers at the same time. (You can learn more about my felting journey here.) They have helped me think of ways to speed up the felting process along with many things we have learned together as a group.
So here we go, my top 4 Needle Felting Secrets:
Felting Cushion –
Save yourself some money and headaches and go find some upholstery foam. You can use any thickness, if you like to work on your lap get a piece that is 6 inches thick so you don’t have to lean over so far. You can often find a bin of scrap pieces that are extra cheep in assorted sizes. It doesn’t really matter what size, they all work. It is good to find foam that is fairly firm. There are all sorts of felting cushions available for sale with pretty high claims, but I use upholstery foam and have found it to work quite fine. I sell felting cushions here on my website because customers continue to ask for it. (it’s cut up upholstery foam.) 🙂
Felting needle holder –
I have tried so many ways to make holding the felting needle for hours and hours more comfortable. I’ve tried wood holders, that feel awkward in my hand and felting needles I’ve dipped in Plasti Dip that slowly fall apart. What I finally found to be the most comfortable is putting my single felting needle in a pen. I remove the guts from the pen, put the needle down in the pen until it comes out the bottom and fill the rest in with packed wool. This turns out to be the most comfortable and easily manipulated tool ever. I highly recommend it! My Favorite Felting Tool Tutorial.
Here’s my big secret! I don’t use one,Never have. I get asked this so much and I have heard about several tutorials on how to make wire armatures. I can’t imagine how nerve racking it must be to work around wire the entire time you are felting. Making them posable is one reason I have seen to do this. The animals I felt are adjustable enough for me, without the headache. I do put a sturdy wire in the long legs of my animals and some of my antlers and horns. Just one wire though for the legs, after I have made the body. So the only time I have to work around the wire is while felting the legs and antlers. I don’t mean to bash anyone that has been using armatures for years with much success! I just want those that are just starting out to know that this isn’t absolutely necessary and beautiful sculptures can be made without them. (more about armatures)
Speeding up the process –
Needle felting is very time consuming, and any way of speeding up the process is much appreciated. We raise sheep here at Bear Creek and we have some sheep that aren’t as tidy as the others. Their wool is full of hay or not as high quality and not favorable for felting. I use this wool to make the bases for my sculptures. We take this wool and run it through a picker. (a tool that pulls the fiber apart) I ball up the wool and put it in nylon stockings tying knots after each ball. I through them in the washing machine with some soap. I wash them in hot water a couple times and in the end I cut them out of the nylons and have nice solidly felted balls. While wet they can be shaped into ovals or flattened to be bases for your felting projects. This may seem like a lot of work but it saves money and time in the end. I will be posting a more detailed tutorial on how to make the wool balls shortly. Stay tuned or sign up for my email.
If you are looking for a project for just starting out in needle felting or even if you are an experienced needle felter you will want to check out my needle felting kits. The kits contain everything you need to complete a project complete with wool from my flock of sheep. The kits are designed by myself for beginner and advanced needle felting. They showcase the many techniques I have learned over the years. I also offer an online needle felting class where you will complete a flock of three sheep.
That’s all I’ve got for now! Stay tuned for more helpful needle felting tips.