Needle felting is an art that anyone can learn. It is a simple craft that both kids and adults can enjoy while relaxing, or even on the go. This craft involves poking wool with a needle repeatedly to create shapes. I absolutely love to felt cute little animals, but you can make pretty much anything you want. The great thing about needle felting is that you don’t have to be an art protege or have any kind of craft experience at all to get started on your creative journey.
Yes, it is true, needle felting involves the use of needles. But, don’t be alarmed. We don’t use sewing needles in needle felting. The needles used in this craft are specifically designed to matte fibers together. They are thick enough to handle the task of transforming loose wool into firmly felted fabric or sculpted objects. They also feature tiny barbs on the end so that when the needle is stabbed into the fibers they tangle and lock together.
If you’re here because you’re thinking of trying needle felting, keep reading. Like many others, you might have seen a well-crafted needle felted sculpture and were inspired to try and make your own. It doesn’t matter what it is that brought you here. We hope you at least give needle felting a try with an open mind.
The first thing to think about is the time that you need to dedicate to making your beautiful sculpture. A project can take anywhere from 3-6 hours or more depending on the size and intricacy of the sculpture. I know you might have seen 30-minute how-to videos online but it’s likely that these don’t truly represent the full gamut of work that was put into the project.
So, understand that like any other art, you won’t become a professional overnight. It all takes time and practice. When you start something new it’s best to start by taking baby steps. You might want to go all out and create masterpieces right away, but this will only cause you a lot of frustration. It is true, however, that some people get the hang of it pretty quickly and move on to advanced levels in no time.
In needle felting, there are starter kits and crafts that beginners of any age can use to kickstart their journey. A good starter kit includes the right materials and wool that make the process easier. Our starter kits feature the same needles I use and recommend as well as my favorite needle holders, our own Bear Creek Wool Felting cushions, and responsibly-raised Romney wool samples from sheep raised on our farm. Some people would say the type of wool doesn’t matter but in my experience, Romney wool is the easiest to work with. Unlike other wool, it stays firm when felted, giving you a very solid sculpture in the end. Other wools tend to stay soft and squishy no matter how much they are felted. But, as you progress in your craft, you can try other wool for yourself.
The trickiest thing in needle felting you might come across is felting with a wire armature, which is essentially the metal framework used to help form the body of your sculpture. The idea is to wrap and felt wool around the wire to get sturdy animals that can stand on their own. What makes this tricky is that you have to be careful not to stab your needle too hard for it to hit the wire because this can cause it to bend and break. And, whether you’ve been needle felting for a while or just starting out, you will realize that a little bit of force is needed when stabbing into your wool. You’ll also need to cut and shape your wire, which can be a bit tedious.
While it’s quite common for an entire wire armature to be made of the body before felting, I only use wire for the legs of my felting sculptures because this area is so small and narrow and needs stability to keep the animal standing. As a farm girl, I learned that the way an animal is standing says a lot about its health. So, I want to always make my sculptures in a healthy-looking upright pose. With that said, however, not all my animals have armatures, for example, my elephants and bunnies. Do you need to incorporate wire armatures in your felting project? It all depends on what you want your outcome to be. As I said before, start out with baby steps and keep trying new tricks and techniques as you go along. But, always remember to wear your helmet of creativity.
Start your needle felting journey with our beginner Duckling craft kit, which is the latest addition to our beginner kit collection – just in time for spring. You won’t need to work with any wires but you’ll have all the materials that you need to create your own endearing duckling. If you would like video tutorials, downloadable pdf’s and the ability to ask me questions you will want to join the Bear Creek Needle Felting Academy which is perfect for beginners.