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Needle Felting for Beginners 101 | Everything you need to know about needle felting | Ultimate Guide To Needle Felting

by kevin chai on May 10, 2022

1.What's needing felting

 
Needle felting is a method of making felt crafts without water. Special needle for making 3D sculptures. Needle felting is also known as dry felting. Needle felting is a process that involves repeatedly stabbing needles into a piece of wool to harden and shape it into the desired shape. Needle felting is pretty like clay, but unlike clay, you need to use a special needle instead of your hands to make lovely creations. Best of all, it's a little bit cathartic, and it's perfect for after-work. And compared to other crafts, needle felting is very cheap to try. And needle felting can make a lot of effects that other materials and crafts can't achieve. For example, make almost identical pet sculptures. If you haven't started needle felting, I believe you will be ready to go through the pictures below!
 
 

2.How does needle felting work

 
 
The wool that appears soft on the outside is covered with many barbs that we can't see with the naked eye. When these barbs encounter hot water, they will open and stand up. If it is squeezed, rubbed, and rubbed by an external force, the barbs will be entangled with each other and shrink together tightly to become a felted state. This is the basic principle of "wet felt." Of course, a special needle is used to continuously stab the wool so that the wool fibers are squeezed and rubbed together, which will also entangle the barbs on the wool to achieve the effect of felting. This is the principle of "needle felting". For a more intuitive understanding, please view the video below
  
 
  
  

3.What you need to start

 

Wool

Needle felting usually uses a type of wool called roving, but you can also use other forms of wool, such as batting. As a beginner, I recommend buying wool roving. Wool is also divided into many types according to different sheep and different processing degrees. I won't go into details here. Let me tell you a little secret, you can also try the fur of pet cats, dogs and rabbits at home, there will be surprises!
 
 

Needle

 
Needles for needle felting are not tapestry needles or sewing needles. Instead, it is a specially made felting needle with a sharp barbed blade designed to agitate the wool fibers. At the same time, according to the thickness of the needles and the number and shape of the barbs, they are divided into many types. Just like brushes, they are thick and thin. Some are suitable for strokes, and some are suitable for coloring. As shown below
 

 

Foam or Cushion

 
The felting needle is very long, and it is easy to penetrate the whole wool or craft when stabbing. So you don't want to damage your table. Then a thick work surface is a must. You can use foam, pads, or even brushes.
 

 

Finger Guards

 
Be sure to wear finger guards; it is easy to stab your own fingers because you are unskilled. However, it is not very comfortable to carry. You can take off the finger cots after you are proficient. But before that, put on your finger guards
 

4.Top 7 Tips before you start

 
  • Put on your finger guards
  • Move your needle straight up and down, not at an angle, if not, the needle will break off
  • Keep rolling when you stab 
  • Pick it up and rub it in time to make the felting faster and the surface smoother
  • It is better to put less wool than to put too much, because we can put more wool on it later, and it is not easy to remove it if we put too much.
  • Start with simple base shapes
  • Be patient
 
  

  

5.How to do needle felting

We'll show you how to start your wool felting journey through three easy video tutorials, and all handpicked to include everything from simple to complex, from basic shapes to morphing to making critters. Without further ado, let's start
 
 

Ball

 
The ball is the most basic shape in needle felting (such as in making Christmas ornaments, charms, animal heads, etc.), and it is also the basic shape for making many complex shapes. In this video tutorial, the tips we mentioned above come up frequently.
 
 

Heart

 
The heart shape is my favorite shape. It is a perfect idea to make a charm or make a brooch for your love. The heart shape is made by deforming our ball shape above. It's to transform the ball into a heart shape before stabbing it solid. And not only heart shape, many basic shapes such as square, Hemi-ball, ellipse, etc., are deformed by ball. Therefore, familiarize yourself with the production of basic shapes first, and it can achieve twice the result with half the effort for the novice to make complex handicrafts.
 

 

Bear

The bear is made from a ball for the body, just add ears and arms is OK.
 
 

 
 

5.FAQ

Can you felt with a regular needle?

 
No, because felting needles are entirely different from regular needles. In addition to being thicker and longer than regular needles. This is to squeeze and rub the wool fibers so that the barbs become entangled with each other. Designed to achieve the effect of felting.

How to avoid broken needles?

Be sure to put a work surface to avoid stabbing the table; don't use too much force; don't pick the wool with needles; when stabbing, go straight up and down, not straight down, angled up
 

Is needle felting hard?

It's not difficult at all, and you'll find it very cathartic and perfect for post-work pastimes. By the way, be sure to go from simple shapes to complex shapes, animals. If you think it is difficult, it may be that you have not laid a good foundation, so you start to do complicated projects. Don't do projects that look cute at the beginning. It may be more complicated. If you don't do it well, it will be a big blow to your confidence.
 

Is needle felting cheap?

If you just want to try it, it's not expensive at all. A needle, a bit of wool, a pad, and finger guides will get you started, all for $10. But when you like it, it will cost a lot to buy more colours of wool, different gauge needles, and more tools.
 

How long does needle felting take?

This depends on the difficulty and size of the project you want to make. For example, making a ball only takes 10-20 minutes. Larger and more components will take more time, such as producing realistic pet portraits shared above. It may take a few days to a dozen days from the beginning of making the base to the hair planting.
 

How do i know when to stop needle felting?

Pick it up with your fingers and pinch it hard if it is a block part. It is completed if it does not deform or collapse but is very elastic, like a ball. If it is a strip part, pull it with your fingers. If it does not fall apart, it is completed.

How to connect parts in needle felting?

 
To put it simply, don't stab too much one end that needs to be connected. Just keep a certain roughness. To be precise, the rougher, the better. For example, the joint between the body and the limbs, which is the end needs to be connected to the body, keep it roving, and not need to be felted. And then stab the roving part on the body. If you feel that it is not firm enough, add more wool to cover the joint, and then make sure that the joint's upper, lower, left, and right sides are stabbed. Check out screenshot below
 
 

What is the Difference Between Needle Felting and Wet Felting?

 
In essence, both wet felt and needle felt use the characteristics of the wool itself. After being squeezed and rubbed by external forces, the barbs will become entangled, and they will shrink together to become a felted state. The difference is that wet felt is achieved by rubbing under hot water, and needle felt is achieved by repeatedly stabbing with a needle.
 
  

How many different needles in needle felting?

Commonly used felting needles are divided by size, which refers to the thickness of the needle tip. Standard sizes are 36, 38, 40, and 40, the thinnest. There are also finer needles for surface optimization. There are also other deformation needles, star needles and spiral needles. As shown below
  

How to make needle felting smooth?

To put it simply, it is to know how to change the needle(from coarse to fine), use light force, pick it up and rub it at the right time, and add more wool to cover the pinhole of the needle.
 

How much wool do I need for a needle felting project?

 
It depends on the size of the project you want to make. For example, we want to make a ball, roll up the wool forcefully, and hold it in your hand with a bit of force. The size of the reduced wool is almost the size of the final craft. But remember, we suggested that it is better to be small than big. Adding more wool later is OK. Don't make it big all at once.


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