I am so excited to share a tutorial on needle felting. So many of you have shown interest in giving it a go and I encourage you to dive right in. Those others of you who are hooked will agree, it is such a fun hobby and you’ll be amazed at the things you can make. When I picked up my first needle three years ago, I was surprised at how quickly I took to it. One of the things I love most about needle felting is that you can finish a project in one sitting. You can sit down with a basket of wool and be holding a delightful bunny in your hands an hour later. Of course, you can make wonderfully elaborate creations that take hours and hours but you can also make something in twenty minutes too. I like that.
This is a tutorial on how to make sweet, needle felted toadstools… a simple and fast project for beginner needle felting.
Wool roving looks like cotton candy. When the sheep is sheered, the fleece is washed and dried and then it is ‘carded’ – brushed so that all the knots and clumps are brushed out and the fibers of the wool all run the same way. It is then dyed… any wonderful color under the sun :-)
This roving can then be spun into yarn (for knitting) or it can be felted.
The protective foam board is not absolutely necessary but it is definitely recommended when you are learning to needle felt. The needle is very sharp and if you don’t have a board upon which to steady your work, you will find yourself painfully stabbed more than once.
The felting needle is about 3 inches long. As I said before, it is very sharp. The tip of the needle has a number of small barbs and it is these barbs that felt the wool. It works because the outer surface of each fiber of wool has tiny, microscopic scales on it. When the fiber is agitated, the scales hook into one another, forming a tighter and tighter mass. The needle works because the barbs of the needle ‘grab’ the fibers as you stab it into the wool, depositing the fibers deeper into the wool. The little scales on the fibers lock together, ensuring that the fibers stay in their new place. By stabbing the wool hundreds of times with your needle, you have control over the form of your wool and can shape it as you wish. You can see the barbs clearly in this next photo…
When my red wool has been rolled into a tight spiral, I set it down on the felting board and stab it with the needle many times around the outside of the spiral. Be slow and deliberate with your stabbing in the beginning, and concentrate, please… it hurts like getting an injection when you stab yourself… it’s definitely not the end of the world, but it is better avoided :-)
When your underside is nice and flat, turn your spiral over to what will be the top side of your toadstool. With your thumb and forefinger, gently pull the outside layer of wool a loose, just a little.
For those of you who want to give this a try, I’ve put together a needle felting toadstool kit and listed it in my shop. In the kit you will get two needle felting needles, a protective foam board and all the red and white wool you will need to make 10 little toadstools (or 4 bigger ones).
I also have beginner’s needle felting kits with lots of gorgeously colored wool if you’d prefer to try your hand at something different now that you know how easy it is. And, I have felted rock kits and felted soap kits available too. And, and, I have also put together a kit for making your child a felted playscape which is a fantastic project. So, no excuse not to try needle felting if you aren’t already hooked :-) C’mon… it’ll be fun!
Blessings and magic,