Fairyfolk Needle Felting Kit :: Spring Nest
I am so excited to share this Spring robin’s nest needle felting tutorial with you. Even if you’ve never needle felted before, you’ll be amazed at how quickly and easily you can make this little treasure.
Needle felting equipment – Needle felting requires three tools; wool roving, a felting needle and a protective foam board.
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 if you look closely at the tip of your needle.
This tutorial will show how to make a sweet robins nest… a simple and fast project for beginner needle felting.
Start by breaking the blue wool into three strips of roughly the same size… as you can see from the photo, the lengths should be about double the width of your hand.
Roll each strip between your hands as you would if you were rolling a ball of playdough into a snake.
With your forefinger and thumb, roll the wool ‘snake’ into a tight spiral. The tighter you can get it, the easier it will be to felt.
Tip: I find that rolling is key in many of my felting projects… if I can roll the wool tightly to begin with, I can greatly reduce the time my form takes to felt.
When the blue 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 when you stab yourself… it’s definitely not the end of the world, but it is better avoided :-)
You will soon see that this stabbing holds the wool in place and the spiral will not unravel if you let it go.
To round the ends so that your creation starts to look like an egg, gently loosen the the outside layer of wool around the spiral by pulling it with your thumb and forefinger. Fold this pulled layer over the spiral edge and needle felt it gently. Needle felt the edges until your shape becomes a smooth round ball.
Roll your ball in your hands as if you were rolling a marble in your hands… this will help shape your ball. Then needle felt it again into the egg shape you want. Continue with the other strips of blue wool, following the same technique for each egg.
Now that your eggs are ready, they need a mossy nest to nestle comfortably in. First, we need to tie our twine onto the edge of the nest so that it will hang nicely. Thread the twine through a strand of vine and fasten it with a knot. Do the same for the other side, making sure that your nest hangs straight before making the second knot.
Needle felt the wool gently into the nest. Remember to keep your nest on the protective foam board as your needle will sometimes go all the way through the nest and you don’t want the nest to be sitting on your lap when the needle pokes through the bottom! Ouch!
You will see that as you gently needle felt the wool into the strands of the nest, the nest indent will become more and more pronounced, making a lovely hollow for the sweet little eggs to nestle in.
In go the three little robins eggs and Voila! What a sweet Spring nest you have made. Just perfect for hanging from your chandelier, twig tree on your nature table or anywhere else in your home that is ready to welcome in the Spring.
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any felting questions.