People have asked me what do they need to START needle felting?
You need the following:
PATIENCE-so you can try and try again
PERSISTENCE-you will get poked, but it does get easier
CREATIVITY-the sky is the limit with needle felting! You can make ANYTHING!!!!
HUMOR-some of the first things that you make may be pathetic! It doesn’t matter! You will improve!! LAUGH and learn! Each thing that you create makes you better.
Now for the physical things!
**OPTIONAL-wire, embroidery thread, straight pins eyes,nose,glue, scissors, glasses,leather thimbles, bandaids!
That’s all there is to it! When I first started all I had were 3 felting needles! I couldn’t find any wool, so I unspun some thick wool yarn and used that to make a pomeranian! I still have it for a chuckle but it was a great learning experience for me.
See picture for my set up…nothing fancy.
I use ALL kinds of wool. It’s good to experiment! You will find what you are most comfortable felting with. I use raw, washed wool, roving, straight, curly, down, bamboo, soy silk, silk, cashmere, mohair. I love using “gourmet fibers” that’s why I chose the name Gourmet Felted!
I always use a base core to felt the fancy fiber into. The best wool for the core is coarse wool. Even the feel of it is stiffer than some of the soft fibers. It felts up quickly and firmly. **Please see my tip of the week on making cores. I like romney wool for my cores and use it for every one!
Felting needles are usually 3 sided, triangular, and have tiny barbs that grab the wool and push it into itself to felt together. There is also a star shaped needle that has another side and more barbs to felt more quickly. That’s one of my favorites for detailing!
The lower the numbers in the needles. the LARGER the needle. A # 36 is lots thicker than a #42 and leaves a larger hole in the wool. The #36 is the coarse needle that you always use to start the core of your project. After the core is done, you can use a smaller size. I like to use a # 38 star and for the final top layer a #40 or #42 as the holes are tiny left by those. I only use the finer needles when trying to make a smooth surface.
***CAUTION: Felting needles are extremely SHARP. They easily draw blood and they do hurt! You have to BE AWARE to the location tip of your needle at all times. You will be concentrating on the area where you are poking the needle, but pay attention that your fingers are not near the tip! You could use leather thimbles. They do get in the way, but they do stop the stabs! I use one on my thumb and forefinger when I am working on thin legs and the paws! I also pin small pieces down to the foam to work on rather than using my fingers to hold something small. That way, my fingers are less of a target!! LOL!!
Breaking needles: Be sure to get more than one needle in each size as they do break. I order by 10’s even though I rarely break one. Of course, they do get dull after a few months. To prevent breakage, always remove the needle in the same angle that it went it. Also if you need to move the wool over a little, use a pin, as the needles ALWAYS break from sideways pressure!
You will need a surface to work on. The needles go through your work, so it has to be something that can be poked into. You could use a pillow, but the wool bits get felted into the surface. Needle felting foam is expensive, so I just use dense foam that comes in packing boxes. NOT styrofoam. Styrofoam breaks up into tiny pieces and gets all over your wool. Some people use a dense thich short bristled brush, but I have never tried that. You do need something to stick into as you don’t want it to be your leg!
Depending on what you are making, you may want the other items mentioned for detailing. Of course, you can needle felt eyes and noses also so you then you wouldn’t need anything else. **I use straight pins to hold down small pieces like ears to keep my fingers out of the way! Scissors are good to trim off the stray hairs. Wire can be use if you would like your project to be poseable. ***Please see my tip of the week on making a wire armature!
THAT’S ALL THERE IS TO IT! ANY QUESTONS?? PLEASE see examples of my work at: