Let’s make a Needle Felted Sheep or Dog that can pose! Photo shows sheep laying down.
This is a picture of a sheep made with my needle felted sheep kit. **Your sheep can be ALL WHITE or ALL BLACK or WHITE with BLACK or FANCIFUL COLORS if you like. It comes with wire, felting needles, amber glass eyes, core wool and curly wool ** It has 2 free bonus features with it. Green wool for grass and a cute rusty bell on raffia to hang from your sheep’s neck. Mini hay bale is not included in this kit. Please see more details in my Etsy shop. The dog kit does not include grass but does have a free collar. Charms can be added. http://www.GourmetFelted.etsy.com
STEP ONE: GATHER TOGETHER EVERYTHING THAT YOU NEED FOR YOUR PROJECT.
Get your foam/sponge/towel/pillow to felt on and felting needles and the special core wool from the kit. You need the coarse wool for the base in black or white. The cute tiny curly wool is applied last for the little curls on the sheep. You will also need a pair of wire cutters and some small pliers to make the armature.
** I use semi soft layered white polyethelene foam to felt on. I recycle the packing foam blocks when I get items in the mail in boxes. Not the hard styrofoam that breaks into tiny bits!
STEP TWO: CUT YOUR WIRE
CUT TWO PIECES OF WIRE THAT ARE 6 INCHES LONG. TWIST THEM TOGETHER IN THE CENTER
CUT ANOTHER PIECE THAT IS 5 1/2 INCHES LONG. MAKE A LOOP ON ONE END.
WRAP AROUND THE BODY LEAVING THE LOOP UP FOR A HEAD.
Bend the body in the shape of an animal. I curl all loose ends on the wire and feel for safety. That way, you don’t get poked by the sharp wire ends. This is especially important if you sell your sculptures. I use 20 gauge steel wire that is galvanized so it doesn’t rust.
** IT’S NOT A GOOD IDEA TO USE PIPE CLEANERS
AS THEY BREAK AFTER BEING BENT A FEW TIMES AND THEY ALSO RUST. Do you really want orange rust to stain your nice white sheep?
STEP THREE: WRAPPING THE WIRE
**You need a sponge or towel to work on that is thick enough that the needle doesn’t go through and hit the table under it…or your leg! OUCH!
FELTING>Be sure that you use ALL of the barbs on your felting needle. Don’t use just the tip or you will only felt the outer layer of your sculpture and then it will collapse if it is squeezed. There are several barbs along more than 1/2 inch of the tip on the #36 coarse needle. Use the 1/2 inch tip to felt. Then your sculpture will be firmly felted and be more durable.
WOOL when felted ends up about 1/4 of the size that it starts as!!
Wrap your black OR white wool around the wire, section by section. I always start with the body.Don’t use too much. You will be adding layers of wool and felting it in between the layers.
**Be sure that your sheep or dog is scrawny looking. Remember this core with be covered with a layer of curls which will “plump” up your sheep! DO NOT flatten the curls.They will stay on if felted in a couple of places.
BLACK SHEEP OR DOG: Wrap wire with black wool . When your base is firm add the Black curls.
WHITE SHEEP OR DOG: Wrap wire with white wool. When your base is firm add the White curls.
GRAY SHEEP OR DOG: Wrap wire with gray wool. When your base is firm add the gray curls.
SPOTTED SHEEP: Wrap wire with white wool. When your base is firm add the White curls and the Black curls. Don’t add the black curls over the white curls. Leave areas open for the black curls so the coat will be even.
BE CREATIVE with your sheep or dog. Use this method to make a sheep or dog of any breed. If you do a search for sheep there about 200 breeds to choose from. http://www.sheep101.info/breeds.html
TO PREVENT BREAKING NEEDLES: Be careful when you are poking around the wire. * IF YOUR NEEDLE GETS STUCK IN THE WIRE….STOP….THEN GENTLY WIGGLE SLIGHTLY TO WORK IT OUT WITHOUT BREAKING.The needles are breakable and can snap from hitting a hard surface. When inserting the needle, pull it out at the same angle as it went in. If you push sideways on the needle went it is in the wool or in the foam it can snap and break.
If you have my needle felting kit use the longer felting needle which is the #36 coarse. ALWAYS start every felting project with this needle. Finer detailing can be added with the #38 medium star needle which is also in my kit. ALWAYS BE AWARE OF THE TIP OF YOUR NEEDLE. IT IS EXTREMELY SHARP AND EASILY DRAWS BLOOD. We all get poked with it sometimes. OUCH!! Don’t give up. **Hydrogen peroxide removes blood off of wool easily. Put a little on a Qtip and dab it. It will get easier after a while. Use thimbles if you like when you first start.
This core body would be white in an all white sheep or dog. Usually I do the head next. You can tell how large to make the head after the body is made. If it’s the wrong size, remember that you’re working with wool, and you can just trim some off! Sometimes you just have to cut the head off and start over. Mistakes are fixable!!
MAKING MUZZLE> Roll up a little wool into a fat tube and fold in the middle. Felt all around the folded end to make a muzzle shape. Do not felt the other end as you need the loose fibers to be able to attach the muzzle on. After the muzzle is firmly felted, position it where it looks right and then felt it on using all the loose fibers all around the muzzle end. Jab through the muzzle also, to be sure that it is in securely. Keep felting the base until you can’t pull it off. If the muzzle looks too long, just trim the end with scissors.
Then I do the legs. ***Try to wrap the leg wire with the smallest amount of wool possible. If you put too much wool, you can spend an hour felting them in trying to get them thinner. Gently felt each area before you move on to the next. Be careful of the wire that you don’t break the needle on it. Put wool under body from the chest, between the front legs, over tummy and through the back legs. Put some wool over the shoulders and blend in all of the areas. You will be adding a little more wool to the tummy area, than on the back. Be sure to firmly felt the body and head as it has to be tight enough to hold in the curly wool. It doesn’t have to be rock hard, but if you push your finger on the body, it should not make a dent. You need to felt all over the wool to make it firmer. You can scissor off some of the wool if it is too thick in an area.
STEP FOUR: ADD CURLS!!fun!!
Add one curl at a time. I felt it in lightly on the creases between the curls. You don’t want to flatten the curls.
Go all over the body little by little. It seems that felting one curl at a time would take a long time, but a curl covers a bigger area
than you would think. It’s really fun when you get going! Don’t felt too much of the curl or you will flatten it..
Here is the little body of the sheep with the curls mostly on. Now we need some ears. If you are making a curly dog instead add the black curls now. Other colors are available.
Here are some examples of sheep and dogs in other colors and breeds. This little white one was made by someone who never needle felted before!! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
STEP FIVE:MAKING EARS
Roll up some black OR white wool into a tube shape that looks about the length of two ears…about 2inches. Felt one end, BUT NOT THE CENTER.
I hold down the felted end with a needle and felt the other end. Leave the center UNFELTED.
Cut it in the center and you have two ears! Use the loose UNFELTED end that was the center to felt to attach on to the head. Trim ears to shape if necessary before felting on. Fill in around the ears with the curly wool.
Add the eyes and a little curly wool for a tail.
ADDING THE EYES> The amber glass eyes are on a wire with an eye on each end. Cut the eye off of the end LEAVING about 1/3 of an inch of wire to insert in the head. I mark the eye location with straight pins that have a black ball on the end. Be sure that they are level and the same distance for the center of the face. Take the #36 coarse needle and make a hole where you want to inset the eye. Glue in. DO NOT USE INSTANT GLUE!! It can discolor the eyes and ruin the paint. Use a slow dying glue like white glue. The dog kit has black eyes and are added the same way.
These are amber glass eyes from my needle felting sheep kit. Also Maggie is modeling her cute raffia collar with her little shiny copper bell. If you’d like, you could add a Y to the front of her muzzle to make a nose and then add an upside down V to make the mouth. It barely shows on the black wool.
This tutorial makes a cute little sheep or dog that is about 3 inches tall at the top of the head, and 3 inches long. This sheep is just the right size to go with your needle felted dogs.
Here is Maggie the little sheep eating some hay. Hay not included in kit!
And here is Maggie laying down. Because of the wire inside, her head , neck and legs all move.
SPARKLE WOOL FOR SNOW UNFELTED.
FELTING SNOW/GRASS: Roll up some of the sparkle wool and fold in the ends. Felt it together all over. Trim off the stray wool if desired or leave it for a halo affect. Make it into any shape. This is the sparkle wool after it is felted into little piles of snow. When the weather is warm, I substitute the white sparkle wool for green grass wool!
Congratulations! You did it. You made your first sheep or dog that is able to pose!
STEP SIX: TAKE A BOW!
If you would like to try my Needle Felted Sheep Kit or dog kit the link is
Just click on KITS on left side.
It really is a great value when you consider all the cute things that it comes with.
If you do purchase a kit please remember to tell me your color choice of wool. You can embellish your sheep or dog and add your own touches. Make a primitive sheep and use sticks for legs. Make a cute curly coat dog in any natural color.