Posted by: gourmetfelted | October 24, 2013

Needle Felting Directions~Tutorial~Blending fur for Needle Felted Animals

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You may wonder..how do I custom blend wool to get just the right color? Well search no more..you have stopped at the right spot!

HOW TO CUSTOM BLEND YOUR OWN WOOL COLORS!!!

First gather together what you need. I have my 2 file cards from the hardware store, some black alpaca and some fawn alpaca. These were under $10 each which is a lot better than $75 for wool hand carders!  I need to make some fur the color of a shepherd with the tan and black mix. Before you start, make sure that your carders are clean. I used a felting needle to carefully pick out the wool, as I had just mixed some white and pink for my chinese crested and I didn’t want either of those colors in the black and tan mix.

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STEP ONE:
Lay the black alpaca on the file catching the tips on the teeth of the file. Watch out for the wires! I got poked on one of them! OUCH!!

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STEP TWO:

Next I laid a THIN layer of the fawn alpaca on top of the black alpaca. A little goes  a long way to blend color in. I always start with a small amount as more can be added if needed.carding-wool-006

STEP THREE:

Next you just brush them together. I like to brush away from my body and then towards it to mix it up well. Keep brushing until the colors are blended in the way that you want them to be. brush…. brush…..brush…..

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This is pretty much the color that I needed for my dog. There are some lighter areas on the dog, so I can use the lighter areas out of the mix. That’s all there is to it. Total time is about a minute or so. You can now make your own custom colors!!!


Responses

  1. Exactly what I need….Thanks, Gerry….
    If you are trying to blend for long hair, do you just go in the same direction to keep the fibers aligned?
    Speaking of fibers….What is the silk that I sometimes see mentioned with the wool & alpaca?
    Do you just mix it with your wool & what kind is it?

  2. It is too hard for me to blend well and keep all the fibers straight. I lay a little at a time in different colors and they are blended that way. You have to lay very THIN layers of colors and felt in the end to hide it. You have to be very patient to felt it in and then you can gently comb it with a needle to blend it. That’s how I did the pom on my opening page and the blue merle sheltie that I just did. Pictures are on Flickr. Just click on the right column pictures to see my pictures there.

  3. Your little pom with the fur is darling….

  4. Olah Gerry, I have just joined your blog. So helpful and informative.I love how you are very creative..and try new ways , techniques, tools etc. Sign of a great artist lol!

    Im not sure of the history of needlefelting, but it appears at least, to be a rather newly emerging Artform. Which i believe to be exciting, as that brings innovation, experiments, new theories etc. Very cool.

    I have a few questions to ask..(I hope this is a correct thread..)

    Where is the best place to purchase exotic furs, fibers? Have you ever tried Minks, fox, Otter (reused of course) I see you have some textiles to offer..is there a way to see your full inventory..or perhaps get a list?

    Do you supply needles and handles? or any other specialty felting equipment?

    I was wondering if you have a technique that you just stumbled upon? That perhaps suprised you that it worked so well?

    I see some of the Russian, German sights that I can only see visually..washing the annimals after finished..Have you ever used water..or Oils..(looks like evo) It seems some people use oils for inside ears..etc.

    I was wondering as well..do you ever clearcoat your noses to look like thier wet? with like a high gloss clear acrylic?

    Sorry for all the questions. I am just delighted to see your blog. It is very enjoyable, I look forward to needlefelting..I have only done a few projects so far..Im a sculptor and Illustrator, painter by trade. So this is an extremely exciting new find for me! My favorite things about art…is that everybody can aproach tools, materials, Mediums in completely different ways and come up with some diverse, but equally wonderful pieces! And if we can all share a bit about our techniques, tricks of the trade etc.. It is really a great thing. If the overall quality of a medium continually gets better..that makes it that much more enoyable, and ultimatley collectable (financially viable) in the market. I have worked in several niche art markets. And, I see that the collectability of this medium (needlefelting) could possibly skyrocket, once enthusiasts and collectors know about it.

    So sorry this was so wordy..I have been reading your blog for two days now..and I really enjoy your work , I can see you put a lot of love into your pieces.
    Sloane

    • Hi Sloane,
      Welcome to my blog! I purchase most of my supplies on Etsy. There are fibers there that I haven’t seen anywhere else. I do not use exotic furs. I do have a few fibers and felting kits in my Gourmet Felted etsy shop. The kits come with needles. I like to felt directly onto a wire armature. I think that it is easier to get the proportions right that way rather than felting pieces and putting them together. But this is just my style. Find what works for you. I have never used water or oil on my sculptures. I do take at least a couple of hours to make a firm base. I think that having a firm foundation is vital for durability and holding the fur in. I don’t clear coat my noses as dogs noses aren’t shiny in real life. Many hours and much love goes into each of my sculptures. Please feel free to ask any more questions! Happy Felting!
      ~Gerry

  5. On a visit to Wal-Mart I made trip down the Pet aisle and made a great find.
    I found small plastic cat slicker brushs … pad approx 1.75″ x 2″ for only $1.98 ea. They looked like miniature carding brushes so I took a chance and got two.

    Inspired from reading your Tips I was able to take some yellow & purple wool I had and “mix-up” a little brown I didn’t have and needed to complete an acorn. My acorn looks a lot better clothed in dark brown. They are all plastic so no wires to poke fingers. Downside is you can only do a small amount at a time, but then I’m only doing small things right now anyway.

    • I have some of those also. Great price!! They are handy for small amounts. I also have the large carders and to tell you the truth, they are very heavy and they are very tiring to use they for carding wool. I think that blending boards are much better!
      Happy Felting!
      ~Gerry


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