Let's start this needle felting tutorial with a photo of sheep's wool I found during a countryside walk. After carrying it in my pocket the wool began to felt on its own, due to warmth and friction.
However to use it to make wool sculptures it needs to be cleaned and soaked then air-dried.
If you're eager to start, you can buy processed wool online or get a starter kit.
We create friction by repeatedly stabbing the wool with specialized needles. This tangles the fibers together without requiring any moisture.
Please note that this section does not cover the wet felting technique.
Have you ever wondered how sheep's wool can transform into a 3D sculpture? Let me show you how. You'll need different types of needles, wool, your mat or brush and your protective gloves or finger cots, if you use them.
The basic shapes for sculptures are a ball, an egg, and a cylinder. The cylinder has a fuzzy section that helps attach it to other shapes.
For safety reasons, I've inserted my needle into a wooden handle. Poking your finger can be painful! So please, take care.
To begin, grab a thin strip of core wool and choose a coarse needle.
Roll a thin strip of core wool into a ball on your working surface.
Tuck in the sides to create a sphere shape, and don't worry about perfection.
The initial rolling is just to get a rough resemblance of the shape you want to achieve.
The next photo shows the wool ready to felt.
Your ball will be soft and squidgy at this point.
Use the notched section of the needle and keep stabbing and turning the ball to make it rounded.
The process takes time, but aim for a firm yet flexible sphere.
Avoid altering the angle while the needle is in the wool to prevent breakage.
You can also shape the wool in your palms and then lay it on your surface and stab again.
The process takes time; my ball took 10 minutes to create.
Avoid making it too hard as you will need to join it to other shapes for your sculpture.
Egg shapes serve as the foundation for many sculptures.
Roll the wool strip, eliminating air, and poke the needle towards the center at each end. Compact the shape by stabbing in the desired direction.
Cylinders are perfect for animal legs, necks, and tails.
Make the wool strip slightly wider than desired as it will shrink. Shape an elongated egg with tapered ends. Leave one or both ends unfinished for easy joining.
For ears and tongues, use a flat felt piece.
Lay the wool on the mat and work on one side before flipping it over. Be cautious when peeling them off. If you want a curl, attach it to the head while shaping.
In this part of the needle felting tutorial, I'll show you how to connect different sections seamlessly to create an adorable needle felted bunny.
Each student added their own personal touch to their bunny.
In this needle felting tutorial, the final step is to cover your creation with wool roving or "tops" in the perfect shades.
Now that you've become a pro and made some awesome 3D shapes, it's time to take things to the next level.
By adding wire armatures to your sculptures, you can pose your animals or characters in different positions! You can make their legs bend or their heads tilt, bringing a whole new level of realism and playfulness to your projects.
And don't forget about adding those little details that make your creations truly come to life, like lifelike eyes, intricate fur patterns, and detailed facial expressions.
So go ahead and let your imagination run wild and enjoy the satisfaction of creating something truly one-of-a-kind.