My good friend Emma recently turned 40 and she absolutely loves guinea pigs so it was very easy to decide what I should make her as a surprise present for her party..
As usual I took a few pictures along the way to show you how I made him. With some time, some love, some wool and a barbed needle you too can make a felted guinea pig just like him!
If you haven’t tried needle felting before and would like to know what it is all about and see some basics first, feel free to jump to my ‘what is needle felting’ page first before trying the guinea pig..
Or if you don’t have the time but would love me to make one for you or as a present for a loved one, let me know what colour, fur length etc by sending me a bespoke order at my Etsy shop.
So, to get started you will need:
- Foam pad or felting brush base (so not to stab your knees and to provide a firm base to work on)
- Felting needles of various sizes; wider for initial shaping and finer for detail later on
- A needle holder; this is optional but for making basic shapes it saves time to use 2 or 3 needles at the same time. I use the 3 needle holder pen by Clover.
- Wool to felt with; I used natural corriedale wool to make the guinea pig’s core as I find it felts well and ends up nice and firm. I then used merino wool as the top coat as it’s soft and comes in some lovely animal fur colours. I buy my wools at a very good price from World of Wool.
- Small scissors
- Carding/dog brushes to blend wool (optional)
I hope the pictures will explain what I did at each phase so I haven’t gone into too much description for each picture. Feel free to ask me any questions if you are unsure of how to do anything.
Start with a basic egg shape by rolling tightly a nice length of the corriedale wool and then felting it into shape with medium firmness. This will become the torso.
Then felt them well onto the sides of the torso at the bottom end to become hind legs
Then turn over and do the same underneath for an even well blended finish.
…fold to form two triangles
Put the body to one side and roll another piece of wool and form a smaller egg shape. Felt medium firm again and then sculpt to make into a head shape. Score a nose and mouth using two needles at one time
Now attach the head firmly to the body. I felted a good piece of loosely felted wool to the bottom of the head first so when attaching there were lots of fibres to help attach it and this helped to form a neck.
You now have a guinea pig base!!
Now comes the fun (but tedious at times) of adding some wool colour in layers to give him his character.. I mixed some wool together to get the colours I liked, one part corriedale wool and two parts light chocolate brown merino wool. I used two dog brushes to blend the wool (so much cheaper than carding brushes and they work just the same!).
Start from the tail end (although guinea pigs don’t have tails)and work towards the head. Felt some wool in the same direction but some in other directions and with different lengths too to get a more natural look!
When you reach his head add two small doughnut shapes of coral coloured wool for his ears and felt them in well to fix to his head. I decided to give him a cream coloured face with cream tuft on top of his head but you choose whatever colour you fancy. For the head start at the very top with the fur layers and work down towards the chin.
Add more detail to the nose with the brown and a tiny bit of black for his mouth opening. To make him look like he has rummaged around in the hay felt a tiny fleck of brown under the cream fur on his muzzle . For any layers that are too long or for shaping the fur on the face, used nail scissors to carefully trim the wool.
(I went back and added a strip of the cream across his middle taking care to pull back the layers of brown already felted..)
Here you can see his eyes; brown overlaid with black and a few tiny white dots to give the illusion of light reflection.
You could leave him with no feet but I decided to give him some. Remember guinea pigs have 4 toes on each foot at the front and 3 at the back!
To achieve this use short lengths of pipe cleaners for his toes and wrap the coral coloured wool over each toe binding the pieces together at one end. Then wrap several layers of the wool over the end to form the ball of the foot. Wind more wool over the length of each foot and felt tightly to ensure all fibres are secure.. then felt them to the legs!!
Go over the entire surface of your guinea pig with a normal sewing needle if needed to liven up any flattened areas of fur!
I hope you enjoyed the tutorial!! it was fun to make him and my friend Emma almost cried when she saw him at her party! 🙂
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and please do get in touch if you have any ideas of what you would like me to make next!