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Happy Christmas everyone!

Happy Christmas everyone!

I  just wanted to say a very Merry Christmas to all my followers!

May this coming year be full of wonderful surprises for you and hopes truly becoming reality!

I have had a little go at making a Christmas poster from a photo of my original badger for you all.

Enjoy the festivities, have fun and watch out for a new year of more lovable creations from Fit to be loved! 🙂

God bless you all

Amanda xx

 

Ps If you haven’t already added your email address to receive updates of new exciting posts please just click on the ‘follow’ button on the right hand side of my ‘find out more’ page.

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How to needle felt long animal fur

How to needle felt long animal fur

Ever wondered how to get those luscious layers of long fluffy fur on your needle felted animal? more importantly how can you get them to look natural and stay put!?

Whilst making a badger I took some photos of him along the way to show you. It is fairly simple to do but does take quite a long time although once done it does give you a real sense of satisfaction and the fur really does feel soft and fur-like. Of course the end result texture does depend on the type of animal you are felting and the type of wool you wish to use.

For the needle felted badger I used corriedale wool for the core and then merino wool with a few strands of some of the corriedale mixed in for the top coat. Merino wool is easy to felt and is very soft to the touch. If you would like to you could use other luxurious fibres such as alapaca, angora or even rabbit fur.. (I wouldn’t chose the latter though if allergic to rabbits like I am)

If you are new to this amazing art form then before you get started – check out my tutorial ‘what is needle felting’ for basic needle felting techniques.

What tools will you need? ; – very simple you just need barbed needles, foam pad/needle felting brush base and small scissors (you can also use a small sewing needle to fluff up fur at the end).

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NB I didn’t want to completely flatten my fur down but allow it to stand out with some volume so only used one needle at a time rather than a multi-needle tool and changed the width of needle depending on detail and thickness of wool being needled. I tended to use the thinnest as this was far easier.

As you can see I have completed my badger except for his back fur and tail at this point. For how to make a badger head please see my tutorial here.

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I love the fur on a badger’s back, it is greyish in colour but with flecks of black, brown and cream. For this badger I used grey and black merino wool and natural undyed corriedale wool

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Now you could use carding brushes or dog brushes to blend the colours of wool but I wanted to keep the fibres all going in one direction as much as possible at this point and with block strands of full colour in black / cream/grey so not fully blended.

To achieve this lay lengths of each colour on top of each other and then using your thumb and first finger of each hand at each end of the wool lengths, pull your hands apart pulling the wool away from each other. Lay each layer again on top of each other (fibres all in same direction) and keep going until all the wool is blended as much as you want it to be.

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Then take narrow strands of the mixed wool the width of one or two fingers

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… and cut these into small pieces, roughly the same length. The length will vary as we felt as some areas will have longer fur than others…

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They don’t need to be perfect as no badger will have its own hairdresser with a perfect hair cut. 🙂

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I will now demonstrate what you will do with each piece..

Take a piece and slightly pull in the centre in a bow-like shape

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To layer the fur we need to felt from the back end of the animal layer over layer until reaching the head… so place the first piece at the very bottom of the badger’s rump.

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Felt using your barbed needle along the centre parting of the wool piece in various directions, the depth should go down to the first few barbs but the aim is to felt shallow but in many directions for the wool to stay put.

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You can also felted slightly below the centre line onto the bottom half of the piece to ensure it is in place.

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Now carefully pull down the top section

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… and ensure there are no stray edges by encouraging the wool in from both sides..

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Now felt along the top folded edge until it is firmly in place.

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Felting along the centre and then on the top edge in this way helps the wool to stay in place. Give a tiny tug to check it doesn’t easily pull out. NB a really good tug will likely pull fur out hence why these cute little animals are not meant to be toys to be pulled around…they should take cuddles and some handling though so ensure you felt well.

Again ensure you felt in many directions and then continue on to the next piece…layering the wool to create a fur look..

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When moving up to the next layer, position the wool just above the last layer – you don’t want gaps in between of core wool showing so don’t leave too big a gap…

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Don’t worry about the fur being too long or tufts sticking out, as you can give the end of the fur a trim as you go (time to use your hairdressing skills :-))

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By the way this doesn’t need too much skill and I am definitely no hairdresser, just trim in various directions for a more natural fluffy look.

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Any bits you trim off can be used for other felting projects or even for any areas you wish to fill in later at the edges so don’t waste them just put aside in a neat pile for later..

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Optional; For the back end of the badger I wanted this to be extra fluffy with the fur standing up slightly on end so to achieve this, run fingers through the strands of wool to fluff up and stab the wool all over between the strands, not to felt down but to fluff up…(

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As you can see we have a way to go but we are on our way !!

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Aw look at him waiting so patiently to be finished 🙂

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You may find it easier to turn his body as you go – work with whatever position you find comfortable and whatever means less squishing of his cute little nose into the felting mat..

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As you reach the main length of his body you may now decide to cut the lengths of wool a bit longer

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For a more realistic look vary the colours so that you sometimes get more black or cream in the strand you felt…mix it up a bit..

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Keep going…

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Almost there… take a breather – have a hot chocolate !!

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Specifically for the badger- when reaching the neck line, overlay some strands of black wool at the base of the ears …

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Then finish off with some more of the cream at the base of his head..

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You can use a normal sewing needle now if you wish to carefully fluff up the fur where it may have flattened slightly..

And there you have a gorgeous badger! fully furred waiting to be cuddled and fit to be loved!!

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I added his tail after this which also had several layers of wool as fur…

Here he is all completed !! so playful !!

Needle felted badger latest

 

 Long Animal Fur video!

Find it easier to learn by watching how it is done?  

Long animal fur videoMy full length ‘Long animal fur’ video tutorial can be downloaded or watched live- stream as many times as you like for only £3.75.

<<<Click the donkey picture to watch the 1 minute preview clip. 

 You’ll learn even more techniques for adding long fur (as demonstrated on this adorable miniature donkey).

 

Did you find this tutorial helpful? What would you like to learn about next? Please leave comments. Why not post a photo of your own creations?

For more tutorials like this please visit my Tutorials, tips and ideas page.

Don’t ever miss out on my latest tutorials! Insert your email address and click the ‘Follow’ button on the right hand panel to receive notifications of when the next post is up..:-)

Don’t have time to make one but would love a one of a kind needle felted animal by Fit to be loved for yourself or for that special someone? Visit my Etsy shop today to see my latest creations. Or like my facebook page to see what I am making next.

Needle felted badger!

Needle felted badger!

Finally this weekend I finished needle felting my little badger!

Thank you to those of you who voted on facebook or twitter for the next felted British animal of your choice! there were some great suggestions! The badger however was the obvious favourite and it is understandable why!

Badgers are just so adorable and at the moment they need all the help they can get….so here he is !!! he is a very happy and playful young badger and ‘fit to be loved!’

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This little needle felted badger, just like all my other pieces is made of 100 % wool (a mix of merino and corriedale) and took many hours of labour but tonnes of love to give him his cute playful character.

He will soon be for sale in my Etsy shop and 20% of his sale price will be donated to the Badger Trust who are ‘working hard to help badgers, by tackling the threats they  face, promoting their interests, and by providing vital help for around 60 local badger protection groups across England and Wales’.

For those who would like have a go at making your own needle felted badger -see my previous post which shows you step by step how to start off with a badger head.

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How to needle felt a badger head; photo tutorial

How to needle felt a badger head; photo tutorial

Our beautiful badgers of Britain are getting a lot of coverage in the media at the moment. I could go on about how so unfair the cull is (which is my personal view). However this blog is not at this time to tell you my thoughts on this as a lover of nature and a conservationist but to celebrate this amazing creature and show you how you can start to create your own little badger from a few pieces of wool (some undyed and dark brown corriedale and some merino in grey, brown and black). All you need is some wool, a foam pad, a few barbed felting needles, some love and some time!

My decision to make a badger for my next needle felting project came as a result of me asking friends on Facebook and Twitter to vote for their choice of British animal for me to make. There were lots of fun ideas (including woodlice and caddis fly larvae) but the badger came top!

I started on 1st September and it just so happened that this week has been the start of the cull in certain parts of the country.

No matter what you think of the cull I am sure if you have arrived at this page you are fascinated by the uniqueness of the badger with its playful, inquisitive nature and amazing stripey face which of course makes this needle felting project extremely enjoyable especially when you have felted in the badger’s big alluring eyes which give him so much character and bring him to life!

I have taken pictures along the way so you can see how I went from ball of wool to badger head.

Why just a head tutorial? My completed badger will be revealed soon. I find the head is a good place to start and can be fixed to the body shape or positions of your choice -your badger could lay on its back or stand or sit. Will it hold something? You could just keep to a head as a brooch or wall plaque. It’s up to you!

The following assumes you know some felting basics. You may also prefer to do certain facial features in a different order so this is just a guide. I use 2 to 3 needles at the same time to quickly felt larger surfaces and use only one slimmer needle for details and attaching parts.

Start with core wool to make an oval shape. I use undyed corriedale wool.

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Add a second triangle shaped piece to the top of the oval length ways. This will form the forehead and nose area. Keep edges of the triangle rounded.

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Needle in the shape and add small tufts to help blend harsh edges. Aim for a skull shape. Needle more in the nose section to form a good slope.

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Add two slim oval shapes for cheeks and blend edges well.

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While felted medium soft, use hands to mould head into shape, narrowing the nose area to a nice rounded point. Bend nose up slightly at the end. Then needle away to keep the shape in place.

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Add a small oval to form a nose, and one to become a chin then using one needle start adding some badger detail. Make a slight indent where each eye will go.

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Shape the badger’s nose and mouth, adding more wool to define roundness of top lip where needed.

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Add a smile!

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Badgers vary in colour but I chose a mixture of black and brown (seen on left of photo)for my badger’s dark facial colours (result of my mix is on the right).

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Add the dark colour (shallow needle in various directions) to make the badger’s stripes.

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Keep comparing each side to check they are more or less equal. Leave slits where eyes will go.

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Add some dark brown with black nostril detail.

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Add some colourful mouth features.

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Form some round ears and add colour.

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Then fix his ears in place…. aww now he is really looking like a little badger! Take a breather and just admire!

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You could now add his eyes and he would be a juvenile badger with short badger fur and cute face….

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But to make a fuller more adult face… You will need to layer some wool as fur… It is time consuming but well worth it as you’ll see…

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So then to add to his character, give him some nice big badger eyes. Well hello cutie!!! I used a blob of black wool rolled into a ball for each eye. Then added tiny strands of grey around the eye to define it. A blob of white at top of eye to give reflection illusion like a real eye and grey blobs elongated at right and left of each eye ball to make the eye appear more rounded and reflecting light.

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Tiny bit of brown at the inner eye corner and on the nose as a final bit of detail. I also added tiny wool strands in brown around his nose and mouth to give that natural ‘just rummaged through the undergrowth’ look!

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Have a go! I certainly had fun making this little badger. See the finished badger here and sign up to receive emails of when new posts are up so you don’t miss out on any upcoming tips and tutorials.

Check out my other tutorials and view other Fit to be loved felted creations at my Etsy shop.

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