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NEEDLE FELTED CAT HEAD (Time lapse) ūüźĪ¬†

Needle felting a cat head doesn’t need to be hard. Does it? ……no…..It just takes a little practice and patience ūüôā

Here I reveal the amazing process of creating a needle felted cat head.

I videoed how I made the tabby Birman cat head for my cat head tutorials but as I’ve been poorly and my throat far too sore to record any instructions I thought I’d initially create a time lapse of all the footage. Hours of needle felting sped up to less than 14 minutes!

I don’t know about you but I found it quite fun and relaxing to watch it all back! I hope you enjoy seeing the process and I hope it inspires you to have a stab at making your own cat ūüźąūüėĽ

So here is the needle felted cat head time lapse ūüôā

Once my throat was better I started to make the actual tutorials where I slow it all down with full instructions.

So here are the tutorials so far:

  • Tutorial one for making the cat head shape is¬†here.
  • Tutorial two for short fur is¬†here.
  • Tutorial three for long fur is here.
  • Tutorial four for cat ears is here.

The final part five on whiskers is still to come! I will put the link to it when released.

Also if you‚Äôd like to see exactly how the cat‚Äôs eyes were made purely from wool, then you can watch the tutorial here.

How to Needle Felt Long fur; The Video Series!

Would you like to learn how to attach long fur to your needle felted animal? not sure how to firmly add the wool or where to begin?

You have likely seen my photo tutorial with basic techniques for adding long fibres onto a badger. Well here is a video series for those of you who¬†learn best by watching¬†how it’s done. These are far more in depth with more techniques and tips along the way! You too can create a detailed and realistic fur effect!

This was available as a paid tutorial for some years but I have decided to offer it for free. I have embedded all 4 parts on this page for you to watch and have included chapter start time stamps, so feel free to start at the beginning or skip to the parts you feel would be most useful ūüôā

Difficulty ranking: Intermediate level or beginners looking for a challenge.

The result: Amazing detail; the look of a real animal with layers of fur.

Needle felted donkey (9)

In this series of videos I demonstrate how I create a realistic fur look by attaching lengths of wool to my miniature donkey. These techniques can be adapted for any long furred animal. Join me on my journey from preparation to finish; starting with carefully ‚Äėneedle brushed‚Äô leg fibres, then fluffy tummy and long textured back fur. You will also see how I create a middle parting on the donkey‚Äôs muzzle, add a long fluffy fringe and a beautiful flowing mane.

Skills you will master across the 4 parts:

  • Simple hand blending of wool roving for natural, textured colour tones
  • Preparing wool lengths and a test/sample piece
  • Knowing how firm to felt your core base
  • Two easy methods to firmly attach various lengths of wool fibre
  • The art of layering and trimming fibres
  • Specific skills for adding fur to various body parts including legs, tummy, back, ears, tail, face and mane
  • How to prevent over felting or flattening of long fibres
  • Finishing techniques for defining strands or fluffing them up

Music is by two artists; Jahzzar and Slainte (full use rights).

Details of where you can get my tools are at the end of this page.

Please note: this tutorial series assumes you will have already felted the basic animal shape. My demonstration donkey already has a wire armature with core wool wrapped over it plus facial features and hoofs. I show the advanced techniques beyond this.

PART 1: Hand blending wool, attaching fur to legs (time stamps included below for chapter begin times)

Intro (0:00)

What you will learn in part 1 (01:05)

Where to start? (02:00)

Preparing and blending wools (03:30)

What tools do I need? (11:56) (links to the tools can be found at the end of this page)

Shorter fur – layering on the legs (I show the basics of the 2 techniques) (13:30)

PART 2: Attaching fur to tummy, torso & rump (time stamps included below for chapter begin times)

Intro (0:00)

What you will learn in part 2 (0:52)

Soft tummy fur (technique 1) (01:28)

Continuing the tummy (and a few ways of blending colour) (07:03)

How firm should the core wool be? (11:10)

Lots of thick fur layers (across the torso) (technique 1) (13:13)

Tips for preventing fluffing up and positioning animal whilst felting (18:02)

Adding fur on rump (techniques 1 and 2) (19:20)


PART 3: Adding fur to back, muzzle and fringe (time stamps included below for chapter begin times)

Intro (0:00)

What I’ll cover in part 3 (00:52)

Long fluffy back fur (technique 2) (01:24)

Ears and tail (brief overview for ideas) (09:18)

Fluffy textured muzzle and fringe (very long fur pieces) (technique 2 plus other tips) (10:56)

PART 4: Donkey mane, defining and finishing (time stamps included below for chapter begin times)

Intro (0:00)

What I’ll cover in part 4 (00:52)

Making a mane (an extra attachment method) (01:21)

Attaching the mane (08:05)

Finishing off your animal; defining etc (14:28)

Final donkey photos (what a cutie!) (18:58)

************* LINKS TO THE TOOLS: ***********************

Best NEEDLES I use for quality are from Heidifeathers (all come colour coded for easy identification too)

Well worth getting a set of 30 Mixed Felting Needles:

– 10 Colour Coded Different types – Triangular, Star, Reverse and Twisted Needles – get here.

Or you can choose them by needle type

e.g.: – 38G Star Needle -10 needles – get here

or 38G Triangle – 10 needles – get here

*** CLOVER NEEDLE HOLDER *** (I love this tool for speeding up time it takes to felt)

Clover Multi Needle Tool which holds 1 to 3 needles: best price I’ve found online is here.

*** NAIL SCISSORS *** (good old faithful low cost scissors) – here

(Please see disclaimer about links in the right side panel to this page)

More needle felting tutorials can be found over on my tutorials page 

Don‚Äôt ever miss out on my latest tutorials! Insert your email address and click the ‚ÄėFollow‚Äô button on the right hand panel to receive notifications of when the next post is up..:-)

How to Needle Felt with CONFIDENCE (5 Ways) | For Needle Felting Beginners & more Advanced Learners

Whether you are a Needle Felting beginner or a more advanced learner, sometimes you can lack confidence. I want to encourage you and show you how to become a confident Needle Felter. I share practical tips as well as mindset strategy to boost confidence in yourself and your abilities. If I can do it then so can you. ūüôā

Now I sometimes hear some of you say that you’re actually embarrassed by what you’ve created, you compare yourself to others and you just don’t have the confidence in your felting abilities.¬†

Some of you have started projects, you’ve been doing all the basics, but then you just feel like you haven’t reached a level of where you want to be, and some of you may even be trying to sell your creations but you just don’t feel that anybody would buy your work.

I want to encourage you all with 5 ways to become a more confident felter. 

In no time I hope you’ll go from being self doubter to confident felter. ūüôā

If you prefer to listen or watch videos then I have covered all this in this video below, if not and you prefer to read then please scroll down past the video and continue to read on.  

So here are 5 ways to Needle Felt with confidence: 

  1. Recognize, and remember that you are on a journey. 

That might sound a little bit strange, but this just helps me to realize where I’ve come and where I’m going. 

It doesn’t matter if you’ve just bought some wool and you haven’t even started stabbing or whether you’ve actually done a few projects and you have learnt some basics or maybe you’re a professional at this and you sell your work. 

We all start somewhere, and there’s always room wherever you are to LEARN and GROW and IMPROVE. 

So I remember when I first started, I had no idea what needle nothing was. I’d been online and I found these amazing animals that people have made out of wool. And I was like, “what? how do people do that?” So I went online and I saw how they did it. -just some brief clips about it, and I made a decision right there and then to pick up my wool and my needles, I just got them online and I just sat, and I made a cute little cream bunny, which I still have today,¬†

I’ve never sold it. To be honest, it’s my first work so not up to my standard now, but that little bunny as cute as he is and as simple as he was he is a reminder now of my journey so far. I can look back, and I can think of where I started all those years ago with some real basic techniques and now look at me now and see how far I’ve come. If I hadn’t started and got stuck in, I wouldn’t have probably had the confidence that I have today.¬†

I can also encourage you today because I have been the starter where you might be today. I’ve been at the edge of whether I can sell my animals.¬†

  • If that’s what you want to do, you know you absolutely can with a bit more confidence, a bit more skill, and that’s something that you want to do go for it. I did, and I’ve sold some lovely pieces, and I’ve received so much lovely feedback from people as well. 

Yes, I’ve experimented on this journey, and I’ve very much learned through trial and error, and yes, I completely aspire to become better and improve my work all the time, and I absolutely am inspired by and admire those people who make the most beautiful creatures. But at the same time, I recognize I’m on my own journey. 

Wherever you are on your journey right now, it’s completely fine. It’s ok to be where you are but know that there is so much more to come. 

  1.  Get to know and love your wool and your needles. 

If you’re not confident in what the different wools can do and what the different needles can do, then you may not be confident in what you as a felter can do.

So what I always suggest is that you get to know and get really familiar with the different fibers that are out there, and also get to know what the different needles can do, 

So, the wool actually is very forgiving. It doesn’t judge you (I’m not saying that people judge you either).¬†

Often in fact, the wool has its own mind. Sometimes you’ll find when you start a project you’ve got this great plan of what you want to make, and as you make something, it molds into something else and becomes a different animal. I’m sure many of you have had that happen!

Think about it as you are a potter with your clay, but in needle felt terms – you are a needle felter with your wool, and you’re going to be sculpting with that wool to make something beautiful. 

 

This is your material that you’re using. So get to be familiar with the different types and look at the different sheep breeds if you’re using wool and maybe even other non sheep species like alpaca or camels. If you’re using non wool types such as vegan friendly fibers, that’s brilliant as well. There’s so many different fibers out there.

Maybe you’ll start off with certain wool like core wool that‚Äôs more abrasive and easier and quicker to felt then later on add a more softer finer wool for the detail.

If you’d like to delve deeper into what the different wool types do e.g know the difference between wool tops and wool batts, or would like a quick guide to the sheep breeds, then head over to my wool guide here.

You’ll get to know which fibers you like and you’ll be more confident in knowing what you’re doing for each project and you’ll become more confident in your abilities overall.  

What I would suggest is that when you start out you always start a little bit smaller and then build the layers on top. It is so much easier to add wool than to take away. Although I have to say on occasion I’ve had to cut things off, and I know that’s a big no no in the needle felting world. But sometimes it’s easier to cut something. I’ve cut a head or a nose off before. 

This is what needle felting is all about, you get to work with the fibers, you have your favorites for the different sculptures you’re making and you make it work for you.

In the same way with the needles, get to know different types of needle, try them out, experiment. Feel comfortable with what you’re using. These are your tools to use, so if you’re using the right needles, the quicker more efficient that you will become. You can easily add the detail to your¬† animals as well. Again, you’ll probably find that you have a favorite that you love to use.¬†

When you feel confident in your wool and your needles, you will find that your overall confidence will build up, and you can then just let your imagination flow. 

  1. Learn from others and be part of the community

So I don’t know if you’re on social media, but I certainly am, and i’ve really found some of the felting groups out there to be the most encouraging places to be. You can learn from other people, you can be inspired by those more experienced than you and you can also get tips and learn techniques from others as well. I found it to be really encouraging. It gives you that kind of confidence boost when people say that they like your work. Now it shouldn’t be all about that, but I really think it does help. You can get little tips on maybe how to improve as well if you want to. 

If you’re not on social media, that’s completely fine, too. You might find that there’s a local group where you can learn alongside other people in person, which is even better

Remember that COMPETENCE leads to CONFIDENCE, so the more that you do something and get good at it, the more confident you will become. So keep practicing and learning. 

So there’s loads of free and paid for resources:

  • Youtube to watch videos to understand how to needle felt and improve your techniques. Please do subscribe to my needle felting channel here. I have many more tutorials planned.¬†
  • There’s also online tutorials like on my website here so you can learn from picture tutorials.¬†
  • PDF tutorials that you can download, needle felting kits and books to buy out there too.¬†
  • As I mentioned earlier, you could find a local community group that is doing a workshop, learning alongside a friend can really encourage you and build your confidence when your learning to needle felt. 
  • There’s also online workshops, which you can find if you do a really good Google search. 

I suggest when you’re learning, not to try everything all at once, master those little projects first before you leap into something more complicated. Once you’ve become confident in the basic techniques, then you can move on something far more challenging.¬†

  1. Embrace the mistakes along the way, 

So learning and practicing is great , but don’t be afraid of making those mistakes along the way. Those mistakes will drive you forward so you can make even better creations. When you make the mistakes, you remember them and the next time you’re less likely to do it, yeah. You’re more likely to improve when you experience those mistakes. You can then hone your skills and become a better and more confident needle felter. 

Sometimes I find too that making mistakes enables me to find a completely new technique that I hadn’t even thought of before, and that is all part of experimentation and trial and error. 

If you break a needle, for example, you will soon learn. You don’t want to break more needles and buy more needles and have more expense, so you will soon learn how to achieve the pressure that you should be stabbing with and what angle to stab at. 

Reading a book or watching a video is good for learning but the true meaning happens when you physically try it and do it by yourself. Having those personal mistakes happen to you will mean you soon learn, even though it can seem like learning the hard way. 

I can look back at all the mistakes I made and realise that if I didn’t make that mistake I may not have honed my skills the way I have and be where I am today

Another mistake that people often make (and I am very guilty of this as well) is starting off making something that ends up being too big or certain parts of the animal are completely out of proportion. Yet you thankfully soon learn to plan a little bit better, take your time, and make a better proportioned animal. 

Sometimes you might feel when you make that mistake that it’s all gone wrong, and you don’t feel confident at all. Well, I just want to reassure you, MISTAKES ARE OK to make!!. I’m pretty sure that when you speak to anyone no matter how experienced they are that they still make mistakes.

If you make a mistake, – don’t let that affect your confidence, just see it as something that’s part of your journey, take a deep breath, you’re not going to make as many mistakes moving forward as maybe you will in the beginning. So just see that as an experiment, see it as a learning curve and then move on! ūüôā

  1. Discover and follow your individual style.

You have your own inbuilt style, and this is what DIFFERENTIATES you and makes you UNIQUE from any other artist! 

Of course it’s really important to learn, so if you want to go and follow kits or you want to follow youtube videos or read blogs posts like this, then that’s completely fine. You can really improve your skill and obviously being competent makes you more confident. Yet at the same time it‚Äôs really, really important to find your own unique style. 

When looking through Google images of needle felted animals or when browsing social media it‚Äôs really amazing how you can look at those pictures, and you can recognize straight away who the artist is because they have their own style, and so this is what will happen for you. 

Maybe you’ve already found your style – that‚Äôs brilliant, please follow it! 

But if you haven’t yet just again, get to know what you love, get to know what really makes you happy in your hobby and find your individual style.

Personally. I love the tiny detail and the realism and making animals to be as lifelike as I can. I have to say that I’ve been really frustrated in the past when I’ve seen other people make animals, and they can do them really quickly. They can maybe do a whole animal in like a day or even a couple of hours. I thought to myself, ‚Äúoh. If only I could make things quicker, I could also sell things quicker‚ÄĚ.¬†

But then when I think about what my unique style is and what it is that I appreciate in art, – I appreciate the detail, and if I’m going to create the detail and if I’m going for something realistic, – then of course, it‚Äôs going to take me time.¬†

So don’t get stuck in the mindset that you need to be like someone else or do the same thing as someone else. Don’t compare yourself in that way, find your own style, and then follow that style and be the needle felter that you were meant to be!

Yes, be inspired by other artists, but be confident in yourself, don’t come under any pressure to be like anyone! Express yourself and who you are through your needle felted creations!¬†

So, are you a self doubter or a confident felter? Please let me know in the comments.

Meet Freckle; the baby tiger quoll

Here is my latest needle felted animal known as “Freckle”!

03-Needle felted quoll (25)

She is an adorable baby Tiger Quoll (a wonderful and unusual looking marsupial from Australia). She is sound asleep all curled up, be careful not to wake her!!
Why Freckle? I posted her on facebook and asked for name suggestions. There were so many great ideas but I decided that the name ‘Freckle’ really suited her. I had freckles across my nose as a kid. My nanny (my mum’s mum) used to say to me that freckles were sun kisses. How sweet! This creature is sweet and certainly has quite a few freckles!

02-Needle felted quoll (26)
07-Needle felted quoll (27)

She has been lovingly hand-made and is ‘fit to be loved’. As you can see from the photos she just about fits onto your hand like a real baby quoll.

Her core is made of natural undyed corriedale sheep wool from New Zealand. Her beautiful spotted fur is a mix of brown corriedale and soft merino sheep wool (non-mulesed) from South Africa. She has a wire through her tail.

As with all my wool sculptures it took many hours of hard work and love to give her her character. I used the adding long fur technique as well as trying out my new reverse needles to ensure her fur looks as realistic as can be.

05-Needle felted quoll (20)
06-Needle felted quoll (34)

Her nose and eyes are made of wool too, so no glass or plastic. Her realistic looking whiskers are made from horse hair.

I hope you like her ūüôā

*************** Freckle is now for sale in my Etsy shop! -update on 7th Dec 2018 – Now sold. So very excited to announce that Freckle will be going to a lady in Australia! *********************

Tiny feet and tiny toes – needle felt tutorial

Tiny feet and tiny toes – needle felt tutorial

How do I give my needle felted animal cute detailed feet or tiny toes?

This tutorial will hopefully inspire you with some ideas for how you might tackle felting animal feet and a step by step guide to making individual toes using wool wrapped over wire.

Basic feet

For some of my¬†felted animal sculptures I decided not to give their feet too much detail. Here you can see that my hare and fox merely have¬†simple dark rounded feet. Their¬†sitting or standing positions mean that¬†you only really see the top of their feet. Of course¬†I could have spent more time on them but I didn’t want to over emphasise their paws and was satisfied with how they looked as they are.¬†Their expressions and character come through¬†enough in their faces and other cute features.

Needle felted bunny IMG_3400

A bit more detail

When it came to the mouse I made for my mum; his little feet were pink and would have looked a little bare with no detail. Again he is standing up so you don’t see his paw pads anyway for his back feet but¬†I decided to add¬†some tiny threads¬†of wool¬†fibre with a thin needle to show that he has separate toes. I also¬†stabbed away to sculpt¬†obvious paw shapes for his ‘hands’; one¬†holds a beautiful flower and the other is pressed against his humble mouse heart¬†to say ‘I love you!’

06-Needle felted feet (6) 08-Needle felted feet (8) 09-Needle felted feet (41)

Cute paw pads

Sometimes though you will want to do so much more! Have you ever looked in detail at the underneath of bunny¬†paws and considered how absolutely¬†small, perfectly proportioned and adorable they are? When making my bunnies and badgers I just couldn’t resist felting the little details that¬†make them look so much more¬†like real paws and make¬†your friends want¬†to say ‘squee’ ūüôā especially as these¬†sculptures are laying on their backs with feet in the air ready to be cuddled or tickled.

To get ideas for how these should look, google images of paws or look at photos of your own pets. All I did with my bunny here was to just felt little blobs of lighter coloured wool onto the underside of the feet and then add some darker fibres on top as shading/ furry bits to make them look more natural. So simple but effective!

53-Needle felted feet (3.3) 52-Needle felted feet (2.2)

Why not have a go? As you can see in the pictures below, leaving their feet as just rounded shapes would not have had the same affect!

04-Needle felted feet (48) 03-Needle felted feet (47)

05-Needle felted feet (40) 01-Needle felted feet (39)

12-Needle felted feet (44) 10-Needle felted feet (42) 02-Needle felted feet (46)

13-Needle felted feet (45) 11-Needle felted feet (43)  54-Needle felted feet (4.1)

Tiny toes that bend

For some animals you may want to take it a step further and make some tiny toes. If you have enough patience you can carefully sculpt the toes from making long sausage shapes that you felt firmly together. You can see I did this with my Christmas owl.

owl2

I have found¬†however that using¬†wire makes this much easier, the toes don’t flatten or fray as much, they are stronger, take the weight of the animal’s body better and it also means you can bend the toes to the position you want them to stay in.

Those of you who already make your animals from wrapping wool over a wire armature will likely already know how this is achieved but please do read on in case there is anything you find useful. Those who prefer not to use a wire armature for the main body can still use wire for the feet , why not mix it up a bit?

There are several ways to wrap wool over wire to make tiny toes; one way is to wrap the wool over bare wire (See my video tutorial afterwards to demonstrate this). This works really well especially for animals where you really want the toes as thin as possible and make them taper at the ends or for projects which are on a very tiny scale. (Some people use hot wax to fix the first layer of wool)

Another simple way (and far less messy if using wax!) which I will demonstrate in this tutorial is to felt wool over a pipe cleaner to ensure it says well (which is basically a very thin piece of wire already wrapped in a layer of material such as cotton or chenille). These can be used for feet where toes can be a bit thicker and for medium or larger projects.  I used this method for my guinea pig and Chestnut, my red squirrel. You can see that I  also added a bit of paw detail on to the guinea pig afterwards.

14-Needle felted feet (51) 15-Needle felted feet (49)

51-Needle felted feet (1.1) 16-Needle felted feet (50)

2014-02-10 22.25.29 46-Needle felted squirrel (62) 50-Needle felted feet (5)

Step by step guide for felting feet with tiny wired toes

I will demonstrate¬†here how I made Chestnut’s feet. I decided that each foot¬†would have four toes. My guinea pig however had three toes at the back and four at the front like a real guinea pig. You can decide what you think looks best!

What you will need:

  • Pipe cleaners (I¬†bought 30cm length cotton ones)
  • Scissors to cut the pipe cleaners to size
  • Wool (I used merino wool which felts well and is soft to touch)
  • Barbed needles (thinner ones are best for tiniest toes)
  • Felting pad/brush (to prevent you from stabbing your knees)
  • Lots of love and patience and time – this is worth the effort believe me! ūüôā

1) Cut two lengths of pipe cleaner for each of your feet (I measured one twice the length of my index finger and the other slighter shorter) It is easier to make two toes from one piece. Prepare these for both feet at the same time.

17-Needle felted feet (12) 18-Needle felted feet (13)

2) Take a thin piece of wool¬†measuring at least one and half times the length of the pipe cleaner and roughly a finger’s width.

19-Needle felted feet (14)

3) Tightly wrap the wool over each length of pipe cleaner; keep the wool flat and wind around, carefully overlapping the previously wrapped fibres all the way along. You can start at the end but I prefer to go from the middle and work to each end.

20-Needle felted feet (15)

The tighter and smoother you wrap the less felting will be needed later on to fix it in place.

22-Needle felted feet (17)

4) On reaching the ends¬†tightly fold the fibres over the end, hold¬†a finger over the end to keep in place¬†whilst¬†overlapping the work you have done very tightly for a few wraps back the other way towards the middle until you reach the end of your wool. Pull off any excess wool if you find you have too much (you don’t want to make the toes too thick).

23-Needle felted feet (18)

5) Using your barbed needle, stab the fibres in place along the length of the structure and especially at the ends to secure them and prevent them from fraying, taking care not to break your needle by hitting the wire as you go.

27-Needle felted feet (22) 24-Needle felted feet (19) 25-Needle felted feet (20)

26-Needle felted feet (21)

6) Bend the pieces in half and then overlay, squeeze and slightly twist the bases of the two toe pairs together, the two longer pieces will become the two centre toes.

28-Needle felted feet (23) 29-Needle felted feet (24)

7) Wrap some thicker wool over the twisted section to form the rest of the foot. Spread out the toes into the position you wish them to be in.

30-Needle felted feet (25) 31-Needle felted feet (26)

8) Add more wool and felt onto the foot on both sides to shape the foot, and ensure you fill in between the toes and make the ‘knuckle area’ thicker. See how your tiny toes are becoming reality ? ūüôā

32-Needle felted feet (27) 33-Needle felted feet (28)

9) Build up layers of wool. Your cute little feet are beginning to really take shape!

For the hind feet you will see I kept the toes and foot fairly flat and long and built up a heel. One of the toes ended up a little longer but I quite like this; gives a more natural look.

35-Needle felted feet (30) 34-Needle felted feet (29)

For the¬†front¬†paws (which will be holding a felted¬†acorn)¬†I kept them daintier and shorter and curled the¬†‘fingers’ into a gripping position, and added an ‘arm’.

41-Needle felted feet (37) 47-Needle felted feet (4)

10) Keep going and ensure you have left some loosely felted wool where the foot/leg will join onto the body. See here for a tutorial on how to add head and limbs to animals.

39-Needle felted feet (36) 38-Needle felted feet (35) 37-Needle felted feet (34)

46-Needle felted feet (3)    43-Needle felted feet (57)

and …. SQUEEE!

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.

How to add head and limbs onto needle felted animals

“How do I felt body parts onto my needle felted animal? How can I make them stay secure and not easily pull off?”

Today I want to show you some more basics of needle felting animals. In my other tutorials you will see how to make various animal parts e.g a badger head, bunny ears as well as the various stages of felting a full guinea pig, bunny etc. However one of my followers commented that it would be good to do a tutorial showing how to felt the head and limbs onto your animal. It is not so easy to demonstrate with photos but I have done my best by using the shots I took along the way when sculpting Chestnut; the little red squirrel I made.

There are many ways of felting one piece to another so you may have already found the best way for you. The method I will show you is just one way and was the easiest for my squirrel at the time. ūüôā

Please note that the following tutorial will assume you know a little bit about needle felting already. See basics here.

Adding the head

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At this point I have felted the head more or less to completion.¬†The body has its¬†shape but no fur yet…

I have sometimes only got as far as the shape of the head when joining it to the body but I quite often find that it’s the¬†head of an animal that gives its unique soulful character (especially once it has eyes).02-Needle felted squirrel (8)

I often don’t decide on exactly how the body will look until I have the head sorted. Being delighted by the cute nature of the face (as is what happened¬†with Chestnut) often inspires me to continue on with the rest of the body.¬†

1) To join two felted objects together leave enough loose fibre on at least one of the objects where the join will be so that it can be felted into the other.

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It is a lot harder and perhaps impossible to join them if the wool is felted too firmly and the fibres cannot mix and bind with the fibres on the other object when you stab with your needle. 

As you can see, the neck at the top of Chestnut’s torso has been left loose and soft. The base of the¬†head¬†is soft to medium¬†felted rather than firm to allow¬†plenty¬†of further stabbing..

2) Fluff the fibres up a bit before putting the head into the position you would like it to be. 

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3) Stab at the wool from a 45 degree angle under the chin of the animal. In effect what you are doing is poking the loose wool from the neck into the head. Insert the needle as deep as it can go and on all sides of the neck. This helps to anchor the head to the body. Remember (particularly at this stage when the head will just fall off the body if you try any other way) to lay your animal on a felting pad/brush and stab away from your fingers!

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To join body parts I use a medium width barbed needle (I find these are stronger than the finer ones for this purpose but do try out various ones to see what you are comfortable with and what works best for the wool and size of animal you are felting). If possible use one with many barbs along the length to help bind the fibres and as the needle will be inserted quite deep.

4) Once it feels like the wool fibres have attached so much so that the head no longer topples away, you can try felting at other angles at various depths. Here I laid Chestnut’s head over the edge of the felting pad as it made it easier to get the angle I wanted and also prevented me from squishing her carefully felted nose ūüôā

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5) Carefully stab a few times from the top of the head to ensure it is firmly secure. NB this is easier if the head has no fur yet but if you have (like I have) you just have to take care not to leave stab marks in the face (as you are using a slightly thicker needle).

…and there we go, head on …looking more squirrel-like although much like a shawn sheep at the moment with lack of fur ūüôā

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Adding limbs

This is achieved in much the same way as joining the head in that you need to stab deeply in all directions to ensure all the fibres bind to each other.

For Chestnut I started with the hind legs so that it would be easier to see how her forelegs would be positioned once she was sat upright. Note the thigh part of the leg for my squirrel has already been sculpted as part of her body shape which ends up in a sitting pose. So when I refer to adding the hind leg, it is in fact the section below her thigh bone. 

1) Needle felt each leg onto the body by stabbing the wool at the fluffed up end of the leg into the body.

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For Chestnut I had formed her feet using wool wrapped and felted over wire (see my tutorial on tiny feet and toes here) so I had to take extra care not to break my needle by hitting the wire when stabbing.

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2) Continue at all angles for both legs until firmly and securely in position.

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Once in place I added more wool round the joins as fur and then decided to felt some of Chestnut’s back-fur too.¬†Aw she is looking very happy and mischievous already!

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3) Then do the same for the forelegs.

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As the shoulder part needs to be attached along the side of the torso it is not sufficient to merely stab from the outer side at the shoulder blade to keep the limb in place.

To felt at an angle under the ‘armpit’ and also to ensure the leg cannot pull away at the join, stuff some extra(fluffed up) wool into the join and stab it securely into place (not too deep to push the lighter coloured wool through to the other side of the shoulder).

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Tip: To get the correct positioning and symmetry when adding the second foreleg(as quite often you will want to play around with this until you get it right)¬†you may find it easier to stab the second leg into place only a tiny bit at first; enough to hold the leg in place but not so much that you can’t alter the position if you need to. You can then step away to view your animal from a distance, then adjust until happy with it.

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….then secure into place.

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Once all limbs are joined onto your animal you can then felt over the joins with fur. You wouldn’t even know your animal started out as separate appendages.

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Here is Chestnut as she looks now! ūüôā

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How to needle felt animal eyes

“So, I just about know how to needle felt a cute fluffy animal but how do I even start to needle felt its eyes? How can I make the eyes look 3D, shiny and realistic and not too cartoon-like?’, I could use glass or plastic eyes but would love to use wool so that my sculpture is totally needle felted- so what do I do?”

This photo tutorial will hopefully show you the basics of needle felting animal eyes and give you some ideas along the way too.

Adding the eyes to any needle felted piece is actually one of my favourite parts. It brings the animal to life and gives it its soulful character. Getting the eyes just right shouldn’t be a stress! it can take some practice but it can be so rewarding adding that final detail to your newly created animal…

Here are some of the eyes I have needle felted so far to give you some ideas.

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Can you work out what animals they are?

So here is how you can get started…

Step 1: Look at photos of eyes and get to know basic eye anatomy

Of course eyes are different for every species so the first thing to do is to take a look at photos of real animals to see how big the eyes are in proportion to the animal’s head, decide on colour, the shape, note where the light reflects etc. You don’t want to make the wrong sort of eyes for your animal (eg a cat’s eye on a mouse for example). I usually just do a web search and bookmark the pictures or pin them on pinterest to refer to whilst I needle felt.

Remember doing biology? well you don’t need to know full anatomy of the eye but knowing your basic parts does help. Here is an eye of a needle felted hare I made;

eye anatomy

You will find that most animals will have a pupil which can change in size depending on mood/ light exposure. For some it will be round or it can be different in shape e.g. a slit for cats and reptiles, square for a goat, even w-shaped in a cuttlefish!! Some have a distinctly coloured iris, some have eye lids some don’t- birds’ eyes face forward rather than sit on the side of the head… aren’t animals remarkable!

Step 2: Go for it

For demonstration purposes I will show you the stages that took place when making eyes for a mouse and then a badger. Eyes can be added early on or at the end, it’s completely up to you. I sometimes like to do mine near the end and when finished I can’t help but smile! ūüôā

Some ‘Fit to be loved’ eye felting tips

  • use fine high gauge barbed needles for detail such as 40G or 42G
  • use warm hands to roll the tiny eye ball to keep rounded/oval rather than stabbing too much as this will just flatten it
  • it is easier to layer eyes parts on top of each other rather than try to make the exact shape (see what I mean below)
  • do each stage for each eye at the same time to get the eyes the same
  • measure using string/thread/fingers to check eyes are of equal size and symmetrically positioned
  • to attach eye to the head stab mainly around the edge of the eye in various directions rather than across the middle to keep the eye plump and prevent it from going too flat.

See below for instructions on the mouse and badger eyes. Note that I have also now created detailed videos on dog eyes and cat eyes if you would like to see those ūüôā

Mouse eyes (-basic level)

  • roll in warm hands 2 equal sized rugby ball shaped balls of black wool to form the basic eye shape. Lightly needle felt in different directions then place on the mouse head viewing from the top to check the positioning is symmetrical. The eyes on this mouse are simple to view as they contrast well in colour with the rest of its face fur.
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  • firmly felt the wool into place by stabbing around the edge of the shape to keep the eye plump and not completely flat
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  • use a smaller amount of wool for each of the eye irises (using a grey/green colour) and again stab them into place, being careful not to flatten the eye too much…
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  • add a tiny ball of the black to the top of the iris to form the pupil. The position of the pupil will determine the way the mouse looks at you; for this little mouse the pupil at the top gives the impression that he is looking up. Ensure the pupils match in size and position on each eye (you don’t want him to look cross-eyed unless that is the expression you are after..)
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  • adding the pupil in this way i.e. layering one circular shape over another is far easier and less tedious than attempting to shape the iris in a half moon shape and also gives the eye a fuller shape..
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  • take a thin strip of cream-coloured wool to form the edge of the mouse’s eyelids (top and bottom) which nicely frame the eyes. View the eyes from the top to ensure they are in the correct position and of correct thickness
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  • this is also a good time to manipulate the wool on the eyes as well as around the eyes with your fingers to make the shape of the eyes fit the face as best it can. For example you could pull in the bottom corners of the eyes and narrow the bridge of the nose slightly if you choose to do so or if one eye sticks out more than the other you can carefully push it in slightly.
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  • as a finishing touch and to bring the eyes to life and make them look 3D and shiny, add a tiny dot of white to give the illusion that light is reflecting across the eye surface. The exact position of this is not so crucial as getting them in the same mirrored position for each eye…
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Here is the finished mouse saying ‘I love you’ with it’s cute yellow felted flower…

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Badger eyes (- intermediate level)

The badger’s eyes are slightly harder to create. The reason being is that the badger’s dark eyes are hard to see on a fairly dark face so needing more careful measuring to ensure both eyes look the same. The eyes are mainly dark so need more help in making the surface look like it is shiny and reflecting the light. I also add colour to the bottom corner of each eye to form what is known as the ‘lacrimal caruncle’ that you sometimes see in mammals such as a badger (to make it look even more life like)

  • roll 2 small balls of black wool in warm hands and needle felt lightly in all directions
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  • add the balls to the badger head, felting slightly to keep in place but don’t felt firmly until you have checked they are positioned correctly
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  • whilst they are roughly in place view the eyes from above to check the position. As the background fur is very dark too, you may find this hard to do so you may wish to feel the eyes too to check this..as you can see the left eye was slightly higher at this stage so I moved the eye down slightly to match..
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  • once happy with the positioning, felt around the edge of each shape, not across its middle, to ensure the eye does not become too flat.
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  • take a thin length of grey wool for the top and bottom eyelid edges for each eye, these will nicely frame the eyes.
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  • needle felt these into place and then view both eyes from the top to ensure they are in the correct position and of correct thickness
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  • add a tiny amount of brown wool into the inner eye corners (the ‘lacrimal caruncle’) – this was the same colour as the brown detail on the badger nose
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  • the eyes of the badger are very dark so as well as having a tiny white spot to give the illusion of a shiny eye as with the mouse, I wanted to add some grey to the sides of each black eye for extra 3D light reflecting effect.
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  • it is very important to ensure that what you do with one eye is mirrored with the other so checking from all angles is crucial.
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  • and add the white dot…
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Yes these eyes can take a while to get just right but oh how cute do these badgers look when finished!!

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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.

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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.

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.

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 wools to choose? 

For my needle felted badger I had already made his body shape by sculpting with natural carded wool. I recommend wool batts which come in long thick sheets, making it easy to pull sections off and the wool is really fast to felt with.

Then for the top coat (which I will be demonstrating in this tutorial) I mixed grey and black merino wool tops with a few strands of some natural undyed wool tops for a rich cream colour. I particularly love the merino sheep wool as it comes in a variety of animal colour options and is lovely and soft to touch. Natural wool tops in breeds such as Jacob or corriedale are quick to felt and are a little more fibrous to the look and feel. When using wool tops the fibres all lay in one direction so they are perfect for cutting lengths and adding these to resemble long fur on your needle felted animal.  If you would like to you could use other luxurious fibres such as baby alpaca.

What tools will you need to attach the fur?

Very simple you just need:

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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 my needle depending on detail and thickness of wool being needled. .

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.

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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. ūüôā

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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 ūüôā

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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?  

3 My ‘Long animal fur’ video tutorial is NOW AVAILABLE on my YouTube channel in 4 parts.

<<<Click the donkey picture to start watching part 1

¬†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?

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