I am so excited to present to you my needle felted hare. She could be a moon gazing hare or maybe she is simply gazing up at you with those endearing eyes for some cuddles. I thought Luna was a sweet name which also means moon in Latin.
She is 100% wool except for her whiskers which are made of horse hair. Also I had some fun experimenting with wax that melts in the warmth of your hands to twist some of the wool between my fingers as a way to define the rugged and wavy texture of the hare’s fur around her neck and chest area. The wax was really effective to shape the tiny pieces of wool that I used for her claws as well.
I really love how hares have such long ears so I made these extra long for her body size, but I think that makes her even cuter, don’t you think?
This sounds strange to be using this technique with carded wool but having tried it it works well to give a rough fur coat look rather than lengths of straight wool.
I also pulled some of the core wool through with my ever faithful reverse felting needles to lighten areas (especially on the limbs) and to blend some of the colours.
I left some parts free from the top coat where I would attach the ears, limbs and tail.
Next I made the ears and attached them, followed by the hind legs and then the front legs. Using 2 needles at once with my Clover pen style needle holder really helped to flat felt the ears and to quickly attach body parts..
Then I completed the top coat and added a tail and finally some whiskers.
I really enjoyed making Luna. I particularly loved making her as realistic as I could by taking my time to twist the wool and mimic the wavy and tousled look of the hare’s back fur.
I am pondering if to make another one and create a detailed tutorial as I go along.. I’d really value your thoughts..:-)
I have included links for where to source needle felting tools and materials. Please see Links disclaimer in the right side panel for more details.
This week has been an exciting week. The needle felted pipistrelle bat I created was mounted and given as an award at the Palace of Westminster to MP Helen Hayes as she is the species champion for the common pipistrelle and won best parliamentary species champion at the Species Champions Annual awards ceremony. Well done to Helen for all her hard work!! It was presented by BBC Journalist Frank Gardner.
I am so happy that my artwork became something so special for an amazing project. The project is run by the Rethink Nature partnership, a group of seven wildlife organisations working together to make a difference to species conservation. (Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, Bat Conservation Trust, Buglife, Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Butterfly Conservation, Plantlife and the RSPB).
The little bat took many hours of sculpting through the art of needle felting. His body is made of core corriedale wool. His wings, legs and tail are wool wrapped over wire. His beautiful brown coat is made of a blend of corriedale and merino wool. His eyes, nose, ears and tiny feet are made of wool too.
The common pipistrelle as its name suggests is the most common bat that you might see flying in your garden on a summer night! Yet like all our bats in the UK they need our help and protection to ensure their numbers don’t decline again. They are so important to our environment! I love bats but some people don’t and this is usually as they don’t know much about them and bats are so misunderstood.
When you look at a bat close up they are actually very tiny and many times smaller than the size of my needle felted one. In fact a real pipistrelle bat weighs about 5g and their forearm length is less than 35mm in length. One of these tiny creatures can eat around 3 thousand insects in one night – how amazing is that!? Due to destruction of their natural habitat many bats now need to roost in houses and churches and rely on people to preserve these roosts.
Each bat usually has only one pup each year and too often that little pup will become lost or get caught by a local cat and so many each year don’t survive. The Bat Conservation Trust has a fantastic helpline if you find a bat in need of help. You can also find out how to support their work 🙂
Here are a few work in progress photos of my needle felted bat…
Having worked for 12 years at the Bat Conservation Trust I have quite a good knowledge of bats but it was still a challenge to get the anatomy right. Bats are so fascinating and detailed with their tail membranes and wing membranes! I wanted to give the illusion of fully formed wings that could spread out but tucked in as if it has landed. I hope I did it justice.
As with all my needle felted animals I used lots of photos of the real animal at every angle for reference. Thankfully no needles were broken but I did remake his face at one point and a good deal of patience and chocolate rewards were needed along the way!! This aside I really did enjoy making him and I was so overjoyed to see the smile on Helen Hayes’ face too when she received him as her award !
“Paws”, an adorable and realistic looking Tabby kitten, is looking up at you with those big green eyes. His little paws playfully protrude out of the picture. He has been lovingly hand-made and is ‘fit to be loved’. As you can see from the photos he is in a black frame with green insert to compliment his eyes.
The frame I used measures 9 inches wide by 7 inches tall perfect for fixing to a wall or standing on a table/chest of drawers. It took many hours of hard work and love to give him his playful character through the art of needle felting.
His beautiful soft fluffy fur is a blend of merino sheep’s wool (non-mulesed) from South Africa and British Corriedale wool. His nose and eyes are made of wool too, so no glass or plastic. He even has cute brown wool paw pads when you look underneath! His core is made of undyed mixed rare breed sheep’s wool from Scotland with a wire frame inside his legs for extra support. His white whiskers are made from horse tail hair for a realistic finish. He has a little collar with gold coloured heart pendant.
Here are some photos of the needle felting process.
With real cat photos as reference, I started sculpting the core wool to make the head,
I then filled in the eyes and added layers of grey, black, brown and white wool to resemble cat fur.
I added nose and mouth detail.
Once the head was complete I wrapped more core wool over a wire armature and sculpted the legs and torso.
After attaching the head I layered coloured wool over the top of the body and legs to give that soft fluffy cat fur look as well as the paw pad detail.
Finally after tying a collar round its neck with a gold coloured pendant, I threaded the horse hair whiskers.
As with all my long haired sculptures I went over all the furry layers with a tiny needle to separate fibres and ensure no fluffing or matting and then trimmed any excess fibres that stuck out.
For more info about how to add long fur to needle felted animals, please do follow the tutorial here.
May I present to you ‘Hazel’ the sleeping hazel dormouse. She is snuggled up on her needle felted leaves in a wool nest I crocheted.
She is a mix of merino and corriedale wools with a wire in her tail and has horse hair for whiskers. Her tiny toes are all wool – I think they are the tiniest I have made yet and were very fiddly but certainly worth every minute of the process.
Hazel was such a joy to make while I have been recovering from a life changing operation. Curling up into a little ball just like she is doing in her cosy nest is something I have felt like doing a lot the past few weeks as I have needed so much sleep.
I hope you like her. I will be posting more about how I made the leaves soon too.
Here is my first attempt at a needle felted bumble bee. I gave it to my sister for her birthday last week. My sister’s name Melissa means ‘honey bee’ but she loves bumbley bees as they are so fluffy looking! I was brave enough to let it sit on my hand without any worries about being stung. Good job as it is much larger than life size!
I started off using black pipe cleaners as legs and antennae. I twisted them together in the middle to form the base for the body. I trimmed the pipe cleaners with small angled nail scissors to accentuate the leg segments and added tan coloured wool..
I tightly wound yellow, black and white merino wool tops over the middle section to form the head, thorax and abdomen and added more and more of the merino on top to build up the height. I needle felted the body with a barbed needle to sculpt into a bee shape. To create a furry bumble bee look I then used a reverse felting needle to pull out the fibres and added a layer of rusty orange over the yellow to give the colour more depth. (Note I didn’t use a cream colour core wool for this piece to ensure that only the pure colours I wanted came through when I used the reverse needle not any underlay of core wool fibres).
I had to get really creative for the wings. I searched my stash of crafty bits and ended up cutting out wing shapes from a silvery coloured organza bag and then hand sewed the pattern on each wing by hand with white embroidery thread.
Here are a few photos of the work in progress of how I started.
I am so pleased that my sister adored him!!
******how about creating your very own Mr Bumbley Bee? The detailed and beautifully illustrated PDF tutorial is now available here ******************
I am very excited to present to you my greatest needle felting challenge yet. He is modelled on a beautiful young Shetland sheepdog (Sheltie) called Schubert (Schubie)! The real dog is very much loved by his human mum and dad and his dad wanted a surprise gift for his wife (Schubert’s mum) for Christmas!
I rarely do commissions as I try to avoid the stress of it but having spent quite a bit of time admiring the real Schubert I had been wondering how it would be to needle felt a mini one and quite fancied a stab at it! 🙂
Schubert has so many tones to his luxurious fur so I spent quite a bit of time blending wool colours. He also has very long fur so I really put into practice my ‘adding long animal fur’ techniques.
I started off wrapping corriedale core wool over a wire armature. Then I added paw pads and then some detail on his face before starting on his belly fur and working from his tail end towards his neck with merino wool. I did his wispy feet hair and tail last. Please see the work in progress videos below for more info.
In an attempt to keep him as authentically ‘Shetland’ as possible I managed to include some brown Shetland sheep wool in his coat and his whiskers are made of black Shetland pony tail hair all the way from Scotland.
As with all my creations it took many hours of needle felting and love. I am very pleased with the way he turned out and I hope you like him too 🐶🐕😆
Here are some short videos of the process, followed by the final photos of Schubie.
Here is the process of the armature with the body shape sculpted over it in wool:
I would like to introduce you to a gorgeous needle felted guinea pig called ‘Teddy’.
As you can see he has a cheeky little face and I really tried to make sure his autumnal orange fur tones ended up looking as fluffy and soft as possible just like a real guinea pig.
He is now on his way to France to live with a lovely lady who will take good care of him.
Bon Voyage little guinea pig! You were a pleasure to create and I hope you have a wonderful life at your new furever home x
His core is made of natural undyed Corriedale wool from New Zealand. His beautiful soft fur and detail on his cute piggy paws, ears and face are of soft merino wool (non-mulesed) from South Africa (Cape). His toes have been sculpted by wool wrapped delicately onto wire.
His eyes are made of wool too, so no glass or plastic.
You can see he is life-sized from the close up of me holding him in my hand.
Hope you like him 🙂
Would you like to know how to make a guinea pig? (click on the photo to get started).
Making a needle felted animal and need some help adding layers of wool to achieve a realistic long fur look? (click the photo to learn more…)
See here for a variety of tutorials, tips and ideas to suit your project
Here are some other needle felted guinea pigs for more ideas.
I absolutely adore my mum. She is always there for me and whatever I say in a card or buy for her on mother’s day would not even come close to showing her just how much she means to me.
Life has been extra challenging these last few weeks and she has lovingly sent me a text message every morning without fail full of encouraging words to inspire me and reassure me for the rest of my day.
Although I have been full of cold this week and tired I wanted to make something beautiful for her as a glimpse of my appreciation for all that she is.
I managed to create an orchid from a combination of crochet and needlefelt. 🙂 – something a bit different from my usual felted sculptures.
Real flowers often don’t last long and even orchids which can flower each year don’t always flourish. Wool flowers however will last so much longer and will still be there in years to come.
I followed and adapted a free pattern I found on line for the flowers, added a bit of felt to them and wired them to my own felted stem (with buds) and leaves.
I watched her open her package this morning on the ipad. It was a privaledge to see her smile.
May I introduce you all to my third needle felted guinea pig. I made her in loving memory of a beautiful piggie of a lady in Warrington. I completely enjoyed felting her especially as she has the cutest face and wonderful markings! She has now gone to live at her furever home and will receive lots of cuddles. She is also my first creation to have one of my new ‘Fit to be loved’ heart tags sewn on. 🙂
Here are few photos of her when she was a work in progress. If you would like more ideas on how to make a guinea pig of your own please see my photo tutorials; felting a guineapig and felting long fur.
And here she is all fluffed up and posing for the camera 🙂
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After 7 weeks I finally stepped back into my office in London today. Pneumonia and pleurisy was not at all nice to have and definitely took away my energy (even to the point of not being able to needle felt at one point! )but I managed it in. Yay!!
I have so been blessed by my parents (who looked after me for 2 weeks at theirs in Lincolnshire) as well as my friends who have made me feel very loved indeed with texts and cards and gifts ! I have also been able to rest and slow down! I am now home with my lovely hubby again and getting back to normality gradually..
Today was not just about accomplishing the commute and seeing my colleagues who I have so missed, but I have been working on a surprise secret birthday buddy gift for my CEO who celebrated her big 40 at the weekend and today she got to see her new ferret. Of course she knew it was me as she knows I needle felt but never mind. 🙂 I just loved the look on her face. I have planned this since January when I found out I was her birthday buddy!
She did at first jump with a delighted shock when she opened the wrapping as I had found a picture of her beloved pet ferret on facebook and copied the colours and pose as best I could. So worth the hours spent when I can make someone smile 🙂
I started with the head with core wool, very similar to when I made my badger, adding layers of soft merino colours on top.
Ferrets are beautiful creatures and very unique with having such a long body and neck. This one has just been asleep and woken up so is still curled up tightly but face looking at you with those adorable big eyes and twitchy nose and whiskers asking for a cuddle. I made the eyes bigger than in real life as .. well I couldn’t help myself- a bit of a fit to be loved interpretation 🙂
You can see more pictures in my facebook Ferret album, but here are a few of the finished ferret. Hope you like them xx
Do you ever feel like you just don’t have the time to needle felt? Feel envious of those amazing artists who produce several sculptures a week whilst you work hard at your full time job and dream you could be stabbing some wool but then feel too tired when you finally get home?
Well you are not alone! …I really haven’t had much time at all recently. In fact I have felt so frustrated about it and have had to remind myself that I am not in a competition but this is my hobby and my style and my time.
This month I have proved to myself that you can still take just a tiniest bit of time out to have a little stab here and there even with a full time job …and guess what ? little by little you start to make some progress and when those deep brown eyes from that newly needle felted animal are staring back at you, you soon realise you have managed to create something quite wonderful and all that effort and time passing by has been worthwhile!! 🙂
Of course seeing that end result is very satisfying but it’s time to enjoy the journey too (no matter how long it takes) !!
So, the dark eyes staring back at me? Well they would be from the little guinea pig I just finished for a very doting guinea pig lover in Warrington in memory of her precious loved guinea pig.
This sweetie pie has taken me a while but I got there in the end!…. phew…. Hope you like her.:-)
The past few weekends I have been making my latest British mammal, a mole!! He is a one of kind commission and will be going to his forever home very soon.
He has corriedale and alpaca wool for his core, then layers of velvety textured fur made from luscious chocolate merino wool mixed with brown corriedale wool. To get this effect I attached the wool in strands (see my tutorial here on needle felting long fur) but then cut it really short to give that mole fur look. I can’t help but feel how soft he is. 🙂 I chose pinks and creams for his nose, mouth and feet. He has wire in his toes and tail for that bit of pose-ability. He has tiny black felted eyes and his whiskers are made of horse hair..
I hope you like him. I gave him that ‘Fit to be loved’ cheeky smile!
Thinking of making a simple needle felted bird? not sure where to start or need some ideas of how to finish your creation with some extra detail?
Last week I had the pleasure of making a little needle felted bird for my sister as a birthday present. She asked me for a simple teal bird to go with her newly decorated room once it is finished but as soon as I started I couldn’t help but let my imagination take over.
I absolutely love my sister so I expressed this by forming heart shaped wings that have beautiful button and thread embellishments. I also tried to make his facial features come to life by giving him adorable eyes and a little tuft of wool on his head(much like a woodpecker or crested tit) 🙂
Last night I got to see my sister’s face as she opened up her parcel through the wonder of ‘facetime’ on our ipads. So pleased she likes him!! I hope you like him too..
So where did I start? As you can see I twisted some cotton felt covered pipe cleaners to make a birdie shape…
I then wrapped lengths of core wool over the structure and needle felted until I got the right shape. (Be careful not to stab the wire in the centre of the pipe cleaners by felting along the edge of the pipe cleaner only).
I then used softer merino wools for the teal and blue birdie colours – light and dark shades of teal and denim blue (the beige you see under the label is for another project coming soon).
I carefully wrapped and felted the denim blue colour wool over his legs and feet. I did the same with his beak later on. (See here for other ideas on how to felt tiny animal feet and toes).
I chose the lighter teal wool for the underneath, face, wings and flecks of colour on the tail. I used the darker teal for the back, top of head with tuft, eye stripe and tail. I felted simple eyes in black with a white dot placed to mimic where the light would reflect and added a thin strip of white around the eyes. (see how to felt animal eyes here).
I made the tail and wings separately before felting them on to the body (see here for how to add body parts). I chose some pearly flower shaped button which I sewed onto the wings and stitched a pattern along the length of each wing with a teal and a glittery white embroidery thread. I didn’t fully felt the wings to a perfect shape at this stage as I completed this once attached to the body..
Once on the body I then used the denim blue wool to emphasise the shape of the heart wings by felting around the edge..
Here is the finished little teal birdie ready to send to my sister..:-)
……and of course no creation can go to is new owner without a bit of ‘fit to be loved’ wrapping..
Don’t miss out on another post from Fit to be loved, click ‘follow’ on the right hand side of my find out more page.
Want to know how to needle felt a bunny this Easter? How about bunny ears? … need some ideas to get started?
Now before you get too excited, sorry no I haven’t made a new bunny, but what I did want to do was bring together some pictures and links to the best of my previous bunny posts into one place for you all to enjoy this Easter! as well as offer a little Easter themed inspiration…
The other day I visited Vauxhall city farm in London (which I sometimes visit on my lunch break from managing the National Bat Helpline) and took a few snaps of a rather large bunny (I think he is part Flemish Giant) but he looks like a wild bunny with all that browney-grey fur and as you can see he is well camouflaged too.
It got me thinking and I am sure you will agree that bunnies are a great sign of spring and new life at Easter and like the Vauxhall one they are extremely cute and well worth taking the time to admire. I do of course also love to eat chocolate bunnies (yum) and can’t wait to finish my Lent no chocolate diet to get my teeth into one!
So how about making a bunny this Easter?
The first time I bought some wool and attempted needle felting I ended up making this little cream bunny from corriedale wool.
Then soon after I was commissioned to make a gorgeous grey bunny for a colleague who wanted to surprise his wife for her birthday. His core is corriedale and grey and pinky fur is of merino wool.
I loved making these bunnies. Both are laying on their backs as I think this is the sweetest lovable pose and reminds me of the bunnies (Benjamin, Snuggles and Peeps) I had the privilege to care for as a child. Unfortunately I have now developed an allergy for rabbit fur so making wool rabbits mean I still get to cuddle them without sneezing profusely.:-)
To make a bunny like these yourself this Easter why not click here to try out my needle felted bunny tutorial.
….and for more detail on making those lovely long ears click here.
I gave my bunnies a carrot to hold but what about keeping with the Easter theme and placing your bunny in a basket holding some needle felted eggs like the one below ?
or Easter flowers?
You could wrap wool round wire and needle felt the wool in place to create stems and add simple flower heads like the one I made in this tutorial.
“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.
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;
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! 🙂
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 🙂
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.
firmly felt the wool into place by stabbing around the edge of the shape to keep the eye plump and not completely flat
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…
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..)
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..
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
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.
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…
Here is the finished mouse saying ‘I love you’ with it’s cute yellow felted flower…
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
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
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..
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.
take a thin length of grey wool for the top and bottom eyelid edges for each eye, these will nicely frame the eyes.
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
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
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.
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.
and add the white dot…
Yes these eyes can take a while to get just right but oh how cute do these badgers look when finished!!
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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