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Complete Beginner’s Guide to WIRE ARMATURE for Realistic Needle Felted Animals

Have you ever wondered when to use a wire armature? or been confused as to what size wire to use? Maybe you are wanting to know what wool and needles are best for armature making?

In this video, the Complete Beginner’s Guide to using Wire Armature for Realistic Needle Felted Animals, I show you the tools and materials I use when making a wire armature and answer these common questions and more.

This tutorial is packed full of useful tips and includes 5 demos – Bunny & Fox armatures plus tiny rodent feet (guinea pig, rat and mouse)!

Heidifeathers have kindly sponsored the video. Get a 10% discount at their International online shop at https://www.heidifeathers.com using code Felting10 (first 50 customers only – so be sure to go there as soon as you can and don’t miss out!)

They have a wonderful range of wool, wire and tools, pretty much everything you’ll need for needle felting realistic animals. I use their wire, pipe cleaners, needles, wool, pliers, felting mat and horse hair in my video and I thoroughly recommend them if you’d like to get started!

Complete Beginner’s Guide to WIRE ARMATURE for Realistic Needle Felted Animals

I hope you enjoy the video! Let me know in the comments what animal you might like to make first with a wire armature 🙂

Needle Felted Cat Head – Short Fur Tutorial

Are you needle felting a cat with short fur? or a long haired cat that has shorter furred areas?

This is part two in my series of Needle Felted Cat Head tutorials as demonstrated on a Tabby Birman sculpture!

I’ll teach you how to blend colours by layering wool and reverse felting. There’s also some planting of longer strands and trimming…

You’ll be adding short fur to the bridge of the nose, the cheeks, whisker pads, chin and around the eyes. I’ll also share my technique for whisker dots 🙂

So here is the video on needle felting short fur:

The next part (three) for needle felting long fur on your cat is here.

There will soon be a part on making and attaching the ears and one on whiskers. I’ll share the other links when they are up 🙂

Videos you may have missed

Tutorial one for Needle Felting a Cat Head Shape is here.

The time lapse version of the whole head showing footage of the amazing process from start to finish is here.

Or if you’d like to see exactly how the cat’s eyes were made purely from wool, then you can watch the tutorial here.

Needle Felted Cat Head Shape… in 10 Steps!

I’ve found that Needle felting a cat head really doesn’t need to be hard if you break it down into stages, have a plan and are patient with yourself and the process.

Following on from the time lapse video of the cat head process, this is Part One in the series of actual tutorials. Here I slow the footage down and demonstrate how I Needle Felted the ‘Cat Head Shape’ from core wool.

You are just 10 steps away from creating your own!. I hope you enjoy it!

Needle felted cat head tutorial

The next two videos in this series are available now too if you’d like to watch them:

  • Tutorial three for short fur is here.
  • Tutorial two for long fur is here.

Or if you’d like to see exactly how the cat’s eyes were made purely from wool, then you can watch the tutorial here.

There will soon be a part on making and attaching the ears and one on whiskers. I’ll share the other links when they are up 🙂

Your Ultimate Guide to The REVERSE FELTING NEEDLE

Have you ever tried a reverse felting needle?

You can use it to make fluffy fur, BUT there’s so MUCH MORE you can do with it too!

This video is your Ultimate Guide to the reverse felting needle.

In this needle felting tutorial I’ll show you what it is, what it can do. I’ll share top tips for how to get the most out of it and there may be some techniques you have never thought about!

I hope you enjoy it!

Please let me know what you might try to create with the reverse needle in the comments 🙂

The Reverse Felting Needle is a wonderful versatile tool and one of my all time favourite needles.

I get my needles from HeidiFeathers, they are brilliant in quality and all colour coded so you don’t lose track of which needle you are using! They deliver internationally and sell a variety of tools and fibres.

If you are starting out and don’t have any needles yet then it’s well worth getting a set of 30 Mixed Felting Needles – 10 Different types – Triangular, Star, Reverse & Twisted Needles https://amzn.to/3oSks9j

Or if you are looking to get individual needles then you can choose by needle type:

Reverse Felting Needles https://amzn.to/3apVPs6

Star 38G – https://amzn.to/2YC5xFe

Triangle 38G https://amzn.to/3oKvTPK

Triangle 40G https://amzn.to/2YEct4E

Twisted 38G https://amzn.to/3BuSund

Twisted 40G https://amzn.to/3aoJjsM

Other tools I use in this tutorial:

Clover Multi Needle Tool (holds 1 – 3 needles) – helps to speed up your felting: https://amzn.to/3amZ3w8

Beautifully designed rose gold coloured embroidery scissors https://amzn.to/3AtdJVp

Eyebrow brush (with bristle side and straight comb side) https://amzn.to/3hlde8F

How to Needle Felt Animal Spots – 4 Ways

How do I create spots on my needle felted animals?

Here is a video tutorial demonstrating how to needle felt animal spots in 4 ways.

If you are a beginner you might just want to know how to add quick easy simple spots to start with to get a feel for your needles and wool.

Or you might be looking at how you can add more realistic felted fur on your spotted animal.

I also show you how a reverse felting needle can be useful to pull the wool fibres from your core base through your top layer of wool to form a spot.

Whether you are an absolute beginner or a more advanced learner, I hope you find these tips helpful on your needle felting journey. My aim is to teach you how to needle felt animals that are detailed and realistic.

Here are the time stamps to help you find the sections you may be looking for:

0:00 Intro to animal spots

1:47 Adding simple spots – this is great for beginners, a quick easy spot

5:35 Reverse felted spots – using a reverse felting needle to create spots

7:44 Long Layered spots – how to felt realistic fur on your spotted animal

15:31 Parallel planted spots – for fur that stands up (medium/short fur animals

So here is the video. I hope you enjoy it 🙂

What is your favourite spotted animal? There are so many to amazing animals out there to choose from but please let me know in the comments – I’d love to know.

NEEDLE FELTING TOOLS AND WOOLS:

****** Best NEEDLES I use for quality are from Heidifeathers. They all come colour coded so you’ll never forget which needle you are working with.

It’s well worth getting a set of 30 Mixed Felting Needles – Triangular, Star, Reverse and Twisted Needles – here

Or you can choose them by needle type:

Star 38G – here

Triangle 38G – here

Triangle 40G – here

Twisted 38G – here

Twisted 40G – here

Twisted Mix – 38 & 40 gauge Twisted needles – here

Reverse / Inverted Felting Needles – here

****** NEEDLE HOLDERS ******

Clover Multi Needle Tool which holds 1 to 3 needles and really helps to speed up your felting: here

Have your 5 favourite needles in holders- 5 x Long Wooden Needle Felting Handle – keep as they are or decorate them? here

****** SCISSORS ******

Beautifully designed rose gold embroidery scissors – handy small size, sharp for cutting strands of wool for long furred animals and for trimming stray fibres –here

****** WOOL ******

Heidifeathers provides a wonderful variety of quality wools.

CARDED Wools – quick and easy to felt with Carded wool batts bundle of 4 natural wool shades; white, grey, dark brown and mid brown here

Carded wool batts, Carded Jacob Wool batts In Natural Shades here

White Corriedale Wool Slither (300g) here

‘Creature Mix’ Carded Wool Slivers HF – 6 wonderful animal shades of needle felting carded wool slivers, here

Or buy individual colours Heidifeathers Single colour Slivers, Natural sheep or alpaca wool tops – choose from a variety of animal colors and bright colours too here

Merino TOPS selection: Heidifeathers Merino Wool Tops Toy Box Mix (animal colours – 12 – total 300g) – here

PERFECT COLOUR PACKS for when you want to add fur to a particular animal – Merino Wool Tops :

Pack of 6 ‘Beautiful Browns’ here – donkey, mouse, tawny owl, mole, hare.

Pack of 6 ‘Grand greys’ here badger, koala, grey squirrel

Pack of 6 ‘Outstanding Oranges and Yellows’ here fox, red squirrel, autumn leaves, bumble bee, yellow chicks, orangutan

Pack of 6 ‘Gleeful Greens’ – here leaves, lizards and frogs, parrots

(Please see links disclaimer in the right hand panel)

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. 🙂

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. 🙂

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’s 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! 🙂

  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’s really, really important to find your own unique style. 

When looking through Google images of needle felted animals or when browsing social media it’s 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’s 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, “oh. If only I could make things quicker, I could also sell things quicker”. 

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’s 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.

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