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Needle felted guinea pig!

My good friend Emma recently turned 40 and she absolutely loves guinea pigs so it was very easy to decide what I should make her as a surprise present for her party..

So here he is … a cute bundle of guinea pig fluff!Needle felted guinea pig (38)

As usual I took a few pictures along the way to show you how I made him. With some time, some love, some wool and a barbed needle you too can make a felted guinea pig just like him!

If you haven’t tried needle felting before and would like to know what it is all about and see some basics first, feel free to jump to my ‘what is needle felting’ page first before trying the guinea pig..

Or if you don’t have the time but would love me to make one for you or as a present for a loved one, let me know what colour, fur length etc by sending me a bespoke order at my Etsy shop.

So, to get started you will need:

  • Foam pad or felting brush base (so not to stab your knees and to provide a firm base to work on)
  • Felting needles of various sizes; wider for initial shaping and finer for detail later on
  • A needle holder; this is optional but for making basic shapes it saves time to use 2 or 3 needles at the same time. I use the 3 needle holder pen by Clover.
  • Wool to felt with; I used natural corriedale wool to make the guinea pig’s core as I find it felts well and ends up nice and firm. I then used merino wool as the top coat as it’s soft and comes in some lovely animal fur colours. I buy my wools at a very good price from World of Wool.
  • Small scissors
  • Carding/dog brushes to blend wool (optional)

I hope the pictures will explain what I did at each phase so I haven’t gone into too much description for each picture. Feel free to ask me any questions if you are unsure of how to do anything.

Start with a basic egg shape by rolling tightly a nice length of the corriedale wool and then felting it into shape with medium firmness. This will become the torso.

Needle felted guinea pig (7).

Felt more at one end and use hands to carefully sculpt one end slightly narrower (to become the head end)Needle felted guinea pig (8)

Roll two equal sized pieces of woolNeedle felted guinea pig (16)Needle felted guinea pig (9)

Fold and felt them into doughnut shapesNeedle felted guinea pig (10)

Then felt them well onto the sides of the torso at the bottom end to become hind legs

Needle felted guinea pig (11)

Make sure they look even both sidesNeedle felted guinea pig (12)

Add and felt over some small tufts of wool to make the edges softer where the limbs join where neededNeedle felted guinea pig (13)

… especially around the rumpNeedle felted guinea pig (14)

Then turn over and do the same underneath for an even well blended finish.

Needle felted guinea pig (15)

Take two more pieces of wool but this timeNeedle felted guinea pig (16)

…fold to form two triangles

Needle felted guinea pig (17)

Felt onto the sides of the chest end and mould to form fore legsNeedle felted guinea pig (18)

Again check the legs are equal or you can position one slightly in front of the other to provide a more natural pose.Needle felted guinea pig (19)

Put the body to one side and roll another piece of wool and form a smaller egg shape. Felt medium firm again and then sculpt to make into a head shape. Score a nose and mouth using two needles at one time

Needle felted guinea pig (20)

The shape is fairly similar to a rabbit head shape…add any wool where needed to accentuate the jaw line and cheeksNeedle felted guinea pig (21)

Now attach the head firmly to the body. I felted a good piece of loosely felted wool to the bottom of the head first so when attaching there were lots of fibres to help attach it and this helped to form a neck.

Needle felted guinea pig (24)

Needle felted guinea pig (25)

Needle felted guinea pig (26)

You now have a guinea pig base!!

Now comes the fun (but tedious at times) of adding some wool colour in layers to give him his character.. I mixed some wool together to get the colours I liked, one part corriedale wool and two parts light chocolate brown merino wool. I used two dog brushes to blend the wool (so much cheaper than carding brushes and they work just the same!).

Needle felted guinea pig (27)

Start from the tail end (although guinea pigs don’t have tails)and work towards the head. Felt some wool in the same direction but some in other directions and with different lengths too to get a more natural look!

Needle felted guinea pig (28)

Needle felted guinea pig (29)

When you reach his head add two small doughnut shapes of coral coloured wool for his ears and felt them in well to fix to his head. I decided to give him a cream coloured face with cream tuft on top of his head but you choose whatever colour you fancy. For the head start at the very top with the fur layers and work down towards the chin.

Add more detail to the nose with the brown and a tiny bit of black for his mouth opening. To make him look like he has rummaged around in the hay felt a tiny fleck of brown under the cream fur on his muzzle . For any layers that are too long or for shaping the fur on the face, used nail scissors to carefully trim the wool.

Needle felted guinea pig (30)

(I went back and added a strip of the cream across his middle taking care to pull back the layers of brown already felted..)

Needle felted guinea pig (7)

Here you can see his eyes; brown overlaid with black and a few tiny white dots to give the illusion of light reflection.

Needle felted guinea pig (31)

You could leave him with no feet but I decided to give him some. Remember guinea pigs have 4 toes on each foot at the front and 3 at the back!

To achieve this use short lengths of pipe cleaners for his toes and wrap the coral coloured wool over each toe binding the pieces together at one end. Then wrap several layers of the wool over the end to form the ball of the foot. Wind more wool over the length of each foot and felt tightly to ensure all fibres are secure.. then felt them to the legs!!

Needle felted guinea pig (5)

Needle felted guinea pig (1)

Go over the entire surface of your guinea pig with a normal sewing needle if needed to liven up any flattened areas of fur!

Squeeeeeeeeeee!!

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial!! it was fun to make him and my friend Emma almost cried when she saw him at her party! ūüôā

Watch out for more tutorials and creations and follow my blog to receive emails of when new posts are up so you don’t miss out.

Check out my other tutorials; how to make a bunny and how to make a badger head and view other Fit to be loved felted creations at my Etsy shop.

and please do get in touch if you have any ideas of what you would like me to make next!

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Needle felted badger!

Needle felted badger!

Finally this weekend I finished needle felting my little badger!

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

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

Needle felted badger (17)Needle felted badger (8)

Needle felted badger (9)Needle felted badger (12)

Needle felted badger (11) Needle felted badger (10)    Needle felted badger (16)   Needle felted badger (15) Needle felted badger (5) Needle felted badger (4) Needle felted badger (13)Needle felted badger (6) Needle felted badger (3) Needle felted badger (2) Needle felted badger (1)   Needle felted badger (18) Needle felted badger (23)Needle felted badger (20) Needle felted badger (22) Needle felted badger (21)  Needle felted badger (19)

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

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

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

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How to needle felt a badger head; photo tutorial

How to needle felt a badger head; photo tutorial

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Add a smile!

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

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

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

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Add some dark brown with black nostril detail.

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Add some colourful mouth features.

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Form some round ears and add colour.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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