Quick Guide to Needle Felting 3D Shapes
Further to my recent live tutorial showing how to needle felt 3D shapes - here's a quick guide (with reference to that video) - which is still available to watch on Youtube right HERE!
SO first things first - what equipment am I using?
Well - more or less the contents of our Starter Needle Felting Kit actually (as above) - but with a few added extras. If you don't want to buy components separately - this is a great starter kit that I recommend! :-) Or you could try one of our other specific needle felting kits (penguin, bird, cat, dog etc. - also safe in the knowledge that they come with instructions too! :-)
So when I did the demo - I used:
- 38g gauge Felting Needles
- 36g Triangular Felting Needles
- Merino Wool Tops in various colours (according to project)
- Foam (to work on to)
- Angelina Fibres (glitter fibres)
We sell 2 different sorts of felting needles :
1) 38g star profile felting needles - which are my 'go to' all rounders and I pretty much use for everything! These are the ones that come inside all of our kits.
2) 36g triangular felting needles - which are courser, larger and are good to use at the beginning when sculptping a shape and trying to get it to come together. These larger needles make more of a difference, but are very unrefined. They are sometimes useful though, if your shape won't come together and you need some sticking power! :-)
NB: When using felting needles remember they are EXTREMELY sharp and should not be left near children. Take care to keep your fingers well away when stabbing in and out of the wool. And always stab GENTLY to prevent them snapping!
We also sell a multi needle tool (this comes with our starter kit) which is great for stabbing 4 needles at once and if you're making a larger piece, or need to get something done quickly, it can be time saving once you reach a certain point in your make, but don't use it right at the beginning.
One of THE most important things about needle felting 3D shapes is the way you 'wrap up' the merino wool tops you're working with. It's IMPERATIVE to get as much of the 'air' out of it as possible when you are creating a little shape. I don't use a different core wool, or anything inside, - I simply needle felt the merino wool tops into the shape I need...
For a fish shape, roll up from one end, but keep the bulk of the wool in the middle, so when you roll you end up with tapered ends, and a bigger 'belly' in the middle.
The more air you can get out of the shape before you start, the less work you have to do, and the more regular your shape will remain. It will tend to distort more and be more difficult to control and make, if it's full of air and very 'puffy' so it's worth a few tries when you fold up your wool, in order to achieve the best outcome! :-)
It's tempting to move on as soon as you can and start adding decorations and details - but it's VITAL to keep needling and refining the core shape until it's FIRM before you start to do this. If you add designs to it too soon, you run the risk of 'indenting' the shape as it still has a tendency to indent until all of the air has been removed.
Once the shape is firm, start to add stripes, spots, eyes - and so on. Use small amounts of wool tops and build designs up gradually. Remember the wool tops will only 'stay' where you stab. It will sometimes seem to 'disappear' into the shape the more you stab. If this happens just add more wool. You can also pull off any bits you don't like too which is jolly handy! :-)
To needle felt a bird shape, you can roll up the wool in a similar way to the fish, but fold the wool over on one side to form a head AND a belly, letting it taper on the other side to form a tail. Once you have gotten to this point you can needle into the 'back' of the bird to help achieve the shape...
Sometimes it's necessary to add on other pieces of wool to help achieve the shape you're after. Think of this being a little bit like adding pieces of clay onto a sculpture. As you can see - another piece of wool is added onto the belly of the bird to help achieve the shape.
Apart from needle felting just wool, you can also successfully needle felt angelina fibres too! Either on it's own or in combination with the wool. Adds a fabulous little bit of sparkle and we sell it in LOTS of colours!
We also sell a kit called "Fiesta Fandangle" which is a mix of wet felting felt balls but then adding the needle felted decorations on top. It's a great kit to try out both techniques and it's simple and fun! :-)
(You could also use these balls for a necklace or a light pull once they're made if you don't fancy a giant bangle!)
Just before I go - here's a little needle felted sardine that I made! :-) He's SO CUTE! And everyone loves him! I might do a little tutorial on the sardine soon hopefully. x
And here are some of the made up samples for some of the Needle Felting Kits that we sell. All come with instructions! Click here to see more...if you'd like to have a go! It's great fun and helps you learn the technique so you can then go off and do your own thing and your make your own designs with other colours etc. ENJOY! :-) x