Needle felting is a craft that sounds way more complex than it actually is — and gets super cute results. What's not to love? With just a few basic tools and a simple tutorial, you'll be on your way to making adorably fuzzy animals, or any other felted creations you can dream up.
By the way, you don't need to be a knitter to take up needle felting. The two crafts use totally different tools and even different types of wool. But if you do already knit, think of needle felting as another fun thing you can do with wool.
In a nutshell, it's the process of transforming wool into 3D objects using a barbed needle.
When you felt wool, you're agitating the fibers so they bond together, creating a solid fabric. If you've ever felted any of your knitting projects, you're already familiar with the process — except that you probably used a washing machine with really hot water to get the fibers to bond. Needle felting mimics that process, but instead of agitating the wool with hot water, you're doing it with an extra-sharp needle.
Needle felting is typically done with a kind of wool called roving, but you can also use wool in other forms, like batting. In this how-to, we're using roving torn from a larger piece.
The needle you'll use for felting isn't a tapestry needle, nor is it a sewing needle. A felting needle has sharp, barbed blades designed to agitate the wool fibers.
You'll need a special felting surface to avoid poking your fingers, legs or other body parts. Sponges and foam pads work well for needle felting. Just make sure your surface is several inches thick, like the foam block in the image above.
Needle felting techniques vary depending on what you're making. After you start experimenting and get the hang of it, you'll figure out how to poke your felting needle into the wool to get different effects. For now, these basics will get you started. In this tutorial, we're needle felting a small ball.
If you're using roving, you can just tear a piece of it off. You don't have to cut it; the roving will pull apart on its own pretty easily.
Make sure you tuck the ends in if you can.
Start by placing the ball on top of your felting surface. Then use the needle to poke the ball, going in about ¼-inch deep every time. Poke straight up and down so that your needle goes in and out of the felt easily. Keep your fingers out of the path of the needle. Felting needles are extremely sharp!
Continue poking the ball until the fibers start to bond together and you see the felt forming. You'll probably notice that the ball has shrunk up a little.
Animals are a popular choice with needle felters, and it's no wonder why: The special felting needles create a fuzzy effect that looks like fur. But you don't have to limit yourself to stand-alone animals or other items: You can also use a flat object like a scarf as a base for your felted objects.
Or try this: Grab a pair of mittens, and needle felt butterflies, flowers or other decorations right onto the surface. (If you're planning to needle felt onto a hand-knit item, make sure the gauge is tight so you can have the best possible felting surface.) Or try needle felting onto a fabric cuff to add color, or needle felt a heart or another shape you like onto a plain sweater.
Needle felting isn't just decorative; you can also use it for mending. Does your favorite sweater have a hole in it? Use needle felting to patch it up!
What are you waiting for? Grab your roving wool and your barbed needle, let your imagination run wild, and get your felting on!
Making felt from wool fibre is a magical thing. You start with a masses of soft fluffy roving that resemble fairy floss, and through the wonderful process of felting, the fibres that once barely touched each other are bonded for life in a strong compact fabric. It’s quite the transformation.
I’ve enjoyed the craft of needle felting for many years now, but have yet to try my hand at wet felting. To be honest I’ve been a little intimidated by many aspects of wet felting, including it’s imprecise results. Unlike needle felting which lends itself to very accurate control of every fibre, if you so wish, wet felting is a bit more laissez-faire.
After visiting the wool show recently and picking up a few bags of colourful mixed roving, many of the sellers gave me project suggestions. They were so adamant that I was missing out on on the joys of wet felting, that they’ve convinced me to give it a try.
Here are 6 tutorials that I want to try, I’ll report back with my attempts next week.
This is the kid friendliest of all wet felting projects and probably an easy one to start with. Emma loves playing with my wool fibre but I’m still not comfortable letting her loose with sharp felting needles so I think we’ll have a go at making felt balls this weekend. I get eczema on my hands from too much contact with soaps, so the ladies at the wool show suggested wearing vinyl gloves to prevent skin irritation – great idea!
Get the full instructions on Curly Birds – Making Felt Balls with Kids
Once we’ve mastered our basic felt ball game, I think these felt ‘geodes’ will be fun to make. Living Crafts has a delightful story “The Rainbow Rock” which can accompany these surprise felt stones when given as a gift. I’ve seen this technique used to make giant geodes which are then sliced just like real stones and used as trivets and coasters.
Get the full instructions on Living Crafts – Rainbow Rocks
Aren’t these colourful wool covered stones just the loveliest? I imagine they have quite a nice weight to them, and they would probably make really good pattern cutting weights. The tutorial steps include needle felting in the early steps, but I think there is a big risk of breaking the needle, so I’ll see how it goes without that step. This technique can also be used to make felt covered soaps.
Get the full instructions on The Magic Onions – Felted Pebbles
One of my aversions to the process of wet felting, was just the general potential for soap and water everywhere, but this zip lock bag technique keeps the soapy water contained and is great for me with my atopic skin. It’s also perfect for young kids who can lay out a design before it goes in the bag, and then have a great time squishing it around till it’s fully felted. This smiley egg trivet is a cute example of a small project that can be made with this plastic bag technique.
Get the full instructions on Martha Stewart – Sunny Side Up Felted Egg
I think it will be a while before I advance to making a 3D object like this bowl, but hey, why not aim high. This tutorial gives very clear and thorough instructions for using a resist method to make the vessel and then shaping up the sides with the unlikeliest of tools.
Get the full instructions on Rosie Pink – How to make a Wet Felted Pod
How beautiful is this rug? Made with many layers of wool and then decorated with felted wool rope and yarn, it certainly isn’t a beginners project but it sure is inspiring. The maker takes commissions and sells a range of hand felted items, but has generously posted very detailed instructions for her process of making this rug. The instructions are in Russian but the photos are very clear. If you use Chrome as your browser, it gives you a ‘google translate’ option that does a great job at translating all but a few words into English. I may experiment with some of these techniques in a smaller project.
Get the full instructions on Livemaster – Eco-Mandela Carpet
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Felt crafts for beginners are some of the most enjoyable crafts to make. Felt is such a wonderful craft material in itself, suitable for traditional crafts for adults as well as very easy kids crafts. You can make a wealth of crafts using standard craft felt, and our easiest projects are at your fingertips.
What are the types of felt? There is craft felt, eco-friendly felt, blended wool felt, 100% wool felt, and 100% wool roving, among others! Craft felt is the go-to for kids craft projects and other inexpensive projects you'd like to create, while wool felts may be used for wearable projects, accessories, and other higher end ideas. You can learn more about the 5 Types of Felt in our handy article.
Felt is such a fantastic material to work with. It's easy, inexpensive, and you can make so many projects! It doesn't ravel out like other fiber arts, and it's so convenient to simply cut the shapes with scissors and go. If you're wondering, can you wash craft felt, yes you can, which is another reason this material is so great.
You can also felt wool that you already have on hand. Recycle materials you have on hand to create felt projects. If you're wondering how to felt wool, we have two excellent tutorials that will teach you how!
If you’ve ever seen the finished product of an elaborate needle felting project, then you’ll understand why people dedicate so much time and effort to the art! Needle felting can be fun and cartoonish or breathtakingly detailed. Before you start creating works of art, however, you have to master the basic techniques! Check out these awesome and adorable beginner’s projects that will make learning how to needle felt fun.
Making a sphere is one of the first things you’ll learn when you start felting. Maqaroon hows you how to turn your spheres into adorable animals, like chicks and koala bears!
These super cute happy strawberries are fun to make and fun to give to your friends! Get the tutorial from Real Felt.
This fuzzy baby owl looks just like the real thing! Get the simple tutorial at The Magic Onions.
Needle felting is a great craft for people who love all things kawaii! Round shapes are easy and pastel colours make them adorable. Maqaroon shows you how to make easy felted jelly fish.
Petals to Picots recommends easy tutorials for creating adorable cartoon animals like these little frogs!
This gingerbread man is the perfect project for needle felters who are still trying to master their basic techniques. Handmade Felt Toys walks you through each step!
This little star plushie by Flying Mio is a simple shape but lets you switch it up from just learning how to felt things that are round.
Did you know that you can bead your felted projects too? Crafts n’ Coffee shows you how to fancy up a basic project without making it much more difficult.
Felting these little Easter eggs lest you practice your basic techniques and learn how to add new colours and details. Check out the tutorial on Organize and Decorate Everything.
Are you looking for something a little more exciting than just a solid Easter egg? Try these simple eggs that are hollow on the inside so you can fill them with chocolate, candies, or little knitted chicks! Get the instructions on How to Run a Home Daycare.
If you’re ready to try felting something that starts in multiple pieces, check out Lil Blue Boo‘s Matryoshka doll tutorial!
Not only are these adorable kitties a great way to start attaching external pieces to your main shape, but they also make cute gifts! Check out Maqaroon‘s tutorial.
Sometimes you just need a really fun craft to lighten the pressures of learning something new! Try Flying Mio‘s hilarious fancy octopus tutorial.
Do you love the fuzzy owl pattern from earlier but wish he was a little more cartoony? Try Occupied Hands‘ blue owl tutorial instead!
There’s hardly anything cuter than a baby seal in real life, and the same goes for these adorable little felted seals! Maqaroon‘s tutorial is easy and helpful.
Do you know someone who is trying to learn needle felting but is bored of practicing their basic techniques? Share these fun projects with them so they can get excited about practicing again!
And the girl said, “Do you mean you can needle felt on like a coat or a jacket or I have been sharing a lot of needle felting projects currently on my blog, a lot of.
A super simple beginner needle felting project that makes for an excellent Halloween craft. They can be used for Halloween decor in your home or classroom.
Check out the Magic Trout Imaginarium’s Needle Felted Bloodshot Eyeball Tutorial.
This project creates a set of 3 creepy bloodshot eyeballs and can be used as a basis for understanding how to make a basic 3D sphere with wool
This is a fun and very creepy Halloween craft project that involves a bit of patience; but they look fantastic when they are done. This project uses pipecleaners or wires for legs, which can be posed to create stop motion animation videos!
Check out the Magic Trout Imaginarium’s Needle Felted Spider Tutorial
Needle felted Pumpkins or Jack O ‘lanterns are a simple and fun needle felting projects that can used be to decorate your house or classroom for Halloween! A simple pumpkin or Jack O’Lantern involves only a few steps and colors of wool roving. If you like add a face to your pumpkin project, you can use some special ‘tools’ like a bbq skewer to roll your wool around to create eyelids, lips and noses for you pumpkin or other needle felting projects. We couldn’t get around to making a tutorial for this project but we’ve added one to our Magic Trout Imaginarium Halloween Pinterest Board for you. This project takes 1 -3 hours depending on your patience and passion!
Every year, the Magic Trout Imaginarium is involved in mask making Halloween craft workshops for Halloween events around Canada. From animals to skulls to super heroes, you can create nearly any type of mask using a sheet of flat wool(from a dollarstore or fabric store) and some colored wool roving! This project takes approximately 2 hours and it easy for beginners.
(Mask created by @randomactsofmaking in the Creatures of Trout Lake workshop, )
Felted headbands and headpieces and are popular for DIY Halloween costumes and are simple to make using basic needle felting or wet felting techniques. Tips: Buy a headband as a base, then attach your felted pieces using hot glue. A headband is a good base for projects with evenly distributed weight(2 ears, or antlers, one on each side for example) whereas a fascinator or headpiece style is better for heavier projects that need a wider base or smaller projects that sit in a particular location on the head.
For more information on the techniques and costs involved, read our blog on Needle Felted Costume Masks, Headbands and Headpieces
Also check out the Magic Trout Imaginarium’sNeedle Felted Deer Antler Headband Tutorialwhich will teach you the art of needle felting and wet felting! This project takes approx 1-2 hours
This project is really fun because there is no one ‘image’ of what a monster is; a monster is different for everyone.
Check out the Magic Trout Imaginarium’s Pinterest board for more felted Monsters and Halloween craft ideas. This project is approx 1 hour.
This is a great decoration to place in your candy bowl to creepy out kids that get a bit too greedy!
You’ll need some wire or pipecleaners as an armature to felt around if you want your fingers to move! Check out the Magic Trout Imaginarium’s Pinterest board for more creepy felted Halloween decor ideas.
These Nightmare before Xmas themed skulls are based off a circular base which makes it easy for beginners less experienced in creating 3D shapes. You can use the Needle Felted Eyeball Tutorial to learn how to create a basic 3d sphere shape, then instead of added an iris and pupil, you an felt your face!This project takes about 20-30 mins and will make a great addition to your Halloween decor in your home or classroom.
This needle felted zombie brain pin cushion involves intermediate needle felting project due to patience and attention to detail. This project involves combining 3D printing and needle felting to create a felted brain that sits inside a 3D printed zombie skull. This project is a great way to combine technical skills, design and art skills in your school, library or community makerspace. Check out the Magic Trout Imaginarium’s tutorial for the 3D Printed Zombie Brain Pin Cushion
Little ghosts make great beginner Halloween projects for those who want to decorate. These projects are quite easy to create quickly, only use 2 colors of wool roving and you can really play with the shape of the body and the expressions on each of the ghosties!
Check out the Magic Trout Imaginarium’s Pinterest board for more creepy felted Halloween decor ideas.
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