Needle Felting crafternoon with Emily!
Recently I taught my friend Emily how to needle felt. She got right down to business sculpting an eyeball. (Of course! Why not?) I made an onigiri. In my mind, all of my favorite snacks must be immortalized in wool. We are not strange at all.
Then, during the days following our crafternoon, something awesome happened ...
Will with his Dad, Brent, playing with his felt-bot.
Want to give needle felting a try? All you need is some wool roving, a felting needle, and a felting mat (or I use a fabric foam block). All of these materials can be found at the Craft store.
To make a felt ball, pull off a large amount of roving and gather it into a loose ball. (Your ball will shrink considerably during the felting process.) Place this on your mat, and poke the fibers all over with your felting needle, shaping the ball with your fingers as you work. Continue this way until you have a dense, firm sphere. The barbs on the needle catch the fibers as you pull away, weaving tiny intricate knots and tangles on and beneath the surface of your felted shape. The more you stab, the more dense your shape will become and the longer it will hold up to wear and tear, so keep this in mind if you are creating toys for children. Once you're satisfied with the shape of your ball, you can add patterns or faces by tacking small tufts of different colored fibers onto the ball with your needle.
Other shapes can be made in this same way. Just manipulate the fibers until you've formed the shape of your choice. To make cylinders, simply roll a flattened sheet of roving into a log, and then use your needle to secure the fibers into a firm shape. Cookie cutters are great guides for creating different shapes. Pack a handful of roving into your cookie cutter, and use the needle to shape the wool into one piece. Felt fabric can also be attached with a needle - I've demonstrated this technique in this blog post (complete with a very rare, very dorky, video tutorial starring myself).
Felting is a unique craft, and sometimes it's easier to watch someone do it to understand how it works. I actually learned how to do this by watching YouTube tutorials. Here are a few helpful guides:
Needle Felting basics (YouTube tutorial)
Needle felting techniques
How to make a needle felted penguin (photo slide show)
P.S. Emily has lots of interesting, funny, and insightful things to say about being a mom. You can read all about it on her blog.