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Felted Highland Cow

Felted Highland Cow

“So needle felting is something I’ve only recently got into. I saw the dinky dogs show and had to give it a go, so I bought the yellow lab kit and away I went. Although my dog looked nothing like the one on the box, I really enjoyed making it and it spurred me on to trying some of my own designs, one of which being this Highland Coo which I’m about to share with you.” - Louise Dunbar

You will need:

  • 2 poly styrene balls, 1 slightly smaller than the other (4cm and 6cm, roughly)
  • Felting needles and mat
  • Dark Beige coloured roving
  • Cream coloured roving
  • Pink coloured roving (if adding the tongue)
  • 2 pins

Time to Make: Up To 2 Hours

Skill Level: Intermediate

Step-by-step:

  1. Felted Highland Cow

    Cover the larger of the polystyrene balls with the darker beige colour roving and felt into place, add more and more roving until the ball is completely covered. The art of felting involves you adding small pieces of roving wool and stabbing into place with the felting needles, adding more as you go until you get the desired coverage. Please do be careful when stabbing the wool with the needles as these are Extremely sharp, trust me, I’ve stabbed myself a few times so know first-hand that it hurts!!

  2. Felted Highland Cow

    I like to add the features such as the nose and horns onto the face first then filling in the gaps with the darker roving, but there are no rights and wrongs to this, you can cover the smaller of the ball as you did the larger one in step 1, but I think you save a bit of wool by adding the features first then filling in the gaps afterwards. To make the nose/mouth, take a small piece of the cream coloured roving and felt into the basis nose shape, which is a kind of roundish triangle shape. Add more until you are happy with the shape and size, then felt away until it becomes more rigid. (the more you felt with the needles, the more solid the shape becomes as the fibres fuse together). Now add your nose shape onto the smaller of the 2 polystyrene balls and you’ve just created the cow’s nose. I chose to add a tongue at this stage as well, to do this, take a small piece of pink roving and felt into a tongue shape, leave a little piece of roving free at the ends to make it easier to add into place over the nose.

  3. Felted Highland Cow

    To make the horns, take a small piece of the cream roving and start felting into the basic horn shape, keep felting and turning this to give you a ‘tube’ shape, keep felting away until you’re happy with how it looks, again leave a little piece loose at the ends to add to the ball. You’ll need to make 2 horns. When you’ve made 2 horns, felt into place along the top of the smaller ball. **Fun Fact, The female Highland cow’s horns are usually neater and curl upwards on the head, whereas the Bull’s horns tend to be thicker and curl slightly forwards on the head**

  4. Felted Highland Cow

    When you’ve added the nose and horns, fill in the rest of the polystyrene ball with the darker of the 2 roving wool. Felt into place adding more as you go round until you’ve got a good coverage.

  5. Felted Highland Cow

    Now to join the head to the body, add a piece of roving wool over the head and position it where you think it should go, then needle felt into place to join. Keep adding roving and felt until the 2 balls have joined together and now look like 1 piece. The more you needle felt at this stage the more solid the join will become.

  6. Felted Highland Cow

    You’re going to need 4 legs now. Make these using the darker of the 2 roving’s and create 4 tube shapes. When you think you have the right shape and length, rub it between the palms of your hand to get the shape more solid. Try to make all 4 legs the same shape and size before felting the tops of the legs into place along the sides of the body part. Try standing your cow up, if it looks like it’s leaning to one side or more forward, needle felt the leg that looks the longest. This part is trial and error until you get it just right. Simply just keep needle felting the legs until your cow stands upright unaided. If it still requires a little support, you might want to add a small piece of crafting wire up through the legs to help balance it out and make it sturdier.

  7. Felted Highland Cow

    Highland cows are typically quite shabby looking creatures, to get this look with your Highland Cow, add some more roving to the body but instead of needle felting the whole lot in, leave some strands loose at the ends to give a more realistic look. Add some over the face as well. Now all you need to do is add the eyes. If you have some glass eyes which you would typically use for doll or teddy making then these would be ideal, but because I didn’t have any of those in my stash, I simply coloured in the ends of 2 pins black and stuck these in place. I think they did the job very well. There you have it, your own Felted Highland Cow!!! Why not give it a go today, or try your own animal design.