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This little wren is such a sweet project and it is the perfect introduction to needle felting. You can produce a beautiful gift or project for your home with everything you need (other than the pliers) included in the box. Before you begin you need to know that felting needles are VERY sharp. It’s a good idea to have no visual distractions such as the television; when you hit your finger with one of these needles you definitely know about it. Always stab the wool vertically down and never at an angle and your stabbing should be gentle and slow. The needles can break and if it hits the pipecleaner or wire with any force it will snap. Every time you stab the wool you force air out and the fibres become intertwined which allows you to create a solid form that you can sculpt. If you don’t stab the wool enough it will remain too full of air and puffed up. If you stab it too much it will become stiff and very difficult to push the needle through. Knowing when to stop comes with some practice, but you will soon get a feel for it.
The box contains 100%-wool for needle felting, 3 felting needles in a tube, a pipecleaner, some foam to work on, glass eyes and 2 pieces of flexible wire.
Take one piece of wire and bend it in half, use the tweezers to gently push the bend together. Working from the bent end of the wire you need to pull one end back on itself forming a 1cm fold. Continue making 4 of these bends (these will form the four ‘toes’). Next, use the pliers to twist the toes around and then twist the remaining lengths of wire together up to around 2cm’s. That will form the leg. Repeat this process on the second piece of wire so you have two feet. Bend one toe to the back and leave the three remaining one’s at the front.
Take the two wire legs and begin to twist the straight pieces together in the middle so the legs are tied together and leave the remaining pieces of straight wire out horizontally.
Now take the pipe cleaner and wrap it along the length of the body, this is a really important step, as it gives the wool something to adhere to.
Pull off a small piece of the white wool. Place the wire armature on the foam pad and place the white wool along the length of the body. Take a felting needle and (gently) begin to stab the white wool. Work slowly near the pipe cleaner to protect the needle and hold the armature at the opposite end to which you’re working to protect your fingers. As you begin to stab the wool it will also trap fibres into the foam pad, so pick your work up often to free it. Work along the full length of the body and then turn the work over and repeat on the opposite side so that you create a ‘sausage’ shape.
Raise up the tail end slightly and begin to add more white wool at the head. You are aiming to make the head and body into an egg shape, the tail will remain more flat.
When the body has become rounded you can add a thin layer of the lightest brown wool over the tummy area, and along the underside of the tail.
You can now add a thin layer of the medium brown wool over the top of the head, body and tail (leave the chest white). Try to blend in the light and medium brown where they meet, if you struggle to do this you can mix in tiny amounts of mixed fibres along the edges so you don’t have a distinct line.
Using the dark wool measure the length you want the wings to be and then use the foam board to create a flat semi-circular shape. You can do this straight onto the bird but I prefer to create them separately and then felt them onto the bird after they are created. To attach them simply hold them in place and stab along the top edge.
To create the beak you need a small amount of dark brown wool. I purposely over-felted this so that it was stiff. I created a triangle and left the wide edge un-felted so that I had fibres I could use to attach it to the bird’s face. If you want the beak to be shiny you can dip it in PVA glue and leave it to dry before attaching it to the bird’s face.
Push the eyes into place; you can create a hole first with the felting needle. When you know they are in the correct position remove them and add a little glue to the tip of the eye pin and then insert them so that they stay.
To finish off the bird take tiny piece of white wool and felt them in to the wings and tail to create spots, giving the bird a more realistic look.