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If you haven’t heard of it before, needle felting is the increasingly popular craft that uses specially designed barbed needles to matt, condense and knit wool and synthetic fibres together, to create interesting 3D shapes and models. We’ve collected some fun and easy projects to start your needle felting journey, with handy tutorials, tips and kits containing everything you need. Even if you’re not a beginner, you’re guaranteed to love these adorable makes. Just remember to be careful with your fingers, and wear faux leather finger covers or sewing thimbles – stabbing yourself with a needle is not fun!
If you’re a beginner, you can get the hang of the needle felting process by making some simple shapes using a small cookie cutter and a starter kit, such as the EasyKit Needle Felting Starter Set. Simply put one colour of wool roving into the cutter and stab into it with the needle felting tool. It’ll start to become solid and mould into the shape of the cutter. You can also practice mixing colours using this process, and figure out the colour combinations you like best.
Once you’ve mastered using cookie cutters to felt shapes, why not take the next step and make something using a drawn template? Our quick and easy tutorial here teaches you how to use a template drawn on water-soluble paper, which then acts as a base to felt onto. Just make sure that you don’t use regular paper or card for the template, as the hard surface could break your thin needles. Plus, since the flowers are such simple shapes, you can get creative with gradient colours and vein patterns – have a go at making your favourite flower!
Unsurprisingly, animals are a popular choice with needle felters – the felting process turns the wool roving into a fuzzy surface that looks like fur or feathers. The Crafty Kit Company’s Red Robin Needle Felting Kit is the perfect 3D animal project for beginner needle felters, as the plump robin shape is a simple one to build up. This project’s perfect for the season, too! Have a go yourself, following contributor Sarah Jackman-Read’s handy tutorial here, and enjoy the adorable results.
Since needle felting uses thin fibres and isn’t as precise as other crafts, each creation is wonderfully unique. That makes patterned critters like the beautifully speckled Jenny wren from The Crafty Kit Company Jenny Wren Needle Felting Kit great fun to needle felt as you can get creative with the pattern, and any mistakes just add to the character. Much like with the robin, the Jenny wren’s body is simple to shape, allowing you to focus on the lovely mixture of browns and cute white spots. Try it yourself with our handy guide here.
For a project that you can really get creative with the colours on, why not try a vibrant parrot? You can model your own, using references of macaws off of the internet, or use a kit like The Crafty Kit Company Rainbow Lorikeet Parrot Needle Felting Kit. It has everything you need to make your very own bird of paradise. For more definition, you could even needle felt separate feathers then attach them onto the bird’s body individually.
Thanks to the wires and pipe cleaners inside needle felting kits, you can easily create critters in interesting and cute poses, like the sleepy fox in The Crafty Kit Company’s Sleepy Fox Needle Felting Kit. Contributor Helen Kirkham has put together a useful tutorial for you to follow here, and shares her top tips for needle felting: “Take your time on each step, learning how to stab and turn the project evenly all the way around. Plus, when stabbing the wool, be careful with the needle… it’s sharp!”
Although it’s fun modelling needle felt critters off of real-life cuties, your makes could also be something more original – after all, how sweet is The Crafty Kit Company Fleur The Unicorn Needle Felting Kit? It has all the tools and materials you need to create a pretty rainbow-maned unicorn head, and even includes a piece of wood and faux leather string so you can hang it on the wall if desired. Since Fleur’s head is an intricate shape, take your time building it up – it’s easier to add more wool roving than it is to remove it.