First, you start with wool roving (washed and carded wool fibers) or top (washed and combed wool fibers). The terms are often used interchangeably, but they are technically different. You can use either for felting, though! You can buy dyed and undyed roving or top from yarn stores (sometimes), online (etsy is always a good resource), and even chain craft stores like Michael's or Joann's. This is what it looks like:
|Supplies: Wool Roving and Cat|
As you can see here, in addition to your wool and felting needle, you also need a felting pad (either a foam one, like this, or there are some that look kind of like a brush). The felting pad lets you stab without worrying about stabbing yourself. Well, without stabbing yourself too often. You can also buy thimble-like things to protect your fingers. And I nearly forgot-you need a cat. A cat is always important for crafting, and cats seem to love fiber crafts almost as much as dangling earrings and chains! (Maybe the roving still smells like sheep to him? It doesn't smell to me!)
All needle felting sculptures start out with simple shapes. For my first project I started by rolling some black roving into a ball and felting it into an oval. All you need to do is roll the ball as tightly as you can, then stab straight into it with the needle so that the 'barbed' end part of the needle goes into the fibers. This causes the fibers from the outside of the ball to tangle with the fibers in the center of the ball. You will feel the shape getting denser and more solid as you go. Here's me working on the first step, with all of my necessary materials, including the needle:
|Step one: stab roving into ball with needle. Don't forget cat.|
OK, ok-here's a closer shot. It's the best shot I was able to get at this point, but it's still blurry, can you guess why?
|Stab, stab, stab|
|Adding stripes. Note helpful use of cat at this step of the process.|
|Stripes fully felted|
And here's my creation in it's final form! (Yeah, I'm sure by now you'd all guessed it was a bumblebee!)
|Finished bee, with wings and eyes added!|
We found this to be a fun, cozy, and relaxing craft to do!
|A relaxed cat makes a great work surface.|
Here is my second ever creation. It took longer but it's much more complex. But it just goes to show, once you've got the basics, you can make anything!
I love the science-magic aspect of felting (it's amazing to watch loose wool turn into something!) I am thinking of adding these types of things to my shop. I'm also experimenting with needle/wet felted beads! So, what do you think? Would you buy something like this? Would you like to try it yourself?