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A Newbie's Guide to Needle Felting a Reindeer Christmas Ornament

Updated on October 2, 2015
purl3agony profile image

As an artist and a new home owner, Donna enjoys creating unique decorative items and holiday ornaments to welcome all to her artistic abode.

handmade needle felted reindeer ornament  (c) purl3agony 2012
handmade needle felted reindeer ornament (c) purl3agony 2012

I'm always interested in trying new crafts, but I had no idea my next adventure would be needle felting.

I'll start at the beginning : this year, my knitting group decided to do a handmade ornament exchange for the holidays. Each person who wanted to participate was to make an ornament to swap. I had a number of ideas for my decoration, and settled on using scrap fabric to sew a stuffed reindeer and using wrapped copper wire and beads to create some festive antlers.

needle felting materials  (c) purl3agony 2012
needle felting materials (c) purl3agony 2012

Then...I won a needle felting kit on CraftGossip.com to make a felted pony (thanks, Denise!). Although I had never done needle felting before, I had seen demos of it. After reading the directions that came with the kit, I figured I could probably use it to sculpt a deer instead and decided to try to make a felted ornament.

starting the ornament  (c) purl3agony 2012
starting the ornament (c) purl3agony 2012

I didn't use most of the stuff that came with the kit. I only used the fiber, needle, and protective pad from it. I had already found an image of a reindeer silhouette that I was going to use for my fabric deer. I used this instead as my stencil as I modeled the basic form of the reindeer. Then I went to work.

modelling the shape of the reindeer  (c) purl3agony 2012
modelling the shape of the reindeer (c) purl3agony 2012

Regardless of how careful you are, you will poke yourself with the felting needle.

(c) purl3agony 2012
(c) purl3agony 2012

Probably many, many times. And it hurts.

adding the beaded antlers  (c) purl3agony 2012
adding the beaded antlers (c) purl3agony 2012

I added the details as I went along. Then I made one antler by coiling copper wire around itself. While coiling, I added little beads. When one antler was done, I poked the wire ends through the deer's head (it hurt me more than it hurt him) and started on the other side.

(c) purl3agony 2012
(c) purl3agony 2012

Attaching his ears helps keep his antlers up and in place. Once complete, I just needed to sew on a red nose, tie on a ribbon, and add a hanger.

(c) purl3agony 2012
(c) purl3agony 2012
(c) purl3agony 2012
(c) purl3agony 2012

This project was a lot of fun. I might just be a new convert to needle felting. And luckily, I have enough fiber left to make myself an ornament too!

(c) purl3agony 2012
(c) purl3agony 2012

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    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 3 years ago from USA

      Hi CraftytotheCore - Thanks so much! That means a lot to me, especially coming from someone as creative and talented as you! Hope you are inspired too by the upcoming holiday season! Thanks again!!

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      I would vote Amazing if there was such a choice. Brilliant! This is so beautiful. I'm so impressed with your talents purl! :D

    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 3 years ago from USA

      Hi moonlake - Thanks so much! I can't believe the holidays are almost on us again (yikes!), but it's fun to look back on past projects and get new ideas. Thanks again for commenting!

    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 3 years ago from USA

      Thanks Heather! The antlers were actually the first inspiration for this project, then I sort of figured out how I wanted to do the body. I'm so glad my plan worked out :) Thanks so much for your comments and pin!

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 3 years ago from America

      Very nice. Love the reindeer and you did such a great job explaining and the with the photos. Voted up and shared.

    • Heather Says profile image

      Heather Rode 3 years ago from Buckeye, Arizona

      This ornament is so precious. I love his antlers the most since they look like they're decorated with lit-up Christmas bulbs. I love to look at ornaments every year and the felted ones are always my favorites. I'm continually in awe of your crafty skills. Great job :) Pinned to my crafting group.

    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 4 years ago from USA

      Hi Sallybea - Even when you do kind of expect it, it hurts :) But it's fun and interesting to see the shape develop while needle-felting. I'll be doing more of it. Thanks for your comments! I appreciate it!

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 4 years ago from Norfolk

      This is really cute and you sure know it when those needles give you an unexpected jab, just when you are least expecting it, ouch!!

      Great Hub.

    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 4 years ago from USA

      Thanks, Jill! This was an unexpected project, but I really enjoyed it and plan to do more needle felting in the future. Just what I need - more crafts :)

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 4 years ago from United States

      This is the sweetest thing! How did I miss this hub before Christmas?

      You really have some talent, girl!

    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 4 years ago from USA

      Hi Natashalh - Thanks!! It was actually difficult to take pictures of the reindeer once he was finished - he kept on spinning in circles :)

      Thanks for your comments!!

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      So cute! And you have fantastic pictures, too. I've always been curious about felted critters. My cousins can make them, but I've never tried. Thanks for the tips!

    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 4 years ago from USA

      Thanks for your comment! I was kind of winging it, but I had nothing to lose :) I'm happy with the finished ornament, and it was fun.

      Thanks again!!

    • KerryAnita profile image

      KerryAnita 4 years ago from Satellite Beach, Florida

      Oh, this is so cute! I never would have thought to felt in this way:) Thanks for sharing!

    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 4 years ago from USA

      theframjak - I'm glad you like it and want to make your own:) Would love to see it! And my husband loves the red nose too.

    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 4 years ago from USA

      peachpurple - Thanks so much for your interest! I made this ornament for a gift exchange, so someone else now has it. Sorry. Have you thought of making your own?

    • theframjak profile image

      theframjak 4 years ago from East Coast

      Very cool. I need to make one of these for my tree. Love the red nose.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      So beautiful! I love yr reindeer. Can i get it from you? Would be nice on my Christmas tree... Best hub!