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Needle Felting: Beginners Guide to Needle Felting

Updated on September 11, 2019
tony55 profile image

This author loves to research and write about traditional cultures.


Penguin-Needle-Felting | Source

What is felt?

The question is what is felt. Felt is a textile material produced from pressed fibers via a condensing or mating process. One of the oldest known textile is felt from wool.

The traditional textile was developed by nomadic people as textile or decorative art in ancient times. Felt is now produced from acrylonitrile or petroleum-synthetic fibers. Other natural fibers used in the production are wool pulp, animal fur, rayon or wool.

Felt Material

  • Acrylonitrile
  • petroleum-synthetic fibers
  • wool pulp
  • animal fur
  • rayon
  • wool


Needle felt is used in 3D sculpture such as small animal figurines. Industrial applications are found in home construction, automobile industry, small arms, and musical instruments. Other uses are found in framed painting, dolls, boot liners, robes.

Uses of felt

  • 3D sculptures
  • small animal figurines
  • Industrial applications
  • home construction
  • automobile industry
  • small arms
  • musical instruments
  • framed painting
  • dolls
  • boot liners
  • robes

Wool Acorns Mustard Teal

felted wool acorns mustard teal brown earthy natural colors
felted wool acorns mustard teal brown earthy natural colors | Source

Manufacturing process

There are three manufacturing process used in felt production. We have the carroting process, wet felting and needle felting. Needle felting is used to produce felted object through water application.

Special notched needles are used to crate jewelry pieces, 3 D sculpture. Wet felting uses hot water in a layered technique and compression to agitate the fibers to bond together. While carroting uses dilute solution of mercury compound mercuric nitrate.

  • Wet felting
  • Carroting
  • Needle felting

Needle felting animals

To create lifelike needle felt animal sculptures requires stabbing wool fiber consistently. The person uses a sharp barbed needle using motion knots to mold the sculpture.

The first step requires the forming of a simple wire armature. Make sure the wire armature is a skeletal representation of the animal. The person works the wool over and over the wire to form a realistic sculpture of the animal. To make the eyes realistic use marbles or glass eyes.

Steps 1 form a simple wire armature

Step 2 work the wool on the wire

Step 3 add details like claws, eyes

Needle Felted Owl-Begginers Guide

Needle felting wool types

Wool is the most common fabric used for felting. There are different wools used for felting. They are readily available online or in local stores. Felt wool material in different stages are roving and raw fleece.

Batts are chucky sheets of fabric perfect for core shapes. The raw fleece is acquired straight from the sheep while tops are long straight fibers. Other fibers are alpaca, manx loaghtan, Shetland and Jacob. More include Hardwick, corriedale, blue faced Leicester and merino

Felt fibers

  • Wool
  • Roving
  • raw fleece
  • batts.
  • Batts
  • More fibers
  • Alpaca
  • Manx
  • Loaghtan
  • Shetland
  • Jacob
  • Hardwick
  • Corriedale
  • blue faced Leicester
  • merino

Needle felting pictures

To needle felt a painting you need a few supplies. Purchase pieces of pre-felt, a pencil, marker pen, needle felting needles. Others are handles, fibers and wool tops.

The first step is to trace an illustration or draw out the design. Then use a barbed needle and wool tops to outline dark areas in a repetitive poking action. This will secure the tuft into place.

Color in large areas lightly, stretch and dense pack wool. Use darker shades to present depth and use layered colors for background. The last step is to study the picture and add contrast.

Step 1 Trace an illustration or draw out the design

Step 2 use barbed needle to outline dark areas

Step 3 Color in large areas

Step 4 dense pack wool

Step 5 Use darker shades to present depth

Step 6 use layered colors for background

Step 7 add contrast

Needle Felting Kit

You need an assortment of kit to start needle felting. Tools you need are thimble, tweezers, pliers, plastic nose. Others are awl, scissors. Silver bell, wool felt mold, plastic eyes. More include dust plug, storage box, wooden felt handle, metal marking ring. You need a felt foam pad, clear glue stick, wool roving, T-shaped needle and phone Lanyard.

Felting Kit

  1. thimble
  2. tweezers
  3. pliers
  4. plastic nose
  5. awl
  6. scissors
  7. silver bell
  8. wool felt mold
  9. plastic eyes

10. dust plug

11. storage box

12. wooden felt handle

13. metal marking ring

14. felt foam pad

15. clear glue stick

16. wool roving

17. T-shaped needle

18. phone Lanyard

© 2019 femi


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