★ Needle Felting & Wet Felting Instructions | Beginner's Tutorials On How To Felt Wool By Hand ★
Felt Making Techniques & Creative Project Ideas
If you would like to learn how to hand-felt wool roving into a variety of lovely objects and decorations, you've come to the right place!
Below you will find beginner's guides to needle felting, wet felting and machine felting, plus easy projects you can try straight away. You can then progress onto more challenging tutorial and design your own creations.
Felting is a fun technique and can be used to embellish soft knit bags and clothes as well as crafting 2D art images and 3D dolls and ornaments. It's a very versatile method of making charming small-scale objects.
I hope this page inspires you to give this great craft a go :-)
A Brief Intro
The Different Felting Techniques Available
Felting involves matting wool fibers together into a more tough and durable material called felt. As you are felting, you can manipulate the wool into lots of different shapes and designs.
Hand felting is either wet or dry:
- Dry felting is where the wool fibers are tangles/matted together using a special barbed felting needle (called 'needle felting'), and you have a lot of control over the final shape and more detailed designs can be made this way. Needle felting can produce 3D shapes or 2D art.
- Wet felting is where the wool is manipulated whilst in hot soapy water, and is a popular way of making simple shapes like felt balls, or flat pieces from which you make other items like toys, coasters, decorations etc.
Wet felting can also be done in a washing machine to save time, although you can't guide the shape of the felt this way unless the wool put into the machine is pre-knitted into a shape. If you can knit, you can turn your knitted bags, purses etc into felt using a washing machine. A popular way of creating flat felt pieces is to put wool sweaters into the machine at high temperature, then cut up the sweaters into workable pieces which you can sew together into whatever item you like.
RESISTS: These are flat shapes cut out of a non-porous and flexible material. Examples include corrugated cardboard (which is flexible when wet), plastic sheet (e.g. tarp, bubble wrap, laminate flooring underlay) and rubber (or even something porous like foam - wrapped in plastic bags to make it non-porous.)
Resists are used to create a hollow object such as a bag, pod/vessel, boot/slipper etc. The flexible cut-out is used to help the wool keep it's shape whilst you are wet felting the roving around it, and it also means you don't need seams in the felt. After felting, shrinkage will mean that the resist doesn't really fit inside anymore, so it is cut out. This means that most resists can be reused.
NUNO FELTING is a form of wet felting from Japan. What makes it different is that the wool fibers are felted onto a fabric which is usually sheer and light such as silk gauze, organza or cotton voile. Nuno felting is used for fine clothing as well as accessories like scarves. The fabric backing means that it won't stretch out of shape. The resulting felted item is lightweight, has a nice drape and is easy to manipulate, rather than the regular traditional felt which is usually bulky.
Both the fabric and the wool will be on display in the final piece, and you could also add embellishments of beads, sequins or embroidery.
REMEMBER: Felting creates shrinkage so if you start with a 24" square for example, it will shrink by about 20% to a 20" square.
And to make this 20" square of felt you would need 5-6 oz. (140-170g) of pure wool roving.
Felted Ball Bunting
Best Felting Books - Full Of Creative Projects
Learn how to felt 16 adorable animals from wool - including dogs, cats, a fox, birds and sheep.
Ideal for beginners to felting, this spiral-bound book covers a wide variety of techniques including how to felt knitted and crocheted items. 35 tutorials are included and range from easy to difficult.
This 5-star rated book goes into great detail about wet felting to produce your own fabrics, as well as providing instructions for turning this felt fabric into a variety of beautiful objects including bags and curtains. A must-have for any textile artists or keen crafters.
20 needle felting DIYs showing you how to sculpt a range of animals and people, including ideas for how to use your creations in home decorations such as mobiles.
Beginner's Guides & Technique How-Tos
- Needle Felting for Beginners
A good starter guide to creating flat felt shapes.
- Wet Felting for Beginners
Easy to follow tutorial about creating 2D felt pieces.
- How to Felt Sweater 1
With lots of useful info on what sweaters work best.
- How to Felt Sweater 2
With tips on cutting the sweater up before felting to eliminate kinks.
- Needle Felting Tool
A review of a tool you can buy for needle felting.
- Felting With Kids
How to wet felt patterned felt inside a plastic bag.
- How to Choose a Felting Needle
What to look for in terms of gauge, barb number and more.
- Resist Felting
What is a resist? Plus check out the other tutorials - on nuno felting for example.
- Wet Felting With a Resist
Making a bag with a plastic resist.
- Nuno Felting
Photos showing the process of joining fibers to a piece of thin fabric.
Needlefelt Dog Portrait
Easy Things to Make - Using Needle Felting Techniques
- Needle Felted Acorns
Lovely items you can display in a bowl, on a dinner table or make into ornaments.
- Halloween Ghosts
Perfect for making spooky ornaments.
- Pansy Flower
Pretty design, good for learning how to add different colors.
Cute shape which can be used on it's own or in a larger scene.
- Sausage Dog
Animated gifs help you make this little dog.
- Gnome Ornaments
Lovely gnome designs in a simple cyclindrical shape.
- Cat With Heart Collar
Sweet animal tutorial, plus a dog design too.
- Felted Buttons
Lovely soft buttons to embellish your knitwear.
- Angry Birds
Fun felted birds based on the popular game.
- Strawberry Pincushion
Needle felt these cute and useable strawberries.
Felted Duck Pond
Easy Things to Make - Using Wet Felting Techniques
- Felt Ball Display
Trendy and stylish vase display.
- Cookie Cutter Ornaments
Felt the wool into shape by using cookie cutters as outlines.
- Felted Pebbles
You can make them in a whole rainbow of colors.
- Felted Soaps
Perfect for personalizing and giving as gifts.
- Nesting Bowls
Using knitting and machine felting.
- Felted Finger Puppets
Fun makes for kids to play with too.
- Nuno Felt Scarf
Roll your scarf with a bamboo mat to felt it well.
- Mini Ninja
Good beginner's idea for a hanging ornament.
- Using a Foam Hat Block
Wet felt wool fibers onto a shaped block.
Embroidered Fiber Art
More Tutorials & Ideas - Creative Things You Can Make Using Felting
- Felt Crafts
A few pages of fun things you can make from felt.
- Felted Sweater Ideas
Browse through for the felted sweater how-tos.
- Little Gnome People
Click the 3 links at the bottom of these instructions for the other tutorial parts.
- Using a Wire Armature
Needle felting booklet about adding wool around a wire base.
- Adding Details to a Face
How to add eyes, fangs and hair details to a goblin.
- Shibori Felting
How to create a bobble effect in your felt pieces.
- Felt Ball Mat
String felt balls together for large or small rugs.
- Monarch Butterfly
I love the way this is framed.
- Knitted Sailing Boats
If you can't knit, make these out of your own handmade wet felted pieces.
Brilliant Project How-Tos - More Things For Your 'To-Do' List
Make a pipe cleaner body to build the wool up on.
- Mini Racoon
Needle felted over a wire armature.
- Felted/Fulled Hat
How to shape your hat after knitting and felting.
- Piggy Ears
With a little help from your kitchen tools.
- Knitted House Slippers
If you can knit, make these felted Norwegian slippers.
- Shaped Felt Slippers
Wet felt slippers made using a resist.
- 3D Tropical Bird
Using a resist, stuffing and wire legs.
- Wet Felted Pod
Pretty and practical vessel.
- Mushroom Terrarium
Whimsical display for your table or mantelpiece.
- Needle Heart Garland
I like the way different shades of wool have been used.
How to Make Felt Balls
This is a popular and relatively quick way to wet-felt wool roving into ball shapes:
What You Will Need:
* Cheap nylons/stockings/pantyhose/sheer tights
* 100% wool roving
* Washing machine and gentle detergent
* Twisty ties, thread or yarn (optional)
- Take your pantyhose/stockings and cut them so that you are just left with the 'legs' i.e. tube shapes with open ends.
- Tear the wool roving into thin strips and spread out the fibers a little. Don't cut the roving with scissors; only pull the fibers apart with your hands.
- Take pieces of the roving and wrap them into a ball shape, winding more and more roving around the ball until it's the size and shape you want. Make sure you randomly orient the fibers so they aren't all going in the same direction around the ball shape (because this would mean they won't mesh together properly).
- Make as many balls as you want. Remember that you should make each ball 1/3 larger than you want the final product to be, because the roving will shrink when it's felted.
* You can add strips of differently colored roving to the outside of the balls if you want different patterns rather than having plain felt balls. However, if you would like to add more detailed patterns and designs onto the balls you are best making them with needle felting rather than wet felting methods.
- Tie a knot at one end of the stocking tubes.
- Put one roving ball into the tube, then tie a knot in the stocking to trap the roving tightly in place. If you have yarn, twisty ties or thread, using these to tie around the stocking rather than using a knot might make it easier to be accurate.
- Repeat this along the length of the stocking; inserting a roving ball, making a knot, inserting a roving ball, making a knot etc. until you can reached the end of the stocking.
- Make sure that the knots are tight and the roving is all in neat ball shapes inside.
- Put the stockings into the washing machine on the hottest setting, with detergent. Next, use a rinse cycle and then a spin cycle to remove all of the detergent and then remove some of the water.
- Whilst the stockings are still damp, carefully cut the balls out of stockings and roll each one between your palms to make sure they are nice and round. If you want, you can rolls the balls into slightly different shapes at this point; making them more conical or more like oval shapes.
* If you take the first felt ball out and realize it hasn't felted, tie it up again and re-do the wash cycle.
- Leave to dry overnight.
- You can embellish felt balls with embroidery stitches, sewn on beads, glued on sequins, other felt shapes, needle felting onto the outside etc. It's totally up to you!
Further Fun Things to Make - From Pumpkins to Elves!
- A Collection of Tutorials
Instructions for pumpkins, leaves, bracelets, ghosts and more.
- How to Make Felted Soap
A casing of felt means you have a washcloth and soap all in one item.
- Icelandic Elves
Using a Styrofoam ball for the bulk of the body saves wool.
- Autumn Tree Project
Wet felt an Autumn scene to make a pretty wall hanging.
- Felted Lanterns
Spherical lanterns made by molding roving around a balloon.
- Needle-Felted Polar Bear
Using pipe cleaners as a base.
Merino Wool Vessel
Felting DIYs - Make Your Own Little Felt Treasures
- Seamless Handbag
Use a resist to make a handy bag.
- Needlefelted Terrarium
Adorable scene within a glass jar.
- Pomegranate Vessel
Adorable storage pod for jewellery or other small objects.
- Sheep Pincushion
With a curly wool covering.
- Making Felt Food
Tips for felting fruit and veg.
- Squirrel Brooch
Needle felt a cute accessory.
- Felted Pear
Make your own fruit for cozy décor.
- Christmas Baubles
How to make beautiful wool covered ornaments for your Xmas tree.
Felted Birds Sweater
Inspiration, Photo Galleries & Blogs
- Needle Felting on Flickr
Photo gallery of fantastic needle felted creations.
- Wet Felting on Flickr
Creative and artistic examples of wet felted products.
- Felted Google Images
Browse photos to get your imagination going.
- Felted Masks
These needle felted masks must have taken ages!
- Living Felt
Featuring the best felted designs from around the world.
- Pebble Rug
Brilliant idea to recreate the look of natural pebbles.
- Needle Felted Presidents
You could use this idea to replicate anyone from family to pop stars.
- Fun Pincushion Idea
Using needle felted wool and a cheese grater.
- Under The Sea Mobile
Adorable needle felted hanging mobile with a sea theme.