Monday, February 15, 2010

Felting Tutorial!

Okay, I am going to attempt a basic felting tutorial.  I have only made a couple things and I am still learning, but I think this would give you a basic idea to try it if you are interested.  There are a lot of good books out there right now on needlefelting.  These are the steps I took on the dogs I have made so far:  First I took two pipecleaners and made an armature of the dog's body.  Next I located all my supplies:  a thick foam block to poke the needle into, a felting needle, wool roving and 2 tiny black beads I used for eyes.  Here you can see the foam block, the needle and the armature.

My next step is to wrap a strip of wool roving around one of the legs of the armature- you can see that in the background picture above.  Here is the same leg with a strip of roving above it- this is how it looks when you pull it out of the package.  

After wrapping the leg with the roving- just a tad bit loosely, I take the needle and start to jab.  The needle is extremely sharp, so you need to pay attention while you jab.  The book I was using also stresses that you need to jab straight up and down to avoid stressing and breaking the needle.  As you jab the leg will start to condense and take shape.  I flip the leg around occasionally so that I am jabbing all sides and I try to jab more where I want the leg to thin down and jab less in the areas I want to stay fuller.  I add the legs one at a time until all four legs are felted, and then I use the same process on the trunk of the dog.  I wrap a big piece of roving around the dog's trunk and then start to jab it into shape.  I try to pull and combine the trunk's roving in with the legs so that the body and legs become one.  I look at a picture of a dog while I am doing this to get an idea of the form and where there would be indentations for muscles.  If the form is not right it is pretty easy to add more wool and keep forming, but it is not as easy to take away wool once it has been felted. 

When I am done I have the basic felted shape of my dog's body.  Now we need a head....I take a larger strip of wool felting and shape it into a loose ball of wool  I jab at the wool to condense the head a bit, and then once again I jab more where I want the dog's head to indent a bit- like to form a muzzle.

When the shape of the head looks good to you it's time to add ears.  You can make long and droopy, perky, tiny, large- up to you.  I choose to have perky ears so I took a small piece of roving and folded it over to form an ear shape.  It is easier to attach this to the head if you leave a wisp of roving coming out from the ear.  Keep jabbing the ear, flipping back and forth until you have a shape and density of felting that you like.  Position the ear on your head and start to anchor the ear in place by jabbing the loose roving into the head first, and then jabbing a bit at the other side of the ear, so that both sides of the ear are felted into the head.  Now I position the head onto the body, pulling a bit to loosen the fibers at the base of the head and the place I will anchor it to on the body.  Carefully lie your dog on it's side and jab lightly through the base of the head and into the body.  I use lots and lots of light jabs that don't actually even leave the dog body at this stage because I don't want to create a dog with a noticeable indent at his neck.  I do jab lightly for quite awhile though to ensure a good felted connection.  I kind of tug lightly at the head every so often to see how it is sticking. 

For the nose of the dog I took just a tiny little wisp of black wool and jabbed it right into the dog's muzzle.  I glued two tiny black beads in for his eyes.  Every dog needs a tail, so I took a strip of roving and twisted it a bit-still leaving a wisp at the end.  Then I started jabbing until I had a long skinny tail.  I added this to the body the same way as the ears- and now we have a new dog!!!


Here is a picture of the new dog with Rose in the dollhouse so you have a better idea of how they look in 1/12 scale.  I still need to work on it, but practicing making these little guys is really fun, so back to the drawing board I go.   Hope my tutorial made sense and if anyone has all the supplies but has been scared to try (like me) I say "go for it!"  It is really fun!


.... x hel x .... said...

Wow Kim, this is a really good tutorial. It's difficult to find how to's like this on the more complicated subjects. I have always wondered how that was done and thought it would be long winded and difficult but you make it sound easy!


x hel x

Kim said...

Thanks Hel- that's really sweet because I was worried people would read this and think- what???!! Have a great day!!!

De said...

Great tutorial, Kim. You make it sound so easy. And I love your new dog and would love to adopt him. :-)

Dlsarmywife said...

Kim, your little puppy is just adorable! And he looks just wonderful in your room. =D

beyondbaffled said...

I can't believe you take those materials and turn them into that dog!!! I don't know if I'd be any good at this Kim, but I love the tutorial anyway.
I got your post and I'm so glad that you liked your card. I was proud of it myself and even more now that you said you're going to hang it on your inspiration board! I need to make one of those as well - great idea :)

Julia said...

Thank you so much for doing this tutorial. I hope that means your shoulder is considerably better! Your little dog is soooooo cute. I can't believe you made him so tiny!!! Of course, I would love to adopt him. Since I have a 19 year old cat who is rather persnickity I can't have a real dog.

kibbygirl said...

Oh my goodness Kim, what a great dog! You do make it sound easy and yours turned out amazing. I haven't worked up the nerve to try something like that yet.

Zlatica said...

Perfect dog & great tutorial! Thank you!

Jill said...

Thanks for the tutorial- I've always wondered how the whole felting thing is done. Your dog turned out adorable!

Papillon Bleu said...

f course I would love to adopt your little puppy!

I loved your tutorial.
I have to confess that I was dreading the sight of a drop of blood if the needle went in your finger. Silly me...I think I have to admit it: I am scared of needles.

Big hugs my dear KIM!

sunshine said...

Great tutorial! You did a wonderful job. Even had me thinking I could make one. Until I shook my head and remembered that I'm talentless.

There had better be a Cheech coming to Miss Gabriella. :P


Dani said...

I love it ,i love it,i love it ;)...xxxx Dani

Wendy Luane Barber said...

Oh wow! I love your pooch. He's cute and I love how he fits in with your little lady. I'll be following you now to see what else you do. Finally came up for air making skulls. Have a great day!

A Creative Dream... said...

Oh my goodness Kim... that's GREAT! and you make it look so simple... thanks for the tute!!!

Eileen Bergen said...

He's adorable!

I admit I had to skip ahead and look at the finished product in order to grasp the step-by-step photos.

Wow, that takes a lot of patience and a clear vision. Great job!

Connie Eyberg Originals said...

I'm a little late finding this, but this is a great tutorial. Thank you so much!

Take care,