If you want to start needle felting and create adorable animals or other sculptures, accessories, and more, you just need a few tools.
First you need your needles. Get at least two different types, one for finer work and one for the initial sculpting. They do break, so get a couple of each. You can start with basic needles from your local craft store, but I prefer the Wizpick line of needles for versatility.
These needles are very, very sharp so be careful! I use thimbles so I don’t keep stabbing myself. Stabbing is common although it lessens with practice.
Next you need a foam block. I use a standard upholstery foam found at a craft store. Only felt on the foam to protect yourself and your needles. Also, keep your eyes on what you’re doing!
Now you need your wool! The kind of wool is called roving — it’s not spun like yarn. There are many different types of animals that can produce wool and each has a different feel and set of felting properties. It’s not always easy to find roving but you can check out local sheep farms and specialty knitting stores. Hopefully you’ll find a wide selection of colours!
You can, and should, find a cheaper white wool like batting to use for the core of your project and then add colours onto that. Plain white batting will often be less processed and as a result have a little bit of vegetation in it from the animal. You can just pick that out! Some people have even used synthetic fibres for the core, like polyester batting. It does work but doesn’t have the softness of natural wool — it’s almost crunchy.
Here is an example of the core form of a giraffe I’m currently sculpting. Needle felting is a simple matter of poking the wool over and over again with your needle. It’s very intuitive! I’ve worked with clay and I find felting even easier, as you can start to see shapes form faster like when you’re watching clouds — the fluffy wool forms into shapes almost by itself. You can start with a ball or some other shape to get the hang of it.
With needle felting, the possibilities are as endless as your imagination. Give it a try!
You can see more of my finished work on my Etsy shop here.