Needle felting is a fun, simple craft, but many beginners are intimidated in the beginning. Though it uses different tools and a different type of wool than knitting, needle felting employs a similar process and can be used to make some adorable creations.
In the simplest of terms, needle felting is a process that uses a sharp needle to turn wool roving into three-dimensional objects.
Many knitters are familiar with felting. Using a washing machine, wool is agitated to make it stick together, which creates a solid fabric. Felting with a needle is similar, but instead of using a washing machine, it’s done with a specialized needle with sharp, barbed blades. This allows for more intricate, three-dimensional designs, like those you’ll find here.
You’ll need only a few basic supplies to get started with needle felting:
Because of all the different needle-felting projects, there are different techniques to achieve certain effects. However, the basics of needle felting remain the same.
Ideally, you’ll want to begin with wool roving. It pulls apart on its own easily, so it doesn’t need to be cut. Roll it into as clean of a ball as possible.
Place the ball on top of your foam pad (or other felting surface) and use the needle to penetrate about a quarter inch into the ball. Move straight up and down to keep the needle moving cleanly through the felt.
Keep moving through the ball until it felts together.
That’s it! Now that you have the basics down, let’s look at some fun needle-felting projects.
This adorable owl is a simple needle felt project to start with. All you need are your basic needle felting supplies, as well as some earth-toned wool. To make the owl even more whimsical, try out some fun colors like purple, pink or blue.
Instructions credit: Petals to Picots
This tutorial includes two sheep in a miniature pasture setting. Beyond your roving wool, you’ll also need some pipe cleaners, black yarn or embroidery floss and some foam eggs for your sheep body, as well as hot glue and dowels for the fence.
Instructions credit: Lia Griffith
This may look complicated, but this adorable little robin is a great choice for beginners and advanced alike. The main body of the robin is created with roving wool, which is very forgiving, then the details are put in after. Brown, orange and cream wool, floral stem wire, a foam egg and glass beads are all you need.
Instructions credit: Lia Griffith
Due to their versatility, bunnies are a fun project. They can be modeled after real rabbits, which come in a variety of colors, or they can be made with pastel or multi-colored wool for a more whimsical design.
Instructions credit: Fantasy Fairy Felted
Spring is the perfect time to make some bees. These small bees are fast and perfect for beginners, so you could make your own little hive in no time.
Instructions credit: Passengers on a Little Spaceship
Needle-felted mushrooms can be made in a variety of colors and are perfect as centerpieces or decorations for your fairy garden. Also, once you get the hang of the process, it will be easy to create more intricate mushroom designs, such as red-and-white-spotted mushrooms.
Instructions credit: Curly Birds
In addition to your mushrooms, these gnomes are another great project for a fairy garden or centerpiece. This tutorial shows you how to make the standard garden gnome, but it can easily be adapted to make wizards as well.
Instructions credit: Laura Lee Burch
There’s a lot of creative expression in making fantasy creatures, especially unicorns. This tutorial will show you the basics of creating this adorable unicorn out of felt, but you have the freedom to add whatever colors or details you’d like to make it your own.
Instructions credit: Craftster
Like unicorns, dragons are a popular fantasy creature that leaves a lot of room for creative expression. This tutorial features a beautiful, green dragon, but there’s no limit to the color and pattern combinations you could create.
Instructions credit: Instructables
This horse tutorial is a great way to learn some new felting techniques, along with getting some experience in building up wool by layer for felt sculptures.
Instructions credit: Kristin Saenz Art
This rattle is a great starting point for learning needle felting, but it will also teach you some valuable techniques. It’s also a great personalized gift or decoration for a baby shower or nursery. The tutorial uses blues, but feel free to combine whatever colors you like for a unique design.
Instructions credit: Pretty Prudent
Winter may be a long way off, but it’s never too early to start making your penguins. These are simple, cute creations that make great gifts for a variety of occasions, but you can also make them your own with small hats or scarves.
Instructions credit: Martha Stewart
No matter what you like, these cute projects are a great starting point to learn the basics of wool roving and develop your style using a variety of needle-felting wool. With a little practice, you may find yourself making one-of-a-kind sculptures all your own. And, you can find a wide variety of needle-felting wool for your special projects on the Eco-Friendly Crafts website.
Which of these needle-felt projects inspires you? Show us your creations on Instagram by tagging @ecofriendlycrafting!