Needle felting is a fun and easy way to pick up a new hobby, from adorable hedgehogs to clucking hens, you can create a wildlife haven in your front room. The Natural World of Needle Felting helps you on your way to creating your own army of critters, starting with our favourite, the dormouse.
Equipment and materials
Needles - sizes 36, 38 and 40
Pre-felt - 20 x 10cm
Wool fibre - 25g fine in flesh pink, mouse brown, white and black
1. Create the component parts. Make a pre-felt ball 5cm in diameter. Cut a tiny isosceles triangle of pre-felt to help shape the head. For the legs, roll and prod, with a size 38 needle, a thin cylinder of flesh-pink fine wool fibre. Cut it into four lengths of 3cm. For the tail, roll and prod a fatter cylinder 6cm long in mouse-brown fine wool fibre.
2. Offer up the triangle of pre-felt to the ball and prod to attach it.
3. Cover the head with mouse-brown fine wool fibre, prodding to attach it. Continue over the back of the ball, leaving the tummy area white. Fatten out the cheeks using brown fine wool fibre and refine the area around the face.
4. Attach the forelegs by prodding them into the body. Prod to refine the feet, creating three tiny toes on each. Attach the rear legs by prodding them into the body in the same way. Prod to refine the toes and heels.
5. Using the ‘pancake’ method and mouse-brown fibre, make two tiny (1.5cm / 5/8 in diameter) semicircles for the ears. Fold and prod to form the ear shape before securing them to the head. Add the facial details using fine fibre and a size 38 then 40 needle. Prod tiny white circles with a central black line to make closed eyes, and a pink nose.
Place a thin layer of fine wool fibre onto the felting block. Prod all over with a size 36 needle. Lift and turn the wool over. Prod some more, starting to concentrate in the middle and ignoring the perimeter area. Keep lifting, turning and prodding. Fold the ‘pancake’ in half and prod to attach it to itself. Lift and fold a third of the shape in to the middle, and prod again to attach. Lift and fold again. Prod, leaving the edge fluffy. This fluffy edge is used as a handle when you prod the middle. The fluff also helps you attach the small object to the main sculpture. It can be tidied up after attachment.
6. Attach the tail so it curls around to the body and refine the join with mouse-brown fibre. Refine all over with a size 40 needle.
To finish: Make a papier-mâché (paper-pulp) horse-chestnut case and pop your dormouse inside so she can snooze in comfort.
The Natural World of Needle Felting: Learn How to Make More than 20 Adorable Animals by Fi Oberon, published by Jacqui Small LLP www.quartoknows.com, RRP £20.
LandLove readers can buy The Natural World of Needle Felting: Learn How to Make More than 20 Adorable Animals for the special price of £17 including free p&p to UK mainland. To redeem, simply call 01903 828 503, quoting ‘FELT2016’. Offer expires 31st October 2016.
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