Thursday, January 12, 2012


 Fairyfolk Needle Felting Kits -

I am so excited to share another tutorial on needle felting. One of the things I love most about needle felting is that you can finish a project in one sitting. You can sit down with a basket of wool and a needle be holding a few beautiful  felted hearts in your hands half an hour later. Of course, you can make wonderfully elaborate creations that take hours and hours but you can also make something in twenty minutes too. I like that.

This tutorial (and others like it) is published on my blog, The Magic Onions, in color if you'd rather follow the color, online, directions... (search: needle felted hearts).

This is a tutorial on how to make needle felted hearts. We use a cookie cutter for the shape, making this a simple and fast project for beginner needle felting.

Equipment - Needle felting requires three tools; wool roving, a felting needle and a protective foam board. And, for the hearts, we use a cookie cutter.

Wool roving looks like cotton candy. When the sheep is sheered, the fleece is washed and dried and then it is 'carded' - brushed so that all the knots and clumps are brushed out and the fibers of the wool all run the same way. It is then dyed... any wonderful color under the sun :-) This roving can then be spun into yarn (for knitting) or it can be felted.

The protective foam board is not absolutely necessary but it is definitely recommended when you are learning to needle felt. The needle is very sharp and if you don't have a board upon which to steady your work, you will find yourself painfully stabbed more than once.
The felting needle is about 3 inches long. As I said before, it is very sharp. The tip of the needle has a number of small barbs and it is these barbs that felt the wool. It works because the outer surface of each fiber of wool has tiny, microscopic scales on it. When the fiber is agitated, the scales hook into one another, forming a tighter and tighter mass. The needle works because the barbs of the needle 'grab' the fibers as you stab it into the wool, depositing the fibers deeper into the wool. The little scales on the fibers lock together, ensuring that the fibers stay in their new place. By stabbing the wool hundreds of times with your needle, you have control over the form of your wool and can shape it as you wish. You can see the barbs if you look closely at the tip of your needle. 

 Break off a piece of wool about three times the size of the cookie cutter.

 Set the cookie cutter on the protective foam mat.

Starting at the center top of the heart shape, line the heart cookie cutter with wool.

 Prod the wool until it is all inside the cookie cutter.

 When the wool is inside the cookie cutter, use your needle to gently and evenly poke at the wool. Hold the cookie cutter with the thumb and forefinger of your left hand and needle felt with your right hand. You will see that the wool becomes compacted the more you poke at it. Poke evenly, giving particular attention to the outline of the heart.
As you poke close to the outline of the cookie cutter, be sure to move your fingers to the other side so that if your needle jumps outside the mold, you do not poke your fingers. Try to poke with even controlled strokes. You do not need to lift the needle very high, especially when working around the outside of your woolly heart.
 Once the wool has become nicely compacted inside the heart cookie cutter, gently pry your heart from the foam board, making sure it remains inside the heart cookie cutter.

 Flip the cookie cutter over so that you can now work on the underside of your heart, needle felting it just as before until it too becomes nicely compacted and smooth.

 Again, pay particular attention to the outside shape of your heart... the more you can needle felt it inside the cookie cutter, the better your wool will hold it's heart shape once we take it out of the heart mold.

When you feel you wool heart is well felted, gently slip it out from the cookie cutter mold. You might need to neaten up the edges by needle felting your heart some more.

 If you want to add a loop of ribbon to hang your heart, use a pair of small, sharp scissors to make a small hole in the top of your heart.
 Tie a knot in the ribbon to make a loop.
 Use the blunt edge of your felting needle to poke the ribbon knot into the hole. Then, needle felt the hole shut so that your ribbon is firmly felted into the wool.

Voila! You have just made a delightful felted heart to hang somewhere special in your home.

I hope you have enjoyed this needle felting project. You have enough wool in your kit to make three large hearts, one red, one pink and one white.

I have other needle felting kits available in my shop if you wish to try something new... felted pebbles for lovely home decor, felted toadstools and pumpkins, felted balls as well as kits of lovely colored wool for you to make whatever your heart desires. Please visit my shop and look under the Kits section.

Happy felting and don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about needle felting.
Blessings and magic,

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