Needle Felting 101: Introduction to Needle Felting

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Needle Felting 101: Introduction to Needle Felting | www.petalstopicots.com | #needlefelting #felting #fiberarts

If you follow along with me on Instagram or Facebook you know how much I love needle felting. There is just something so relaxing about it … taking a handful of fluffy wool, poking it until it molds into the shape you want. It’s such a peaceful and restorative process for me; I put a little background music on and completely get lost in my project.

So, if you are new to the craft, I would love to give you a little introduction.

At its simplest definition, felting is the process by which animal fibers condense and bind together to create a dense and durable fabric or form. This is most commonly done with wool, but can really be done with any protein animal fiber, such as from alpaca, camel, yak, cashmere, mohair, angora, and llama. Although all of these fibers have the properties that allow them to felt, some are more suitable for the purpose than others.

In a past series I showed you how you can felt your knit or crocheted pieces with  hot water, a little soap, and agitation. If you missed the series, you can read it here.

Needle felting follows the same principle of agitating the fibers but just by a different process. In needle felting you use a needle to agitate the fibers. As the needle works in and out of the wool, the barbs catch scales on the fibers and cause them to interlock and bind together.

Here are some basic tools and supplies you need to get started …

  • Felting needles — These are very sharp barbed needles (ouch!) that are available in a variety of sizes, from very fine (about 42 gauge) to coarse (32 gauge). A 36- or 38-gauge needle is a good all around one to have. You can use a single needle or a holder that houses a few.
  • Foam pad — The pad will support your project and protect your work surface and your needles.
  • Wool roving — Any fiber that felts can be needle felted (some more easily than others), but wool fiber is the standard.
  • Wool batting — Wool batting is wool that has not been combed or carded; it is coarser than roving and good for the core of your projects.
  • Scissors

That’s all you really need to get started. Depending on the type of project you are working on, you may also use some cotton piping cord, craft eyes, sewing needle and thread, pipe cleaners, beads, glue, etc.

So, how do you needle felt? That’s the easy part!

Just start poking away at your wool with your felting needle. Make sure to use your foam pad as a support and to protect your surface. Keep your needle straight as you poke up and down to keep it from breaking. This is called needling. You don’t need to poke too deep; keep moving your piece around so the wool won’t stick to the foam pad. You will notice your wool becoming denser and more compact. Just keep poking until you have the shape you want. That’s all there really is to it!!

I have some fun needle felting projects lined up to share, so if you don’t already have some supplies and want to felt along with me, make sure to pick some up. Hint: some nice autumn colors will work 🙂

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If you are interested in purchasing needle felting supplies, you can also help support my blog by purchasing through these affiliate links …

  
Click here for some fun needle felting projects!
Needle felting projects

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13 Responses to Needle Felting 101: Introduction to Needle Felting

  1. Ana BC September 16, 2013 at 8:02 pm #

    Sounds like fun!

  2. Kate Lantry September 16, 2013 at 10:07 pm #

    There’s a gentleman who needlefelts at a scrapbook store where I teach. He makes some amazing things!
    Thanks for the great tutorial.
    Blessings 🙂

  3. Marilyn September 17, 2013 at 5:03 pm #

    I’ve always wanted to try needle felting, Kara! I wan’t wait to join in your series!

  4. Bethany July 22, 2014 at 9:33 am #

    Great tutorial!

  5. Clotilde/Craftybegonia July 30, 2014 at 9:39 pm #

    Great tut! Needle felting is a lot of fun and it has great creative possibilities!

    • Kara August 3, 2014 at 10:22 pm #

      Thanks, Cotilde!

  6. Jean O. December 9, 2015 at 6:52 pm #

    I’ve never seen needle felting done so I am an absolute beginner, absolute beginner!
    I understood the list of supplies, sort of, well, I’m not worried about them as I’m sure I can find them by your description.
    When it got to the part where you actually do the felting it didn’t make sense. I’m probably just dense or tired (just got back from shopping for clothes with my 16 yo daughter) because no one else seemed to have a problem.
    I just start poking where with what? Just the needle? Do I just poke a piece of wool with a needle? Do I have wool yarn or piece of wool cloth? What do I use the other supplies for?
    Sorry I am so dense. I’ll go find some videos and maybe it will make sense.
    You have a great blog!

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