Needle Felting Basics: By L.W. Wilson of Amazing Felted Fibre Arts.
Needle Felting Wool Fibre is much like “wet felting” wool, except that this is considered to be the “dry” method of agitating / mashing the wool together by using sharp “barbed” needles specifically designed to felt the fibre. Felt is a fabric in which wool fibers are interlocked and entangled, felting a 3D form would simply mean a more dense of fabric to make a solid, or layered .. if the wool sculpted form is “dressed”.
To accomplish a successful Needle Felted project, you will need to stab wool with felting (sharp) needles (over and over) for a long time.
The most important part about felting with needles, is HOW you use the needles. At first it may appear that the needle handling has nothing at all to do with felting, however, for the finest results, the angle, depth and force behind each stab (along with the gauge of needle) can effect & create the smallest of perfections, making the most pleasing results.
About the Wool: The Fibre can act differently depending on the origins of the wool (the type of sheep it came from) and where the fibre came from off the sheep.
When “Needle Felting” remember to “prepare the wool” first. Pull even amounts from your selected wool for felting. Open these pieces up, plucking gently at the edges, then drag to evenly create your first layer. Continue to “layer the wool” loosely in a cross-hatching way. This process will help to avoid bulky difficult clumping & inconsistent coverage while building 3D fibre art. This is called “preparing the wool”.
The Needles are sharp, and have barbs that go in only one direction – to PUNCH the fibre together – then release easily.
Different effects can be created by directionally stabbing “in a line” “around in circles” concentrated in one spot, or with evenly spaced stabbing.
Use a safety “Needle Felting Sponge” with your supporting hand- a good distance from your target area to avoid stabbing your finger by accident.
*Remember to never change direction “mid-stab” to avoid breaking needles.
THE BALL: (can be the basic starter for any 3D Felted Sculpture, Animal or Bird.
Take the Fibre (prepared by separating and cross/hatching to create a flat piece that you would then fold and roll like a “sleeping-bag”. Then tack together by needle felting in circular patterns. Turn and roll the wool ball forming in your hands, tugging and “plucking the wool into place to cover the ends. Needle on a bit more separated wool fibres over the ends the roll, “dressing the ball””.
For more felting instructions, information & inspiration: amazingfeltedfibrearts.com