Needle felting is a crafting technique that involves using a special, notched needle to poke and compress wool fibers until they become compact and matted. This allows the wool to be shaped into different designs, making it a popular way to create small figurines, animals, and decorative items. It's a fun and creative way to work with all-natural materials.
Needle felting is an inexpensive, easy entry craft. You can get everything you need for under $20 to start!
Needles, Wool and a special surface (felting pad) to work on.
Felting needles come in different sizes (gauge) and types but most felters start out with an all purpose needle: #38, Triangle
There are three kinds of felting pads, foam, burlap sack and brush.
Note: DO NOT USE UPHOLSTERY FOAM! It contains dangerous fire retardant chemicals that come through to you in the way of dust every time you poke a needle into the foam.
Wool from sheep is the most commonly used fiber in needle felting, and it comes in varying qualities. The type of wool you use will depend on what you are making, as each type of wool has certain characteristics that make it easier or more difficult to felt with. Other common types of felting fibers include over 50 kinds of sheep wool, as well as alpaca, llama, and even cat and dog fibers (although they can be more challenging to work with).
Easy Fun Tutorial for Beginners!
There are numerous types of fiber available, but for beginners, it is essential to understand three basic types.
The first type is the Carded Batt, which is commonly used as a core wool to begin building your piece. The fibers in batt have been carded in every direction, resulting in a sheet-like shape rather than a neat, long strand. Compared to top, batt has a coarser feel and can be needle felted more quickly.
The second type is Combed Top, which are fibers that have been processed to all flow in the same direction. They have a smoother appearance than batt. These long ropes come in a vast range of colors and are often used to finish a piece to give it a smooth finish.
The third type is Roving, which is also sold in ropes like top, but it is loosely carded, resulting in fibers that do not all go in the same direction. This gives it a rougher texture and less polished look than top.
It's essential to understand the different types of fiber when you are choosing wool to make your project. For example, if you tried to make the core of your project with Top instead of Batt, it would take you much longer to felt it.