How to Needle felt an Owl
Crafts are fun in your free time, but who really has time for them? I guess, I do because needle felting is so fast. It shocked me how me, a complete beginner, finished needle felting an owl while I sat observing a patient overnight. Nurses out there have heard of sitting. Sitting is a job in the hospital where anyone from techs to nurses observe patients who are thought to be a harm to themselves and/or others. While my patient was asleep, there's not much you can do in the dark while trying to stay awake. I had brought my needle felting kit along and used the light of the computer to loosely skim the instructions. And away I went!
Compliments of Fancy Tiger Crafts, here's the tutorial:
Felting Needle is very sharp - use caution when opening package and while needle felting.
Welcome to the world of needle felting. You have everything you need to make 2 Owl Balls out of wool! Needle felting is a dry method of making felt (matted wool) using a barbed, triangular needle, it is easy to learn and can be conceived of as sculpting with wool as your medium and the felting needle as your tool. Roving is the name of the wool that has been cleaned and carded (brushed).
Dark Grey roving - owl ball body
Light Grey roving - owl ball belly
Black roving - pupils
White roving - eyes
Orange roving - beak
Foam - used as a work surface to protect your needle and your fingers
1. Make owl ball body. Take the dark grey roving and split it in half lengthwise. You can just pull it apart with your hands - no need for scissors. Each 1/2 will be enough for one owl ball. Set one half aside for now. Now work with one of the halves for your first ball body. Roll the roving into a ball - roll it as tight as you can, the denser this is, the easier your needle felting will be. You can un-roll it if it doesn't look good, or wrap more roving around it if its too small. Once you have a nice, tight ball shape, you can place it on your foam. Now start needle felting. Poke the needle into the ball about 1/4" to 1/2" deep. Roll the ball over and over, so you poke it evenly on all sides, remember to keep an eye on where your fingers are so you don't poke them. As you poke, you will notice the wool will condense and harden wherever you poke - that's needle felting! Once you're satisfied with you ball shape, you can use the drag and drop method to finish the ball - this method will help you fix the pitted look that can happen when you needle felt. To do this - hold the needle at a 90 degree angle to the ball and lightly drag the needle across the surface for about 1/2"-1" before lightly poking it in. Once your ball looks the way you like it, you can move on!
2. Add belly. Take a small piece of light grey roving - about a 1"x 2" strip. Loosely fold this in half twice so it is a pretty small square-ish shape. This will be attached to one side of the ball, where you want a belly. First just poke the belly on in the middle and then work out all around - you can focus some pokes where the two colors meet to make a nice, defined line. Once the belly is on, you can add the face!
3. Make eyes. Take a pinch of white roving and roll it into a ball between your finger and thumb. Needle felt this onto your owl where you want an eye by poking it into the body, right above the belly. Poke it all around in a spiral shape. You can focus tiny pokes right where the white meets the grey for a nice, defined line. Repeat the eye process for the pupils. If you're having a hard time making the eyes even, you can pull them off and try again - there is enough black roving for some trial and error...
4. Add beak. Take a very small piece of orange roving. Roll this up into a loose ball shape between your fingers and thumb. Attach this between the two eyes the same manner you did with the eyes. Use the needle to pull the roving into a triangular shape and then poke it in. Super cute!
Yay! Now repeat for the other owl!
Broken needle: Sometimes your needle will break. Here are some tips to avoid broken needles. Make sure you're felting onto the foam cube so the needle doesn't accidentally hit your table which could break it. Make sure you are putting the needle straight in and out and that you aren't putting pressure on the needle on the sides or at an angle. In other words, don't try to bend the needle, or change the directions once you've jabbed it in. Also, sometimes your felted object can become so dense that it can actually break the needle. Your object should have some give to it when you squeeze it with your fingers. If it feels really firm, it might be too sense and therefore causing your needle to break.
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