Needle Felted Animals

Needle Felted Animals

Since I started running workshops in 2017 I’ve often been asked if I will teach needle felted animals, maybe how to make a hare or a fox, etc. and my answer was always the same….. “sorry no, but I can put you in touch with someone who will”. There are so many terrific needle felters out there and, not only that, I didn’t really fancy spending hours stabbing fibres when I could be wet felting.

That changed when I got an email last November from a guy who wanted to buy his wife a needle felting workshop as a Christmas present. It was time to change tack so I agreed to run the class and immediately went out and bought various grades of wire and pipe cleaners and started hand carding fibres to make my first hare.

I didn’t concern myself too much with realism or body part proportions! Harriet went through several stages, at one point looking like an otter, at another like a kangaroo, before blossoming into a hare.

By the time she was finished I was hooked!! Two more hares followed in quick succession, the last one being this simplified version to use as a one day workshop for anyone who hasn’t needle felted before.

Happy with the hares I turned my thoughts to making a squirrel. If you google “anatomy of a (whatever)” you will find lots of diagrams and images of skeletons which can be used to get the correct proportions and shaping for your animal armatures. I used one as a reference for making my red squirrel armature as I wanted this one to be as lifelike as possible. It’s also useful to save photos, taken from all angles, of whatever animal you are making and refer to them constantly. I know a lot of felters use glass eyes for their animals but I decided to stick with felting mine as I think you can achieve more character that way.

Each animal is made with Cheviot fibres for the core and then cladded with carded Bergschaf or Corriedale. I was very pleased with how this one turned out.

I recently made a frog and this turned out to be my favourite piece. He seemed to take the longest but you can place him in all sorts of different poses and I just love him! Again, a quick search on the internet produced a diagram that was used to get the proportions and create the armature.

I changed my mind about the colour scheme part way through so he ended up with pink feet and a green body which just looked wrong! I couldn’t face starting again with the feet so I simply dipped his toes in Inktense paint and cured his problem!

So as you can see, this reluctant needle felter has really got the bug! I’ve done my first two classes and I’ve four more lined up, which I’m really looking forward to. The Christmas present of a hare workshop was well received and that particular lady, Jo, has since been back and made a red squirrel and her daughter in law made the lovely mouse…..pretty impressive for first attempts!

Jo’s Hare
Jo’s Squirrel
Janes Mouse

My only problem now is deciding what to needle felt next!

17 thoughts on “Needle Felted Animals

  1. Your needle felted animals are awesome! It’s hard to believe that you haven’t been making them for years and years.

    I took the liberty of editing your post to allow comments. Somehow the box that said “allow comments” was unchecked.

  2. Haha, welcome to the Dark Side of felting! We needle felters welcome you 😀 Your critters are fantastic, Karen. You need to keep doing this!

    1. Thanks Leonor, you would be hard pushed to stop me now! I like the thought of this being a Dark Art……might needle felt a bat to hang over my table!! 🤪

  3. Fantastic! Your needle felted eyes are better than glass ones too. It looks as if you’ve been perfecting your needle felting for years, not months – absolutely so well done.

  4. Harriet has lots of wonderful friends now & in such a short space of time. Needle felting the eyes has given each their own identity & character. You’ve definitely got the bug which is challenging you in terms of the research (& is probably easier in terms of space too). It is obvious you are enjoying yourself.
    See you soon in Snape.

  5. Haha! Welcome to my world, but the other way around. I think your critters are so lovely. I was hooked on the needle felting also, but when I started wet felting, that was it. I prefer to make wearables now. 🙂

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