Tuesday, 29 July 2008

How to needlefelt - ears and adding colour

Taking a small strip of grey fleece fold it several times to make a triangle shape

Felt this shape flatly by stabbing it onto the foam pad then picking it up and turning it many times until is is really firm

Add deatails to the ear with a small strip of white in a slight triangle and then some black onto the tip of the ear.
When felting the colours onto the ears take care to only stab into the centre and not take the needle right through the piece else some of the colour will be pulled onto the wrong side.

Felt a line down the centre of the front of the ear like you did with the hock joint then fold the ear into an ear shape - felt to firm.

Place the ears onto the head and choose the best position for them then felt them onto the head.

Add grey wool and some black onto the head and body and carefully felt it in to the areas you want

- taking care not to push the needle right to the other side.

The nose was created with a ball of black fleece and the lip details a few strands of black fleece were twisted to form a cord and carefully felted into place.

Monday, 28 July 2008

How to needlefelt - head and neck

Make a ball of fleece and lightly needle felt it to hold its shape.

Make a smaller roll of fleece and attach this to be the upper jaw.

Sculpt with the needle to make this a smooth firm head and upper jaw shape looking often to make sure the shape is going towards what you would like it too. If an area is too small add more fleece, too large stab lots.

I find the finnished look better if you hollow out the inside of the upper jaw to make a better mouth shape - but this is not seen in the finished work.

Once you are happy with the shape make a roll of fleece and sculpt it into a lower jaw - leaving some fluff at the end to attach it to the head with.

Attach the lower jaw to the head making sure you needle in all directions and add a little more fleece if needed to smooth out any seams.

Add a large handfull of fluff to the base of the head where the neck will be and felt a little to firm up.

Felt this neck onto the dogs body

Hold the head and body roughly in position and carefully felt the neck till it is firm enough to support the head


Now have a really good look at the shape of your animal and decide what areas are not quite as you would like them to be. Be really critical

I decided the neck, tummy and back end were too skinny so I added more fluff and felted it in firmly

I also made a tail in the same manner as the legs but tapered the end and curled it out while I was felting it.
Spend lots of time firming up and sculpting your peice at this point, the more time you spend here the better the final peice will be
It is tempting to rush on to adding the colour.
By this stage your peice should be able to stand up totaly unsuported

Saturday, 26 July 2008

How to needle felt - adding muscle and feet

Slightly bend out the back legs above the hock.

The firmer the legs have been felted the better they will hold their shape.

Take a wad of fleece and fluff it out so the fibres are all in different directions.

This reduces join lines in the finished peice.

Use this fluffy fleece to create the hip by placing over the area and felting it firm.

To create a smooth outline always keep the needle at 90 degrees to the sculpture, if you are sculpting a curve or a ball you have to change the angle of the needle every stab (with practise this becomes very easy)

Repeate this for the other back leg.

To make feet take 4 small strips of fleece (less than 1 inch) and roll them into small ball shapes leaving one end fluffy.

Felt these balls to firm them and then attach them to the bottom of the legs using the fluffy ends.

Firm and shape the balls into feet shapes making them narrower at the heels, flat on the bottom and curved on the top

(TIP - you can pinch the fleece into shape and felt it - watch your fingers)

Often step back and look at your work and add fleece to areas that need built up.

Also continue felting all over the peice to firm it up and smooth it out.

Friday, 25 July 2008

How to needle felt - joining legs to body.

Two of my legs are slightly longer than the others so I choose these to be the back legs.

Each leg is attached one at a time. The fluffy ends are the hip.

Hold these ends onto the body and firmly felt them in place - the firmer you felt at this stage the easer the next steps will be.

Once I attached my back legs I realised that the body was a little short, and also the chest needs to be a little deeper.

I just took a large wad of fleece and added to the front of the body and to the underside where the chest will be.
Firmly felt the front legs onto the body in the same manner as the back legs.

To make the hock joint in the back legs felt a straight line about an inch up the back leg at the front.
This line alows the leg to bend.

Bend the leg and hold it in place and then felt through the hock to stabalise it. Felt all round the joint while holding it in position (WATCH YOUR FINGERS) to strenghten it.
Repeate for the other leg

How to needle felt - Body and legs.

Taking a section of white fleece about 4 inches wide roll it into a tight tube shape.
The tighter you roll it up the quicker it will felt together.
Begin felting the tube together by stabbing it all over with your felting needle.
Remember to move the needle all over the shape, if you stab too much in one area you will create a dent - which can be filled in by adding more fleece to this area.

The fibers mesh over each other and contract in the direction the needle is moving, so if the piece is too fat stab in towards the centre, if it is too long stab in from the ends.

Stab until the tube holds its shape easily and is firm to the touch. The firmer you make each shape at this stage the easier later steps will be.

Take 4 sections of fleece about 1/2 the width of the piece used for the body.

For each piece carefully wind it around your needle then hold the roll firmly, slide off the needle and stab it to secure it.

Felt the leg firmly leaving one end with a fluffy unfelted end.
Repeat this for all four legs.

You now have four legs and a body.

To this point it has taken almost 1 hour

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