Needle felting allows you to use different techniques and combinations of a variety of materials. I personally like to work with felting wool without combine with other materials. Sometimes I also sew clothes from fabric for the animal, for which I also use 6mm. buttons. Often my figures are accompanied by a Waldorf doll as a gift for a child and I do not want the risk of a small element separating from the figure, so I try to minimize the presence of miniature elements. I personally am somehow more pleased to know that the felted figure is only made of felted wool. But this is my point of view and caprice. However, the art of felting allows the technique to be combined with things from nature and various elements such as buttons, beads, ribbons. You can create an original addition to the decor or garment. Before we move on to the felting technique, I want to share with you some creations made of felt for inspiration. If you have not read the introductory article on the topic, you can do so from the link – Felting-What is Needle Felting
First, of course, you need a felt needle and felt wool. I do not recommend superfine merino wool, because it is difficult to felt. Once you get them, you can get to work. Every creator of felted figures has their own technique, which is convenient for them and that have been development by trial and error, but in general the standard procedure is to start making a base to which the body parts are added. I usually take a piece of wool and start stitching it with the felt needle until it take shape. To make it stronger, I try to shape from this piece the torso and the head. Then I add the limbs as new pieces. First I make the base of the figurine in white or any other basic color, then I start adding the other colors to form a belly, tail, paws, fur and more. If you want your creation to be more poseable and feel more like toy rather than just a static figure, you can make a wire skeleton and then add the felt wool over it. There are no restrictions – the most important detail is to make the wire structure flexible. A similar technique is used to make a bird’s leg or a mouse’s tail. If you do it only with felt wool without wire and decide to move it to one side, there will be nothing to hold the structure. You don’t need to make wire base for the whole body. I’ve noticed that for birds, artists only make their legs, wrap them in felt wool and needle felting them. Keep in mind that felt also allows you to sew certain parts of the body. It’s all a matter of preference.
Here is an example of how some people make legs for a bird – first they make the wire structure and cover the leg part with masking tape to protect it. Then use nail polish to paint the fingers. Finally, take out the tape and glue felt wool; this step will allow to needle felt the leg to the bird’s body.
Of course, this technique is just one example and there are many artists who would choose to make it different, because they prefer to wrap the whole wire with wool for felt, thus creating a figure that will feel softer, all made with high quality natural materials.
When it comes to creating thin parts like fingers and tails, where it is almost impossible to felt with a felt needle, I would prefer the following method. I wrap very little felt wool around the wire, then apply melted beeswax on the wool and twist it like a mustache. Some would use glue, but I think beeswax is the best natural solution. This technique is very popular in making felted mouse. Another option is to use small pieces of felt sheets. Cut it in the shape of a hand, add the wrist to it and needle felt in the area. A twine or cord is used for the whiskers.