Needle Felting

Tools of the Trade

Here are my essential tools!

1: Big Foam

– This is one of the two big pieces of foam I work on. It’s super handy to have as opposed to a small base (#13) as it just gives you more room to hold everything and maneuver around. A chunk of foam is easy to get a hold of, Walmart for one has them for seat filler or even memory foam chunks. You want a foam that isn’t going to collect all your fibres and hold onto them should you punch through. Something harder and smooth – but no so hard that it could damage your needle when you hit it. Just a nice dense foam. It’s also great for pinning all your work down if you have thieving little asscats around ;3c

2: Wooden Punch

– This is pretty standard and will come in just about every single starter kit. It’s the original and the old fashion – but it works damn well. Unless you want the Clover Pen for a fancier feel (and for some it’s easier on the hand), this is the next best option. It’s super quick to switch out your needles with this as well!

3: Needles

Not all needles will be colour coded! So make sure to ask or look for a label describing the shape and gauge. I know they’re in a different order in the picture, but I’ll order them here according to which I START felting with to the one I end off with.

? Blue – 36 Gauge 4 sided Cross Star. The best one to start with. This is the needle I used to do up my base before adding top colours. It grabs a lot of wool and joins everything together quickly and firmly, which is essential when you want to get your shapes in. For this reason it’ll also come in handy later when you need to add separate pieces on since it will make thick threads in between them (keep the thing from falling off later)

❤️ Red – 36 Gauge Standard Triangular. This is the next step up from the Cross Star. It’s still good for starting, but won’t grab quite as much as blue. So it’s good for going around adding colours and making defining edges.

? Orange – 38 Gauge 3 sided Spiral. The barbs here twist around, so it’s great for getting the wool firmed up. The spiral shape though means there will be less visible holes in your work. So this is the one that’s great for getting that top coat on without making those annoying chunks and divots.

? Yellow – 40 Gauge Standard Triangular. This is the finest needle in the arsenal. It won’t leave large holes, nor will it push much down, so it’s best for tiny little details at the very end of your work. So things like spots, stripes, eyes, mouths, and other tiny markings you may need to add on.

♡ White – 40 Gauge Reverse Barb. First off, DO NOT STAB YOURSELF WITH THIS ONE XD It’ll hurt going in, and hurt worse coming out (speaking from experience omg). This needle is for finishing “fluffy” details. The reversed needles will pull out the wool fibres instead of pushing them inwards. So only break this bad boy out if you want some fuzz.

4: Multi punch

This is a damn gift. A treasure even. This magical thing holds up to 5 needles and punches them all evenly into the wool. It’s great when you need to get a base colour down and want it done evenly and fast, and even better for when you need a flat piece! Just stick a bunch of wool down on your foam and hammer away. Because the needles are evenly dispersed there’s less fighting for even surfaces ouob

5: Shears

Seems pretty self explanatory, but Akat, why not just use scissors wtf. Well friendo lemme tell you – these are handier. Not only are they smaller so you get that close detail when needed, but they stay sharper and those sharp pointy edges make it easy to stab into a felt when you need to cut out an eye hole. They also make super clean cuts as opposed to the pinching potential of pesky scissors. Really though you only want to use these on already FELTED wool or when you’re making fur. Don’t cut the wool from the bale when you plan to felt it, it will only make things hell for you.

6: Fabric Fusion Glue

This is just simple Fabric Glue. I’ve found that it holds onto the felt better than regular white or super glue, and doesn’t get too chunky like hot glue. It dries fairly fast but you definitely have enough time to properly position whatever it is you’re sticking (I usually use it for #7 just for some added security). Don’t use too much though! It will gum up the wool and make it impossible to stab through.

7: Plastic Eyes / Noses

These are not only adorable but super handy when you just need some cute little beady eyes! They come in a wide variety of sizes and even colours if you want. Just cut a hole in the felt where you want the eyes, give the shaft of the eye a little coating of glue and jab it in there. Hold it for a few seconds to let it set and once it has, make sure to felt around as close to it as possible. Just for a little extra strength. Same goes for noses!

8: Florists Wire

While I don’t recommend the green paper covered stuff, I DO recommend florists wire in general. It’s thin, flexible, and strong. So it can be used on it’s own per limb or twisted/braided to make a stronger line (usually what I do for spines). It’s also thin enough that there’s less of a worry (but still some worry lol) of stabbing it with your needle. You will likely stab it with your needle, but instead of breaking the needle it’ll likely glance off.

9: Carded Wool

Onto the wool! This carded stuff is at time difficult to find, especially in brighter colours, but it’s fantastic for if you want a stiff felt that comes together easily. Because it’s so rough, everything felts immediately together and you can have a shape in no time. I use this the least as I have the least amount of it (and only in natural colours) but if I had the chance for more I’d probably use it. Except for when doing fur, because it’s almost got a frizzy texture it doesn’t break into strands very well.

10: Corriedale wool

Corriedale is the next best thing to Carded. It’s soft like Merino, but also has a lot more texture to it. It’s almost like the love child between the two. It’s MUCH easier to get your hands on than carded as well. Usually it comes in larger quantities, but thats perfectly fine as you don’t have to conserve colours while you work. It pulls apart easily enough and can be used for making soft fur!

11: Merino Wool

The big guns. Merino is insanely soft, bright, and easy to come by. Most places on Amazon, Ebay, and Etsy sell Merino. It’ll generally be the cheapest and come in the most colours as well. It’s perfect for making fur and super soft fluff, but at the same time is VERY wispy. This will make getting it all down without flyaways a bit more difficult. It can be done, the result will be fantastic – but it’s a touch more work. Getting it all down is where I highly recommend multi-punch tools (#4). All in all though I use this more than anything, purely because it’s so readily available. Either I order from my Etsy supplier, or I can get it Amazon Primed to me in a day or so. Good stuff ouob

12: Polyfil fibres

I won’t lie. Using this is hella cheap X’D but I am super cheap so welp. Basically, this handy for making a rough base of your felt in order to save on your top wool. It removes the need to use a ton of wool to build your shape while still giving you something to add the tops to! It can be felted with a lower gauge needle (see blue or red above) and will actually stiffen up a lot more than wool. Which makes it very good for parts that need to support the rest of the body if you don’t want to use a wire armature. And again, it’s pretty dirt cheap and even just an 8″x8″ pillow full will last you 8months. Always think of the form though, because adding wool on top will grow the size! So if you want a little piece thats all colour, just bite the bullet and use solid wool to avoid unwanted bulk.

13: Tiny foam

This tiny foam base is tiny, but very handy for when you want to do small details or travel. Because it’s specifically made for felting, it doesn’t grab onto the wool as much as other foam does and lets you make flat parts much easier. While it’s nearly impossible to work on larger projects, it’s great little addition.

14: Wire Cutters

Final little thing is a nice pair of wire cutters. While the wire I use can be cut with scissors, it’s so much nicer having these. You get a nice clean point and there’s no additional bending. Unless you need to bend them, then you can do so super easily!


Keeping the Balance

July 7, 2020

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