Other than working with wood, I definitely like to felt with wool as well to make miniatures. Especially making miniature-pets in wool is a very nice way to make them. So let’s dive into these small wool felting instructions.
Lots of miniaturists are specialized in this, some of them even make replicas of your pet, using their own hair! I just don’t seem to find the extra time anymore, maybe one day when I’m pensioned 🙂
A childhood hobby.
As a young girl, I loved collecting green wool pastures that got stuck in the wires of fenced sheep and then coming home with them to wash them well with soap and then spin balls of it.
Keeping it wet, adding soap, spinning .. the balls became smaller and smaller, but of course also firmer. Later my father made a spinning wheel for me and complete coats of wool were bought or gathered from the local farmer.
Just the smell of wool brings back memories…
There is much more on the market nowadays. All kinds of exotic types of wool: alpaca, llama, angora, etc. And whole strands in the most beautiful colors.
Wool for dollhouses and miniatures.
Real wool is also a fantastic product to work with within the dollhouse world. Very little material is needed for wool felting. Wool, a sponge (you could buy a felting mat also), and a wool needle. The latter is a long triangular needle with a curved top.
The tip of the needle is provided with barbs that puncture the wool well. Mind your fingers while working!
There are 2 kinds of needles: star tip needles or triangle tip needles. Needles come in sizes. The higher the number, the finer the needle is and it would produce more detailed work.
You could also use a felting pen, the needles are replaceable when they break.
If you are a beginner, I would recommend starting with Corriedale wool.
The Corriedale sheep is the oldest of all the crossbred breeds and has a long life span. It is the most favorite wool of hand spinners and has a high pelt value. They are very easy to felt because of their texture. Using for example to much force on them, won’t separate the wool.
Wool felting instructions.
Start by carding the wool. With an old hairbrush or wool comb, the strands are combed apart into a large fluffy ball.
Make the ball a little smaller by rubbing it with your hands. Place the ball of wool on the sponge and start pricking it with the needle. You could speed up the process using a felting pen.
Always turn the ball over and over, so that it’s punctured well on all sides. And work evenly, so that you don’t always poke at the same place.
After a while, the sphere will become smaller and more robust. To bring shape into the sphere it is simply a matter of more frequent punctures in one place than the other.
Multiple balls can be poked together to form various shapes, such as ears and a nose on a bear’s head. Hold the two balls together and poke from one sphere to the other and you will see that the pieces will stick together. The more you puncture, the tighter they will stick together.
If a spot needs some extra bit of wool, a fluff of wool can easily be placed on the workpiece. Prick it well until it is no longer visible.
Always come back from the same direction as you poke, or you could break the needle. Do not force your needle, they are fragile! Feel from time to time if it is firm enough: if not start poking again and again! (this could take a while)
The object is nearly done when it is getting really hard to poke into.
The last ‘squeeze ‘ test will tell you when the object is hard enough and doesn’t change shape anymore.
You might also like this Youtube video on needle felting basics:
Felting without a needle.
In addition to needle felting, there is of course also the option of felting the wool with soap. Make a fluff of carded wool wet. Put some soap on the hands and rub the wool with your hands. After a while, the fluff of wool will begin to felt. Where the rubbing is done, the effect will be stronger than at the places where the rubbing wasn’t done. For example, very cheerful pillows can be made using this method.
I can imagine that not everyone feels the need to felt wool, as it is a very intense ‘poking and poking’ – job and it takes a lot of patience. But they sure are very cute, you can really make some beautiful miniature pieces just from felting wool! Just look at some examples from Etsy sellers in this other article of mine.
I wish you happy crafting!