Clever Crafting

Palisades LibraryStaff Picks

Clever Crafting

Needle felting basics and fun projects

Looking for a new hobby that's fun, creative and involves jabbing things with pointy needles? Look no further! Needle felting is a fun fiber arts hobby that has less of a learning curve than other types of felting, as it doesn't involve soap and water and is much less complicated than knitting or crocheting.

It's a kind of free-hand sculpture that allows you, the artist, to make different shapes and objects using only wool, a needle and foam mat or other work surface. When you pierce your notched needle into wool fibers, you turn it into felt by grabbing the top layer of fibers and tangling then together with the inner layers. You can use this technique to create flat works or 3-D shapes.

It's extremely accessible and fairly inexpensive and can be done by most anyone, though when first learning one must be very careful not to stab themselves repeatedly. View one of my needle felt projects in the photos on the right of the page! 

The following list includes books on specific needle felting projects as well as two books that discuss fiber art basics, techniques and include a few needle felting projects.

Feltique by Nikola Davidson and Brookelynn Morris
Feltique is a good introduction to working with felt. It goes over techniques for wet felting, needle felting, fulling and working with commercial felt to create different projects from toys to jewelry. It also describes basics knitting and crochet techniques, combined with felting. The needle felting projects include making a strawberry pot, earrings, wallet, bracelet, and toys. 
The Complete Photo Guide to Felting by Ruth Lane
This is a comprehensive guide to felting that includes history, information on different varieties of wool, techniques to prepare, card and dye your own fibers, as well as different felting techniques. Information on needle felting is very, very detailed with information on different kinds and sizes of needles, tools, kinds of fibers to use and needle felting techniques, tips and tricks. Projects include making a felt teddy bear, dog and person. 

Wool Pets: Making 20 Figures with Wool Roving and a Barbed Needle by Laurie Sharp
Wool Pets includes a basic overview of needle felting and many interesting animal patterns, including bugs, birds, and more. Photos accompany step-by-step instructions with techniques for attaching limbs, beaks and eyes. The patterns are adorable and can be easily adapted to other animals, as stand alone toys or used as ornaments or part of the mobile. 

Woolbuddies : 20 Irresistibly Simple Needle Felting Projects by Jackie Huang
Woolbuddies covers many of the basic topics of needle felting, including tools, techniques and shaping. Woolbuddies stands out in its silly, cartoonish toy patterns that are fun to make and have definitely kid appeal. Adding the details on the characters Huang has presented is funny and inspiring in that one can create their own character expressions, and there is less pressure to have a perfect critter at the end of your project.

Kyuuto! Japanese Crafts: Fuzzy Felted Friends by Saori Yamazaki
DC Public Library has a few books in the Kyuuto! series for home handicrafts. Kyuuto! features many home handicrafts called zakka, that are often simplistic and charming in design and evoke comparisons to Nordic or Scandinavian designers and patterns. This book includes patterns for decor and practical use as well as toys. 

Feltlicious: Needle-Felted Treats to Make & Give by Kari Chapin and Kerri Wessel
A little different from the other books on this list, Feltlicious has patterns specifically for felt food, in all food groups for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert! Information is presented on felting in general, making basic shapes, blending colors, and creating highlights, shadow and shine details. Though projects look good enough to eat, the authors also make suggestions wearing and displaying projects as pendants, key chains and tote charms, pins and more!

Hope this list inspires you to try out needle felting yourself (or to at least check out these books)! If you do end up making one of these projects please share it with us! You can tweet us @dcpl or share it on our Facebook page. Be sure to also check out our crafting magazines through Zinio - with access to magazines on crochet, knitting, quilting, jewelry making and more.