All the Tools and Tips You Need to Try Needle Felting

Rolled felt heart

Needle felting is a craft that sounds way more complex than it actually is — and gets super cute results. What’s not to love? With just a few basic tools and a simple tutorial on needle felting for beginners, you’ll be on your way to making adorably fuzzy animals, or any other felted creations you can dream up.Here are the all the tools and tips you need to try needle felting.

By the way, you don’t need to be a knitter to take up needle felting. The crafts use totally different tools and even different types of wool. But if you do already knit, think of needle felting as another fun thing you can do with wool.

What is Needle Felting?

In a nutshell, needle felting is the process of transforming wool into 3D objects using a barbed needle.

When you felt wool, you’re agitating the fibers so they bond together, creating a solid fabric. If you’ve ever felted any of your knitting projects, you’re already familiar with the process — except that you probably used a washing machine with really hot water to get the fibers to bond. Needle felting mimics that process, but instead of agitating the wool with hot water, you’re doing it with an extra-sharp needle.

What You Need

needle felting supplies

Wool

Needle felting is typically done with a kind of wool called roving, but you can also use wool in other forms, like batting. In this how-to, we’re using roving torn from a larger piece.

Felting Needle

The needle you’ll use for felting isn’t a tapestry needle, nor is it a sewing needle. A felting needle has sharp, barbed blades designed to agitate the wool fibers.

A Felting Surface

You’ll need a special felting surface to avoid poking your fingers, legs or other body parts. Sponges and foam pads work well for needle felting. Just make sure your surface is several inches thick, like the foam block in the image above.

How to Needle Felt

Needle felting techniques vary depending on what you’re making. After you start experimenting and get the hang of it, you’ll figure out how to poke your felting needle into the wool to get different effects. For now, these basics will get you started. In this tutorial, we’re needle felting a small ball.

1. Prep Your Wool

needle felting wool roving

If you’re using roving, you can just tear a piece of it off. You don’t have to cut it; the roving will pull apart on its own pretty easily.

2. Roll Your Roving Into a Ball

needle felt roving ball

Make sure you tuck the ends in if you can.

3. Poke the Ball

needle felting

Start by placing the ball on top of your felting surface. Then use the needle to poke the ball, going in about ¼-inch deep every time. Poke straight up and down so that your needle goes in and out of the felt easily. Keep your fingers out of the path of the needle. Felting needles are extremely sharp!

4. Keep Going Until the Wool Felts

Continue poking the ball until the fibers start to bond together and you see the felt forming. You’ll probably notice that the ball has shrunk up a little.

What To Make with Needle Felting

Animals are a popular choice with needle felters, and it’s no wonder why: the special felting needles create a fuzzy effect that looks like fur. But you don’t have to limit yourself to stand-alone animals or other items; you can also use a flat object like a scarf as a base for your felted objects.

Or try this: grab a pair of mittens and needle felt butterflies, flowers or other decorations right onto the surface. (If you’re planning to needle felt onto a hand-knit item, make sure the gauge is tight so you can have the best possible felting surface.) Or try needle felting onto a fabric cuff to add color, or needle felt a heart or another shape you like onto a plain sweater.

Good to Know: Needle felting isn’t just decorative; you can also use it for mending. Does your favorite sweater have a hole in it? Use needle felting to patch it up!

What are you waiting for? Grab your roving wool and your barbed needle, let your imagination run wild, and get your felting on!

Discussion
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21 Responses to “All the Tools and Tips You Need to Try Needle Felting”
  1. Sylvia Fohlin
    Sylvia Fohlin

    Same here! Painting with wool, and all the other projects listed by Tom Kelly. Animals are cute, but not what I’m looking for.

    Reply
  2. Cyndi Duke
    Cyndi Duke

    I am also interested in needle felting tutorials in various project types. These are definitely in demand from the other responses here, too. Thank you!

    Reply
  3. Tom Kelly
    Tom Kelly

    You need some felting tutorials. There are lovely scarves you can make easily using wet felting method. Felted soap with needle felted designs on top. Jewellery or vessels. I could go on and on. Please add some wet and needle felted tutorials. I am glad I only $5 for my membership. I won’t be renewing if more felting projects are not added

    Reply
  4. Victoria M Miller
    Victoria M Miller

    I joined before checking to make sure felting classes were offered. Now I’m regretting that. Judging from the comments below I’m not the only one who wants them. Will you please add felting tutorials?

    Reply
    • Tom Kelly
      Tom Kelly

      I joined hoping for felting stuff too. Not craft made out of pre-made felt. Wet felting and needle felting tutorials

      Reply
  5. Patricia Partyka
    Patricia Partyka

    I have started some needle felting projects on my own but would love some classes!

    Reply
  6. Myranda Ringler
    Myranda Ringler

    Joined with a gold membership hoping for a needle felting class. 😥 Looks like members have been asking about it for a while.

    Reply
  7. rebecca-l-johnson@uiowa.edu
    rebecca-l-johnson@uiowa.edu

    I am also interested n a needle felting class. I’d like to see it used in a variety of ways — including on scarves, mittens, etc.

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Heather,

      Thank you for your feedback. I have forwarded your comment to the proper department. We value your opinion, and it will help with the development of our online streaming community. We will continue to listen and work hard for your complete satisfaction.

      Thank you,
      Lindsay

      Reply
    • Tracey
      Tracey

      I was looking for needle felting classes as well. Until Craftsy catches up I have had lots of success with Felts by Phillipa on YouTube. She is very good and to the point.

      Reply