Maker Team member Felicia of @felicia_murray creates exquisite needle felted wool sculptures. Her trademark has become organic seascapes, which are other worldly! We are so happy to have her share some of her techniques with us in the first of a two part tutorial series. Let's dive in!
Needle felting may seem intimidating at first, but there is so much that you can do with this technique. I am inspired by nature and the ocean, so I am constantly looking for textures and plant life around me that I can capture in beautiful bright colors. I like to think that needle felting is like sculpting with wool! These underwater elements can be added to any accessory, fiber art piece, or décor. Next month we will be continuing this tutorial to create felted seascapes that include these felted corals and more!
If this is your first time needle felting, I recommend reading over Get Started: Needle Felting Basics.
Skill Level: Intermediate
Time: 2-4 hours
1. Let’s start with what I like to call “barnacles”. Start by pulling out a small section of wool. Roll the roving into a semi-tight ball with your fingers, tucking the ends of the wool into the center of the ball.
2. Once you have the ball secure with your hands, begin to felt. Jab your needle into the sphere several times. The sphere will become more secure, to where you will be able to flip it over. Try not to poke your fingers! Continue felting until you have a squishy but not-too-fuzzy circle.
3. Find the best side of your sphere. This will be the top. Felt directly into the center of the sphere several times to create the barnacle impression.
1. Start by pulling out a section of wool. Make sure it is not too thin - you can always pull out two layers and put them together.
2. Lay out the wool on your felting cube. It should be a rectangular shape. The wool should be thinner on the ends, as this is where we will overlap and connect later.
3. Begin felting all over the surface of the wool. I recommend using the Benzie Needle Felting Pen for faster felting!
4. Gently pull up the wool from the cube, flip, and repeat steps 3-4 until your wool is tightly felted.
5. Wrap wool around your fingers or an object. You can use 1-4 fingers, depending on how wide you want your coral. I am using 2.
6. Gently pull the wool off your fingers, keeping its shape in place. Lay down the edge that you overlapped onto the felting cube and secure by felting.
7. Continue to felt on both sides of the coral, as well as the top and bottom until the shape is tightly felted.
1. Pull out a long but thin section of wool.
2. Tuck in the thin ends of both sides into the center. Felt all over the surface, with a singular needle, or the Benzie Needle Felting Pen for faster felting.
3. Slowly but gently peel away the wool from the cube. Roll the wool in your hands to continue felting. Alternate felting and rolling until you have a tight, long tube.
The tubes can now be left as is to create a “brain coral” texture. We will go over how to apply these to our designs in next month’s tutorial.
4. To turn these tubes into branch coral, all you need to do is leave one side of the tube unfelted. This is where you will connect it to another “branch”.
5. Connect by felting the fuzzy part into an already felted branch. Felt all different length branches to create dynamic corals!
With these felted underwater sculptures, the possibilities are endless! If you want to learn how to felt more underwater textures, as well as experiment with creating a unique colorful finished piece, stay tuned for next month’s continued tutorial! Keep practicing till then!
Thanks to Felicia for designing and writing this tutorial! You can follow her on Instagram @felicia_murray or visit her website. Stay tuned for more tutorials from Felicia and the Benzie Design Maker Team!