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Articles tagged as needle felting (view all)

Clothespin Doll Mermaid

Posted by Renae Bradley on 12 July, 2018 2 comments

Mermaid clothespin doll

We really love mermaids (check out this sparkly banner or our beautiful costume tail) and had to make up some dolls too! Utilizing basic wood pieces, Benzie felt and beginner needle felting techniques -you'll have a gorgeous collection of 'maids and 'men in no time! 

felt supplies for dolls

Supplies needed, click to buy at www.benziedesign.com

Wool Blend Felt -we used colors Pink, Rose, Swan, Sky and Lilac
Wool Roving -we used the colors Rose, Peacock, Nightingale, Vineyard and Thistle
Wood Clothespins and heads
Needle felting pad
Needle felting needle
Fabric Marker (we like that this one doesn't bleed on the wood!)
Ink -we used Chambray, Plumeria, Dark Peony and Spa
Tacky Glue
Scissors
Pattern, PDF or CVG

clothespin mermaid

Step One:
Print off your pattern and cut out your felt shapes! You can do this by printing on regular printer paper, pin to your felt and cut out the shapes but we find the freezer paper method our favorite way! And for those of you who have a Cricut Maker -we included the cvg file -note that the smaller shapes can get a little choppy on the Maker and may need to be cleaned up with scissors!

Mermaid doll craft

Step Two:
Gluing part! Grab your clothespin, fill the head up with glue and attach. Then take your coordinating tails (note there is a front and a back, and a straight and a curved tail). Glue the tails onto the doll making sure the fins line up. You don't need a lot of glue -just enough for the perimeter. Then add tail details such as the scallop top. Feel free to cut down the tail for a merman! 

Mermaid hair crafts

Step Three:
Take out your roving! If you have never needle felted before you may want to read this beginner tutorial -but playing with this mermaid hair is perfect for someone wanting to get a taste of roving! We suggest using the felting tool to form the hair but you can always forgo this step too! Gently pull apart about a 1 1/2 x 12" inch piece of roving. You can make it any length you want but I think mermaids look best in long hair! I also added small wisps of other colors of roving at this time as mermaids love long and colorful hair!

clothespin mermaid hair

Fold the length of roving in half. Using the doll head, form the roving to the head.

how to style mermaid doll hair

Remove roving from the head and use the needle felting needle and foam pad to style the hair in place. I love felting in a side part! You will form the mermaids wig prior to attaching it.

mermaid peg doll instructions

Place glue on the head and place the mermaid hair over the top. Finish styling the hair in place added details such as stars or flowers. 

mermaid peg doll

Step Four:
Finish off the doll by adding eyes with this marker (it doesn't bleed on the wood!) and gluing on felt cheeks cheeks! We also applied a little ink in to their tails -it adds a bit of depth to the felt! Alternately you can use a q-tip to blush up their cheeks with the ink. 

merman doll

To make a merman I used Benzie's Ginger felt to make a crown and added a beard! 

mermaid doll kids craft

Make a swim school of magical mermaids for yourself or with your favorite ocean princess -kids will love this! Share what you make with #benziefelt on Facebook or Instagram!

Get Started Needle Felting

Posted by Renae Bradley on 15 May, 2017 0 comments

Learn how to Needle Felt

Needle felting is one of those overlooked crafts -supplies are non-existent or hidden away in a back aisle and the actual process can sound a little strange and tedius... A sharp needle? Sheep's wool? But I can't have you missing out on your next favorite past time -so let's break it down and start with the basics. 

Beginner Needle Felting

What is needle felting? Felting occurs when wool fibers are agitated together with a special felting needle. Continually jabbing the roving back and forth will condense and form the fibers into any shape you would like. It's like soft sculpture! Felting can be one dimensional or three dimensional too. And the best part? You only need three items to get started! 

Wool Roving for Needle Felting

What do I need to get started? Number one -wool! In needle felting -you will need sheep's wool that has been combed and carded. There are different types of wool based on how the fibers have been prepared and can be called tops, roving, sliver or batting. Tops have the longest fiber length and run a single direction while batting has the smallest fiber length and runs amok. This may be a little too much information so for the beginner so let's just focus on roving for now. The term 'roving' has become an overall term to cover any wool used for felting but it is important to note that there are differences.

When I was looking for a roving to add to our shop -I fell in love with Corriedale Sliver. It comes from Corriedale sheep and is technically called a sliver. I love it because its length works great for spinning, weaving, wet felting and needle felting -really, it's an all purpose fiber! I know how crafters like to dabble and try out new techniques and a sliver is workable for all. 

Needle Felting Needles

The second item you will need is a needle felting needle. This is not like a sewing needle but includes tiny barbs or notches up and down the sides of a needle -these barbs agitate the roving in such a way that binds the fibers together. The higher the number of the needle the finer the detail but a great starter number is around a 38. Don't let a number stress you out though -this needle felting pen has just what you need. You can use the needles individually or together in a pen (it makes the felting process faster!). Needles are somewhat fragile -have a backup in case they break! 

Needle Felting Foam

And lastly -you need a cushion. Always needle felt on a soft surface such as a foam pad. It is essential to the safety of your lap and your fingers! And speaking of fingers -always keep an eye out on the location of your fingers to your needle -jabbing your finger hurts! 

How do I start? An inexpensive way to get started is to find a needle felting kit you love; our cactus kits include all the tools you need. Or try these if you are an animal lover! We also have loads of fun free tutorials on our Pinterest board! You can purchase the supplies in the shop.

Needle felt a cactus.

But let's start out felting a ball. I suggest beginning with something simple so you can get a feel of how wool felts.  Let's start with a basic sphere -like the one I used for the Desert Rose cactus above! 

To start any needle felting project you will need to first divide the roving fibers. To separate, gently pull to separate the fibers -you may need to spread your hands further apart to get the fibers to separate. Never use a scissors -the raw edges needle felt better.

How to Needle Felt

Then roll the roving into a very tight ball -the tighter you roll -the less felting you will need to do! Continue to felt by rotating the ball and jabbing with the felting needle until a nice sphere is created. Get comfy -it takes a little bit of of time! And watch those fingers! I find the most comfortable position is to hold the cushion in my lap and felt from there. The more you felt the smaller, more dense and smooth it will become. You can see the progress of the ball above!

It's sometime hard for beginners to get the roving firm enough -you want it pretty firm! It may take some time to get it this way but don't give up! You don't want it to feel (or look like) cotton candy -but more like a chewy sugar cookie! If you find your finished piece extra fuzzy -I have some tips: 1) Gently scrape the surface with your felting needle -it helps to hide the dimples. 2) Use a little bit of additional roving to cover the surface and lightly needle felt into place. 3). Use a scissors to give the finished piece a trim! But you may not have to do anything at all! 

Think outside the box -you don't have to use all roving either! For larger dimensional designs, use styrofoam ball as the base or add details like Benzie's felt or embroider with floss! Congratulations on learning a learning a new skill, have fun!