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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!  

Benzie Iron-On Glitter & Gold

Posted by Renae Bradley on 01 September, 2015 0 comments

Gitter and Gold Felt

Ready to make your felt go glam? Add on a layer of glitter -or go metallic -with Benzie's iron-on sheets. It's crazy easy -and doesn't leave you with paintbrushes to clean or fairy dust to mop! 

diy glitter felt

First, grab your supplies: Benzie's felt, iron-on glitter or iron-on metallic (we used our glitter in Julep here), a light cloth (we like a layer or two of tissue paper), hard surface (we used a cutting board) and an iron. Trim your felt and iron-on material to the size you would like. 

On a hard surface, layer your felt, iron-on material and light cloth. Heat your iron to the highest setting and press firmly for 15-20 seconds, slowly shifting your iron as you go. 

After the felt and glitter (or metallic) sheets have fully bonded remove protective sheet. We have found it's much like removing a sticker -sometimes it peels off quickly and sometime you need to work at it a bit! 

Glitter felt by Benzie

We offer 12 colors of glitter and 4 metallic hues -all ready to be ironed on and crafted with! Manual die cut users can expect to roll it through the machine 1-2 extra times and punch out design due to the extra thickness of the fabric. Craft just as you would regular felt -but now with more glam!  

We've been using our iron-on for a while now and have learned some important tips for success which we have outlined below:
-it is vital to iron on a hard surface such as a wood cutting board
-we have seen best success with a 1600 watt iron
-our glitter irons on easily with just 15 seconds of heat -our metallics take more like 20 seconds
-our metallic iron-ons work best in small batches

Can I wash felt? A tutorial about felt applique.

Posted by Renae Bradley on 24 June, 2015 1 comment

Felt Star Shirt DIY // Benzie

This is a craft question that I get asked quite often -can I wash wool blend felt? And as you can see from the felt star appliqué -yes you can! But before we get to care instructions let's talk first about fiber content.


Our felt contains both wool, ranging from 20-35%, and rayon. Rayon, or known as viscose, is made from wood pulp -a renewable source too! Most of us know what happened to our adult sized wool sweater when we tried to wash it -it shrunk down to a child's size! Wool should be treated with much care or it will shrink. We suggest dry cleaning or spot cleaning to keep our wool blend felt in its original condition. It's easy and already looks great!

But there are times that a toy or a t-shirt just needs be washer friendly. Before cutting into your design or appliqué -the felt must first be washed. Prewash in a sink of hot running water -immersing the felt completely. We use soap and gently squeeze the felt into a ball, rinsing and repeating until the water runs clear. This process does two things to the felt. First the hot water gets any excess dye out. Not all colors bleed -but this bright Carmine did! Second, the combination of hot water, soap and gentle squeezing is further felting the fabric -binding the fibers even closer together and causing the felt to shrink. Lay flat to dry -or use a blow dryer to speed things up. A washing machine on the delicate cycle is a great alternative to prep large batches.

Can I wash wool felt? // Benzie

In the image above you can see the difference between our original felt and felt that has been pre-washed. The washed felt is bubbly or wrinkled -and is thicker then its un-washed partner (this can be flattened by ironing though). Also it has shrunk. The 6x6" square shrunk to about 5 3/4x 5 1/2". Now you're ready to craft!

DIY Felt Applique // Benzie

Grab a t-shirt and your favorite color of Benzie's felt. To make cutting ultra easy we used the Nesting Star die from Lifestyle crafts -but old fashioned pattern and scissors will work just as well. We also found that we really liked Wonder Under's fusible adhesive. It's didn't make the felt appliqué stiff and it made a permanent bond to the fabric.

Felt Applique T-Shirt  // Benzie 


But before you do any of these steps -your felt and your shirt must be prewashed! Follow the washing instructions for felt above.

1) After the felt has dried -iron your fusible adhesive to your felt.
2). Use your favorite die to cut a shape our of the felt -adhesive side up. We explain how to use a die machine and dies here.
3. Peel off the top layer of your fusible adhesive -you can see the transparent paper star in the above photo (throw that away), carefully place your star where you want it and iron down. Iron from both the front and back of the shirt to ensure a permanent bond.

Can I wash felt? // Benzie

It's not necessary -but I think the added machine stitch adds detail and helps the star to stand out among the stripes. To care for your felt appliqué shirt and prevent further felting we suggest washing inside out, cold and delicate with a gentle dry.

4th of July applique shirt // Benzie 

I want to see what you are making too -hashtag #benziefelt and have a Happy Independence Day!

Originally posted June 2014