This week’s How-To is Tutorial – Needle Felted Toadstoolby Donni, from Fairyfolk here on the Natural Kids Team. If you’ve ever had a chance to check out her blog The Magic Onions then you’ll know you’re in for a treat with a very detailed tutorial that you can follow even if you’ve never needle felted before! Enjoy!!
Needle Felted Toadstool:
I am so excited to share a tutorial on needle felting. So many of you have shown interest in giving it a go and I encourage you to dive right in. Those others of you who are hooked will agree, it is such a fun hobby and you’ll be amazed at the things you can make. When I picked up my first needle three years ago, I was surprised at how quickly I took to it. One of the things I love most about needle felting is that you can finish a project in one sitting. You can sit down with a basket of wool and be holding a delightful bunny in your hands an hour later. Of course, you can make wonderfully elaborate creations that take hours and hours but you can also make something in twenty minutes too. I like that.
This is a tutorial on how to make sweet, needle felted toadstools… a simple and fast project for beginner needle felting.
Equipment – Needle felting requires three tools; wool roving, a felting needle and a protective foam board.
Wool roving looks like cotton candy. When the sheep is sheered, the fleece is washed and dried and then it is ‘carded’ – brushed so that all the knots and clumps are brushed out and the fibers of the wool all run the same way. It is then dyed… any wonderful color under the sun 🙂
This roving can then be spun into yarn (for knitting) or it can be felted.
The protective foam board is not absolutely necessary but it is definitely recommended when you are learning to needle felt. The needle is very sharp and if you don’t have a board upon which to steady your work, you will find yourself painfully stabbed more than once.
The felting needle is about 3 inches long. As I said before, it is very sharp. The tip of the needle has a number of small barbs and it is these barbs that felt the wool. It works because the outer surface of each fiber of wool has tiny, microscopic scales on it. When the fiber is agitated, the scales hook into one another, forming a tighter and tighter mass. The needle works because the barbs of the needle ‘grab’ the fibers as you stab it into the wool, depositing the fibers deeper into the wool. The little scales on the fibers lock together, ensuring that the fibers stay in their new place. By stabbing the wool hundreds of times with your needle, you have control over the form of your wool and can shape it as you wish. You can see the barbs clearly in this next photo…
To make a toadstool, break off a length of red
wool roving about the length of your hand.
Roll it between your hands as you would
roll a ball of playdough into a snake.
Roll the wool ‘snake’ into a tight spiral.
The tighter you can get it, the easier it will be to felt.
I find that rolling is key in many of my felting projects… if I can roll the wool
tightly to begin with, I can greatly reduce the time my form takes to felt.
When my red wool has been rolled into a tight spiral, I set it down on the felting board and stab it with the needle many times around the outside of the spiral. Be slow and deliberate with your stabbing in the beginning, and concentrate, please… it hurts like getting an injection when you stab yourself… it’s definitely not the end of the world, but it is better avoided 🙂
You will soon see that this stabbing holds the wool in
place and your spiral will not unravel if you let it go.
Now for the underside of the toadstool. Set your spiral upright and
stab the top gently many times so that it becomes a nice flat surface.
When your underside is nice and flat, turn your spiral over to what will be the top side of your toadstool. With your thumb and forefinger, gently pull the outside layer of wool a loose, just a little.
Fold this pulled layer over the spiral shape and needle felt it gently.
Continue needle felting it until it is a smooth round dome.
Now for the white spots. Get a small tuft of
white wool roving about the size of your fingernail.
Roll it in the palms of your hands until it becomes a nice firm ball.
Place the white ball onto the red toadstool and needle felt it into the red wool.
Needle felt as many dots as you’d like onto your toadstool.
Now for the toadstool’s stalk. Take a piece of white wool as long as your finger and roll it in your hands until it becomes a ‘snake’ (as before).
Roll it tightly into a spiral (just like you did with your red wool to start your toadstool).
Put the stalk onto the felting board and felt it around
the outside until it is firmly felted and holds its shape.
Leave one end of the stalk fluffy. Gently needle felt the other end of the stalk until it is round.
Place the fluffy end of the stalk onto the underside of your toadstool (the flat side) and attach it by needle felting it into the red wool of the toadstool.
Gently felt around and around the stalk until it if firmly and neatly secured.
Voila! You have made a darling little toadstool!!
For those of you who want to give this a try, I’ve put together a needle felting toadstool kit and listed it in my shop. In the kit you will get two needle felting needles, a protective foam board and all the red and white wool you will need to make 10 little toadstools (or 4 bigger ones).
I also have beginner’s needle felting kits with lots of gorgeously colored wool if you’d prefer to try your hand at something different now that you know how easy it is. And, I have felted rock kits and felted soap kits available too. And, and, I have also put together a kit for making your child a felted playscape which is a fantastic project. So, no excuse not to try needle felting if you aren’t already hooked 🙂 C’mon… it’ll be fun!
Blessings and magic,
This tutorial is brought to you by Natalie, of Woolhalla
Please visit Donni at The Magic Onionswhere you can see her original post and also visit her Etsy shop Fairyfolk.
In Donni’s own words: “I am consciously trying to be mindful of each and every moment; embrace life with love, laughter and learning and give freely, knowing that what I have is considerable. I am also trying to show my kids the beauty of nature in our concrete jungle; enter Waldorf, my new-found passion!”