Most needle felting projects start with some sort of felt ball so learning how to make one is a great skill to master. Here's how we do it. Read on to find out how to turn a simple ball into a cute Easter chick.
To make a small felt ball you will need:
Around 5g of wool fibre. We used merino
A needle felting needle
A felting mat or sponge to work on
Wrap the wool fibre tightly around your finger, keeping it above your second knuckle. Smooth the wool as you wrap to help the fibres knit together. Carefully slide it off your finger and place it onto your felting mat or sponge.
The tighter you can keep the wrapped wool once it's off your finger, the quicker it will felt. If it unravels, unwind it and try again, it really is worth getting this right!
Place the bundle on your mat and begin stabbing your felting needle into the centre of the ball. Keep moving the bundle around so that you aren't stabbing repeatedly in the same place.
Always stab in and out of the wool in the same direction. If you bend or twist the needle when you pull it out you may break the needle.
Work evenly all around the bundle until it starts to hold its shape.
Start rounding off one end of the shape. Looking at one side edge (profile) of the shape, work from the top down to the bottom, rounding it off. Turn the bundle a fraction and, looking at the same profile edge, round it off again. Turn and repeat until you have an even round shape on one side of the ball.
Turn the ball so that you are looking at the other edge and round this off in the same way. Then work all over the ball, rotating it all the time, until you have a smooth, even shape. The longer you stab the ball, the firmer and smaller the ball will become.
Don't over felt the ball if you are going to add detail or join it to another shape. You need to leave some air inside the shape for other fibres to bond to it.
Make an Easter Chick
Once you have practiced making a felt ball, why not use it as a base for a mini make? How about a little chick?! A perfect addition to your Easter decor
To make a chick you will need:
A yellow 5g felt ball
Some darker yellow wool fibre
Some orange wool fibre
Some black wool fibre
A felting mat or sponge to work on
Take a tiny strip of yellow wool fibre and fold both ends in. Flat felt it very gently with the tip of the needle onto a mat. Turn it over and felt it on the other side too. Repeat this until the wool begins to felt into a little pad. Create a wing shape by folding in the sides with your finger and gently felting them to make a little wedge shape.
Now make a tail. Take a slightly larger strip of yellow wool fibre and fold it in half. Felt the folded end and work your way up, keeping the fluffy ends un-felted. Turn it over and work on the other side too. Shape the end of the tail by folding in the sides as before and use the tip of the needle to curve off the end of the tail.
Fan out the loose fibres of the tail and lay them over the ball. Felt the tail in place, working evenly with the tip of the needle until the fibres are blended in.
If you need to, you can add a little tuft of wool to fill any gaps.
Add the wings by stabbing through the fatter ends into the body, leaving the thinner tips to fly free. Blend in the fat edge of the wing with a tiny tuft of wool.
Fold a little strip of dark yellow wool fibre in half and felt it on to the tummy of the chick. Felt this carefully into a curve at the top edge and blend the remaining fibres under the body.
Make a little beak by felting a tiny wisp of orange wool onto a sponge, turning it over a few times as you felt. Fold in the edges to create a triangle. Hold onto the tip of the beak and secure it in place on the chick's face by stabbing it around the base.
To finish your little chick, take two tiny wisps of black wool and roll them into little balls for eyes and roll slightly larger balls of orange wool for feet. Felt them all in place.
You could make a few little chicks and display them in a little felted nest or add a thread or ribbon on top to hang them from a pretty Easter branch!
I hope you enjoyed this mini make! Keep an eye out for more needle felting tips and tricks and other mini makes to practice your needle felting skills.
OUR NEEDLE FELTING KITS:
If you'd like to have a go at needle felting and you're not sure where to start, why not try one of our craft kits? They include full photographic instructions, the specialist needle, glassy eyes and all the wool you need to complete the project.