Needle felting is a fiber art that has been gaining popularity, and for good reason. It is fairly inexpensive to get started and not difficult to learn. Your creations are only limited by your imagination!
The basic supplies:
1. Felting needles. These needles are barbed and come in triangle or star shapes. Common sizes are 36, 38, and 40 gauge. 40 are the thinnest and best for finish work. The lower the number, the thicker the needle. You can also purchase “pens” that hold multiple needles. This allows for faster felting of larger surfaces, and can be more comfortable to hold. Please be aware that the needles are very sharp. Accidentally stabbing yourself is nearly unavoidable, especially at first. Keep this in mind when allowing children to take up this project. It is really the only reason I would lean towards older children doing this rather than younger ones.
2. Wool roving. Roving comes in many different colors and textures. The rougher textured wool will felt more quickly and feel firmer. The finer silky roving takes longer to felt and has a softer texture. You can find everything from lower cost, mass produced roving at the larger craft stores, to beautiful hand-dyed roving from exotic breeds. I recommend using the lower cost roving at first as you learn.
3. Foam block. The foam block is your work surface. It allows the needle to freely stab through the wool without hitting a hard surface ( or yourself!).
That is all you need to get started! You can purchase a starter kit like this Round and Wooly Turtles Needle Felting Kit that come with a needle, roving, a small block and instructions to make an animal. I highly recommend these as it will give you an inexpensive taste of needle felting without investing in a lot of different items. I do recommend buying an extra needle or two, because they break easily and beginners break them often.
These are the turtles my 13-year-old daughters made from the kit linked above. It was their first attempt at needle felting.
A quick search on Pinterest or YouTube will yield a plethora of tutorials from very basic to very advanced. Check out a few and then try it yourself!
Look for future articles in this series for more advanced techniques.
Apryl–Born and raised in Tennessee, Apryl is a southern girl at heart. She lives out in the country with her husband and her three daughters. After having an unfulfilling public school education herself, and struggling to find peace with the education her girls were receiving in the public school system, she made the choice to homeschool. When they began their homeschool journey, the girls were in the third and sixth grades. Now she is happily coaching three teenaged daughters through their high school years.