Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

May 18, 2011

DIY Needle Felted Art - Learn the Basics of Needle Felting

I just love easy wool crafts!  My most recent project is this trio of easy, needle felted abstracts.  It's hard to capture on camera, but the abstracts are three-dimensional, with a sculptural feel.  The wool I used is really vibrant, so these are a fun pop of colour on plain white walls.

A needle felted DIY project tutorial for beginners
DIY needle felted abstract art
Easy DIY wool project

I used my favorite of the three paintings I made for the bedroom as my colour inspiration:

Colorful abstract art

Here are the needle felting basics:

Supplies:
Where to buy a foam block for needle felting
Felting needle and foam block
Wool rovings
Wool rovings
How to Needle Felt:

Needle felting is actually super simple.  Sketch out your plan on a piece of felted wool (or free-hand it).  Lay your piece of wool on your foam block and grab some wool rovings.  Tear pieces of the wool roving off, like you would cotton candy.  You want the ends ragged, not cut.  Then lay the wool roving on the piece of wool and use the felting needle to pierce the wool roving through the piece of wool, using the foam as a surface to stop the needle.  Just keep piercing again & again (& again & again - this is a good craft for tension relief!)  The felting needle has barbs and it catches the wool roving, pushing through the piece of wool which tangles the fibres and locks them.  Like paint, you just build up layers of rovings - you can layer different colours to create depth or just to mix new colours.

How to needle felt
Needle felting basics
Needle felting tutorial

Here is what the back of the wool will look like after you have been needle felting for a bit:


A warning about the barbed needle: it is very sharp and will tear you skin going in and out, so be careful not to poke yourself with it. 

Needle felting barbed needle

Here are my finished needle felted wool art pieces unframed.  I used a piece of paper with a square cut out to help me frame up the composition as I worked.

Wool craft ideas
Wool art ideas

Here is some more needle felted wool inspiration:

Wool landscape art
Wood art project ideas
Wool craft ideas
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16 comments

  1. These look very nice. I actually couldn't believe it was felt until I saw the how to pictures.Beautifully done :)

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  2. Those are so cool! I love them. Thanks for the tutorial.

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  3. I love the color and the texture. They're spectacular. I'm really fascinated by the next-to-the-last one. It must have taken an unbelievable amount of patience to felt that so tightly and intricately.

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  4. Thanks everyone!

    Dana: yes, the middle one did take a while. More free form shapes are easier to do. But the sharp edges were tricky - I had to pay attention a bit more. My mom has it now, and plans to turn it into a tote or pillow, or something with her nifty sewing skills.

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  5. Tanya, those look great! You have such a good eye.
    P.S. Where were you able to find that great mid century chair in one of the photos?

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  6. Thanks, Amy. I found the chair by posting a want-ad on the online classifieds. I posted a photo of a similar chair and a mid-century mod collector emailed me. She hadn't thought about selling the chair until I asked! BUT it sure didn't look like that when I bought it. I picked the upholstery & had it professionally done. Check out this post to see the "before"

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  7. Wow, talent you have! Have you ever thought of selling them on easy. Or maybe you do?

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  8. Thanks Barbara! Nope - don't sell anything. Well, I do sell Christmas spider ornaments (like the wedding favors I gave away - see them under the "Mawiage" tab) but not online. Etsy overwhelms me.

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  9. Thanks Tanya, never thought to post a want ad. Instead I'm always pouring over craigslist looking for the right chair. Going to go look at the before right now...

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  10. I've been interested in doing these for quite some time. I think it's time for me to just do it. These look fab.

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  11. Leone: Thanks for your kind words. I promise this craft is super easy & super satisfying. You will love needle felting!

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  12. Wonderful! I usually do photography and have a number of "texture" shots that are great inspiration for a felted piece. Can't wait to give it a try.

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  13. Hi Jaci - using a photo of your own as inspiration would be amazing! I'd love to see your work - esp. if you tackle a project like this.

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  14. Wow these are really beautiful! I love the texture (texture addict here), as it adds so much interest to the pieces.

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  15. Beautiful! I was thinking I could make a seascape out of wool felt and then as I read I saw yours... GORGEOUS pieces! Thanks for sharing. I might have to try this. If I do I'll send you a picture.

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    1. Hi Mary,

      Thanks!!

      Definitely send me a photo of your project! I'd love to share with my readers (and just ogle the gorgeousness - I loved felted wool).

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