milly-dean said: Do you mind if I ask how needle felting is done? It looks like a rather interesting thing to do.
I don’t mind at all!
In the simplest terms, needle felting is a fiber craft that uses notched needles to pack loose wool together into firm shapes. The only things you need to start felting are needles (which can be purchased all over the internet in a variety of shapes and sizes; I like these, personally) and wool. I also strongly suggest a pad of soft foam to put under the piece and protect your tabletop as well as needles, since a needle hitting wood can easily break.
Up close, the needles look like this:
So each time you push the needle into a ball of wool, those little downward-pointing notches catch individual hairs and push them towards the center. When you pull the needle out, the fibers stay there. The next stab tangles the new fibers with everything already packed into the center. It’s slow going, but after a while the shape starts to firm up. You want to start with larger, coarser needles (I start with a 36, most of the time), and then switch to finer needles as each one becomes difficult to push. Once you meet resistance with a 42, the smallest size most people use, you’re going to have a pretty smooth, firm surface!
Beyond that, it’s mostly experimentation. Areas that get stabbed more will be firmer, and may have an indented shape if they’re near softer spots. Generally, you want to move around a lot, so that no one area felts more quickly than the rest of the piece. Much like clay, needle felting is a very forgiving medium; you can always subtract chunks with scissors or add them on with a new ball of fluff.
My work is mostly done with wires incorporated for strength and flexibility, so I have to take care that I don’t stab my needle against the wire too hard and break it. I also like to build up my shape with a coarse-textured “core wool” and then add colored wool on top because it makes my colors go further, but some people prefer to have their color solid all the way through. Add-ons of sculpture, beads, sheets of felt, and other goodies are purely personal choices, and generally done on top of a finished piece of felting.
At its root, needle felting is just a bit of wool and lots of stabbing!