I am so excited to share with you the simple craft of needle felting. I first saw this at a quilt market a few years ago when a supplier of wool products asked me to come up with a way to use wool in my patterns. He sent me a box full of this fluffy cotton candy textured balls of bright colors and I fell in love. Needle felting is the process of taking those wool roving fibers and using a felting needle "stabbing" the fibers together to create "felted" piece of wool. It is super fun!
The tools you will need for needle felting can by found at most craft stores or on Amazon. It is a hot crafting trend which makes it easy to find. You will need the following items...
1. Wool Roving - You will need to find 100% wool roving. It is wool that has been washed, carded, and dyed. It will look like a ball of cotton candy. When the light fibers are pushed together they stick to each other which creates the felting.
2. Needles - A needle felting needle is a long needle which is barbed on the end. They are extremely sharp...I know! You can find all kinds of needles with different handles and guards, but to begin it is best to start with a single needle. You can purchase needle felting finger guards which work well.
3. Foam Block - You will need a block of heavy foam to felt over. This protects the surface underneath. A 6" x 6" size is a good size to work with. You can find these blocks at craft stores either in the needle felting section or in the upholstery section.
For this tutorial we are going to make felted hearts on a sweater. The first thing you will need is a sweater and a cookie cutter shape you like. Lay out the cutter where you want your shape to be and mark it with tape or a temporary marker. Slide the foam block under the sweater fabric where you will be felting.
Take your roving and pull off a small amount. Fluff the fibers a little and fill your cookie cutter shape.
Once your wool is in place take your felting needle and stab it in a up and down motion across the fibers until they stick together. Be careful to keep your fingers away from the needle. I like to start from the outside edge and work towards the center....but have fun which ever way you go!
Once your shape is felted, pull it off of the foam block and spritz it with water and press it with a hot iron set to the wool setting. Don't move the iron back and forth, just hold it straight on it for a few minutes. This will set the wool fibers.
After you are down pressing your needle felted sweater is ready to wear! To clean your sweater, hand wash only in cold water and air dry.