Needle Felting - Sue's Hints & Tips

 

  • Needle felting involves the blending together of fibres using a barbed triangular needle.
     
  • Needle felting is a dry process. Wet felting is a very different process.
  • It allows for greater precision allowing you more control.

  • The multi-needle tool is useful for large areas & speeds up the felting process.
     
  • The single needle tool is ideal for finer decorative work and 3D sculptures.
     
  • The needles are barbed & triangular in shape. This allows the fibres to catch & become entangled. Made from stainless steel they are very sharp & easily break.
     
  • Use the needle in an upright position, it will help avoid breakages.
     
  • It is advisable to needle felt on a brush mat. (A foam block will also work but take care the foam does not stick to the reverse of your work).
     
  • Commercial felt is ideal for backgrounds but buy a felt with wool content in it as acrylic tends to pucker.
     
  • Whether you use a single needle, multi-needle or needle felting machine, the principle is the same.
     
  • Needles are repeatedly punched into the fibres until a firm bond is achieved.
  •  Fibres are laid in thin layers, each layer laid crosswise on top of the previous layer.
  • Usually, 3 to 4 layers of fibre are sufficient.
  • Each layer of fibre needs to be teased out to form a thin layer.
  • Interesting effects can be achieved by blending different colours.
  •  Do not over felt, this destroys the fibres & can end up with a hole.
     
  • Occasionally lift the fabric off the mat to avoid it becoming attached.
     
  • The more you felt the more the fabric compacts and shrinks.
  • Water-soluble fabric can be placed between the base mat & fibres. It provides a stable surface to work on. Also, you can draw a design on it that acts as a template. This can be washed away afterwards. You can create a firmer starched effect by not washing out all of the water-soluble fabric.
     
  • You can needle felt onto most fabrics. Certain fabrics will pucker but this can add to the look of your project.
  • Mistakes cannot be undone but can be felted over.
     
  • Merino takes longer to felt as it is a finer fibre.


Sue Amphiett   Cottontail Crafts 2013

 

 

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