Needle felting is a fascinating way to add another dimension to your knitted and felted projects or a way to make small toys or sculptures. The fibers chosen will determine how fuzzy the sculpture is or the added embellishments. To felt one uses one of the commercially available needle felting holders or a single needle. Use a block of foam or other backing while felting with the needles. These needles are very sharp and have small barbs on the shaft. Larger gauge needles tend to work better for denser fibers and larger felting areas where as I prefer the smaller gauge needles for doing portrait work or portrait sculptures. There are several texts that can get you started but the best way is just to start felting the fibers and see how they respond. You can even incorporate the pet’s hair into a portrait work.
I was commissioned to needle felt a three dimensional portrait of a Shitzu for a cake topper. Here are the pictures I worked from.
The pet’s name was “Lily” and the pet lived where Lily-of-the-Valley were a common shaded garden plant. I never saw this pet in person. The owner was thrilled with how the “portrait” came out.
I used all natural colored fibers and matched and mixed to creat her colors. So the cake was decorated with fondant and Lily-of-the-Valley. The needle felted portrait was about 2 inches high and 3 inches long and made from multiple types of wool sheep, alpaca etc to get the colors of the pet and the look of the real pet.
Once the cake was baked and decorated a piece of parchment paper cut to the size of the mirror was attached with butter cream icing to the top of the cake. A small amount of butter cream was also attached to the mirror to the pparchment paper. The cake was transported in a box, less the needle felting and the the dog was placed on top when it reached its destination.
Enjoy the pictures below of more needle felting. These flat portraits used pet hair, Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier and Kerry Blue Terrier hair, along with dyed locks of mohair. This design won second place in a pattern contest in Great Britain. The Pattern for this tea cozy was featured in the book Tea Cozies published by Guild of Master Craftsman.
This pattern for this tea cozy appears in “Tea Cozies” GMC Guild of Master Craftsman
Cozy Series October 2007 (I was the originator of this pattern).
The following is another portrait on a purse, Bark for a Cure (r) raised money for breast cancer diagnosis, treatment, and research for a cure.