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This is my first Instructable, so please bear with me!  I plan to get more specific as I gain experience.  Anyways, here goes... this is a collection of step-by step photos of a squirrel I needle felted .  Needle felting is a method of felting wool using a barbed needle.  Basically, you repeatedly stab a clump of loose wool.  The barbs on the needle cause the wool fibers to tangle.  The more you poke, the more tangled the wool becomes.  Eventually you get felt!  As you can imagine, needle felting can be a very cathartic experience.

Step 1: Get a Lot of Wool

There are tons of online sources for wool and other feltable fibers.  You'll quickly discover there are many different types of wool- roving, batts, etc.  Batts are the easiest to felt with, however they can be expensive.  Do a bit of searching- the cheapest option may be loose wool that's been washed, but otherwise unaltered.  That said, here's my pic of processed wool roving in every color of the rainbow...

Step 2: Make a Wire Skeleton

Like the saying about build a house on a strong foundation or measure twice and cut once, if you want a realistic-looking needle felted critter, you have to be anal in the beginning.  Start by making a proportional skeleton.  A skeleton will ensure your needle felted creation will stand up on its own.  And as a bonus, it'll make your critter flexible and able to be posed.  Here are a couple skeleton pointers:

-  I usually use cheap floral wire to make my skeletons.  You can also use pipe cleaners.
-  Search online for a sketch, diagram, or photo of the skeleton you're making.  Size it to the proportions you want your critter to be and print it .  Use this as a guide when making your skeleton.
-  Once you've made your skeleton, tightly wrap wool around it to create a "base" to felt onto.

Step 3: Felt Like You Mean It!

You're going to discover needle felting is very forgiving.  This is probably why I've stuck with it, being I have little innate artistic ability!  If you don't like a part you've felted, simply rip it off.  Felted too firmly?  Then pull out the scissors.  After making several lop-sided, wonky animals, the most important tip I can give you is stay symmetrical.  Every few minutes, put the needle down and take a close look at your critter to make sure everything lines up nicely.  Pay special attention to the face; this is what people will pay the most attention to.

Step 4: Smile and Be Pleased

Here are a couple photos of my finished needle felted squirrel.  When I'm done felting, I take scissors and clip any unwanted fuzzies.  I used to spend an hour doing this, but now I like to leave some fuzz- I like the effect...

Thanks for taking the time to check out my first Instructable!
<p>so cute!!! looks almost real!!!</p>
<p>Great job on the instructable. I've just started dabbling in needle-felting, and it hadn't occurred to me to make a wire form! That makes so much sense. </p>
Wow great job ! for a first job, this is so cool!
<p>He is sooo cute! I wanna make one!! He looks like the two live squirrels who get themselves nuts out of the squirrel-feeder that hangs in front of my window, so realistic!</p>
Now that's what I call a crafty squirrel, and really nice!
Thank you kindly!
&quot;Nope, it's just Chuck Testa.&quot; <br>Nicely done instructable.
Ha! I had to look up Chuck Testa- hilarious! Thank you!
<strong>Beautiful</strong> work, jkanne!!! This little squirrel is 100% adorable!!!
Thank you!
It is so cute, very lifelike, nicely done!
Thank you kindly!
This is adorable, and super-realistic! I bet it really freaks out your pets.
Thank you! My dogs want to eat every critter I make. I think they're jealous because I spend hours hunched over little fuzzy wool animals when I should be petting them!
He is really cute! Nice job!!
Thank you much! <br>
"little innate artistic ability" pshhhhh <br />That is awesome! So squirrel-like, you are oozing artistic ability :D
You'd think differently if you saw my stick figures! Maybe 2D is where I lose it :). Anyways, thank you for your kind comment!
These are so darn adorable ! I've never needle felted before but this makes me wanna try it and make my own cute squirrel or something.
Thank you kindly! I hope you give it a try!

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