Introduction: Felted Mouse in a Resting Position

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This tutorial is taken from Making Natural Felt Animals by Rotraud Reinhard, published by Floris Books.

Three-dimensional felting (in this case, the building-up method) is a continuation of flat, template and ball felting. Always use wool batting when creating three-dimensional objects. Use natural colours (white, beige, light brown, brown, grey, dark brown) for the basic shape, then add dyed batting on top to colour the animal.
You can use any wool that felts well, whether coarse or fine, but I recommend merino for its tactile softness.

Make a bowl of warm soapy water before felting. Dissolve 1 tablespoon of soft soap in one litre (¼ gallon) of approximately 50 °C (122 °F) water.

When felting, it's best to work with your entire hand as much as possible. Felt the basic shape with your flat hand and no pressure at all – no more than a gentle vibrating over the surface of the wool. The shape of the animal is not hugely important at this stage.

Felting is complete when the entire surface is connected evenly together and to the wool below. Once the surface is sufficiently felted, apply gentle pressure to felt into the depths too.

Fulling means: rubbing with pressure and rolling between your hands, continuously pushing everything toward the centre. The animal will only take its accurate shape during this final process.

Step 1: You Will Need:

8 g (¼ oz) in total Landschaf wool: grey-brown
Merino wool: pale pink, white

Starting pieces

Body: 6 × 12 cm (2 3/8 x 4¾ in)
Tail: 1 × 12 cm (3/8 x 4¾ in)
Ears: 2 × 6 cm (¾ x 2 3/8 in)

Step 2: Create Your Basic Mouse Shape

a. Body and tail

b. Place the tail on the body

c. Roll from side to side

d. Immerse in soapy water

You can build up the head from the neck of the body. Add five small pieces of the grey-brown wool to form the head shape, then broaden the body with twelve.

Step 3: Add and Shape the Ears

a. Shape the ear piece into an "omega" shape (see image b. above).

c. Add the ear in its omega shape to the head.

d. Wet the base of the ear with soapy water and ‘glue’ in place.

e. Separate the ear piece in the centre and pull apart to make two ears.

f. Pinch the base of each ear together to make them more rounded in shape.

g. Loop a small strip of batting around the back of the ear at the base and cross over at the front. This will help secure them.

h. Place one piece of wool over the front of each ear, wet and mould to shape.

i. Build up the mouse’s ‘brow’ with three small pieces of wool positioned underneath the front of each ear.

j. Add two more pieces of wool between, and two in front of the ears.

Step 4:

a. Build up the body with ten small pieces of wool batting. Then cover the ears and tail with very thin pieces of light pink wool.

b. Tease a new piece out of the centre of the white wool batting so you have a strip with some long fibres on one side.

c. Turn the mouse onto its back and place this white tuft along its chest and chin, with the longer fibres pointing towards the mouse’s tummy.

d. Felt in place by vibrating your palm gently on the underneath of the mouse.

Step 5:

a. Massage the ears tufts into the ear in a downward motion.

b. Lightly felt the entire head with ears pressed down.

c. Full the ears into a thinner, cupped ear shape.

Step 6: Finished!

These instructions can be used to make any animal in a "resting" position (i.e. with its legs hidden), not just mice!

For more details, check out Making Natural Felt Animals by Rotraud Reinhard, published by Floris Books.