Introduction: Needle Felted Embroidery

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This piece is a combination of needle felting and embroidery.  I found this image online which I really loved and wanted to turn it into something real - a picture or a pillow, or something like that.  It seemed like the perfect opportunity to experiment with an idea I had to felt a flat image onto fabric, and embellish it with embroidery.

Step 1: Materials

You'll want to gather up a variety of wool roving, a thick piece of foam, and a felting needle.  You'll also want embroidery floss, an embroidery hoop, and needles for the embellishment.

There are a lot of ways to transfer your image onto your canvas (in this case, my canvas is some fabric from a discarded bed sheet!).  Since my fabric was sheer enough to see through, I placed the image underneath and used a water-soluble marker to trace the image onto the fabric.  The marker will disappear when sprayed with water!

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Step 2: Needle Felting

Needle felting is easy and addictive, but it is also dangerous!  Those needles are barbed and they hurt like something else when you accidentally pierce yourself.  Felting a flat image makes this less likely than felting a 3D object, so I recommend starting with this technique when you're learning needle felting.

Place the fabric on top of your thick foam piece.  Tear off a piece of the wool roving and start stabbing it into the fabric.  Because the needle is barbed and the wool fibers are crimped, stabbing them repeatedly will cause the fibers to grab onto each other and shrink together (think of what happens when you throw a wool sweater in the wash!)

So just start stabbing around the shape that you want until the entire space is filled in.  You can add more roving and cut excess away as needed.

The wool is going to go all the way through the fabric and stick into the foam.  Just gently peel them apart and trim down the excess wool on the back of the fabric.

Step 3: Embroidery

To embroider the detail, place your fabric in an embroidery hoop.

I used really loose embroidery stitches to highlight the text, and smaller stitches to outline different features of the dinosaur.

Check out jessyratfink's awesome Instructable on how to do a variety of embroidery stitches.

Step 4: Admire Your Work

It really comes together in the end when all of the final details have been added.

Frame your piece, or turn it into a pillow or other accessory.  I put this one in a frame I covered in yellow washi tape, and used spray glue to keep it taut in the frame.

I hope this project inspires you to try out this technique!  It's super fun, pretty quick, and very addictive.