Introduction: Needle-Felted Pumpkin Stress Ball

Relieve your stress and get in the Halloween spirit (kill two ghosts with one pumpkin?) with a needle-felted jack-o’-lantern stress ball, as demonstrated in this Instructable. It’s a quick, easy project that can help you get better at needle felting! In this Instructable, I assume basic familiarity with how to felt, but it’s not hard to pick up — it’s basically just stabbing wool with a barbed needle over and over.


As usual, you'll want to begin by gathering your materials. You’ll need orange, black, and green wool/roving (for the pumpkin, face, and stem, respectively), a couple of barbed felting needles, and a foam pad to do the felting on. Optionally, you can use polyester stuffing for the core of the pumpkin. That’s what I’ll be using, since I don't have much wool (and stuffing is much cheaper).

Step 1: Form the Core

Start by taking a clump of wool or stuffing that’s slightly bigger than your fist. Roll it into a slightly oblong shape (or whatever shape you want your pumpkin to be). Begin needle felting over your foam pad. I like to start by felting one small region of the sphere — around a quarter of it — until it maintains its shape fairly well, then moving to another region, and continuing around in a circular manner. Make sure you’re going deep enough with the needle for the core to get felted all the way through.

Stop felting when the ball is only slightly softer than you want your final stress ball to be. It needs to be softer since adding the outside face and colors will involve some more felting that will keep hardening it up.

Step 2: Turn It Orange

Take a long strip of the orange wool and wrap it all the way around the core, to cover it completely. Make sure none of the color of the core shows through. It’s alright if the wool doesn’t lay quite flush against the core, though, since felting will fix this up. So, felt it! I recommend you start at the tail of the orange wool and where it turns around the core — this will help ensure the orange wool stays on the core. Once you’ve felted over all the orange wool, proceed to add the face in Step 3.

Step 3: Add a Face

Any good jack-o’-lantern has a fun face carved into it. You should do the same by adding a face to this stress ball using the black wool. The face that you use is up to you; I chose a classic face with triangle eyes and a smile.

To make each part of the face, take a small rectangle of black wool, shape it with your fingers (by folding it or ripping off chunks), and then felt it on to the pumpkin. Start by anchoring each black piece with just a few jabs of the needle, so you can get a sense of how the pieces will look all together. Then, finish up the felting, continuing to shape each piece as you go. Be sure the face is thoroughly felted (not very fuzzy) so that it is as crisp as possible. You can twist extra fibers around your needle before poking it into the pumpkin to lock them away and improve the face’s appearance.

Step 4: Prepare the Stem

Now it’s time to use your green wool. Take a piece that’s a couple inches long and twist it up tightly before folding it in half, as shown in the picture. Felt the top half (that is, the side that has the “bend” rather than the two ends — on the left in the first picture) so that it is firm, but leave the bottom half unfelted. You’ll attach the stem to the pumpkin using the bottom half.

Because the stem is so small and thin, it’s easier to felt off the mat. Hold the stem fully in the air with one hand, and stab the needle all the way through it with the other.

Step 5: Attach the Stem and Finish Your Jack-o'-lantern

Spread the unfelted ends of the stem out as much as possible, until they together form almost a full circle. Set the stem on top of the pumpkin, as pictured. Then, felt around the base of the stem so that it is fully connected to the pumpkin. You can add more green wool in spikes around the base of the stem if you want, or do any final felting to make it reach the density that you desire. After that, your jack-o’-lantern is done!

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