Needle Felted Squirrel

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Introduction: Needle Felted Squirrel

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!

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    20 Discussions

    0
    Whovian123
    Whovian123

    3 years ago

    so cute!!! looks almost real!!!

    0
    smacpherson1
    smacpherson1

    4 years ago

    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.

    0
    curly gurly
    curly gurly

    4 years ago

    Wow great job ! for a first job, this is so cool!

    0
    Nulli
    Nulli

    6 years ago on Introduction

    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!

    0
    kcli
    kcli

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Now that's what I call a crafty squirrel, and really nice!

    0
    Pat_Maroney
    Pat_Maroney

    7 years ago on Introduction

    "Nope, it's just Chuck Testa."
    Nicely done instructable.

    0
    jkanne
    jkanne

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Ha! I had to look up Chuck Testa- hilarious! Thank you!

    0
    bajablue
    bajablue

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Beautiful work, jkanne!!! This little squirrel is 100% adorable!!!

    0
    ChrysN
    ChrysN

    7 years ago on Introduction

    It is so cute, very lifelike, nicely done!

    0
    pantalone
    pantalone

    7 years ago on Introduction

    This is adorable, and super-realistic! I bet it really freaks out your pets.

    0
    jkanne
    jkanne

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    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!

    "little innate artistic ability" pshhhhh
    That is awesome! So squirrel-like, you are oozing artistic ability :D

    0
    jkanne
    jkanne

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    You'd think differently if you saw my stick figures! Maybe 2D is where I lose it :). Anyways, thank you for your kind comment!

    0
    MYT CR8TiV
    MYT CR8TiV

    7 years ago on Step 4

    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.

    0
    jkanne
    jkanne

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 4

    Thank you kindly! I hope you give it a try!