Felting is an easy and unique way to create little creatures, animals, ornaments, or anything else you can think of. In this Instructable, I am going to show you how to make a needle felted dog.
Once you learn the basics of felting animals, you can create any creature. I chose to make a dog because the structure is fairly simple and easy to replicate. Whenever possible, it's best to model your animals off the real thing, so I used my dog, Biscuit, as a model.
He is a lab mix (shelter pup!) and so he is mainly one color- a good idea when starting out!
Step 1: Materials
- Felting Needle
- Felting Pad
The colors of wool I used were Creme, White, Copper, and Black but if you are going to make a different color pup, use any color you want!!
You can buy wool, a felting needle and felting pad at just about any craft store or Amazon. Make sure the needle has a barbed tip so that it catches the wool.
Step 2: Making the Head
I created the body around the head as I've found that it is easier to enlarge the body, but not so easy to enlarge the head.
Decide how big you want your head- mine was about the size of a quarter. (Well, not my head, the dogs!) Select a piece of the wool, rolling it into a ball. Begin poking it with the needle- this will begin to tease the wool, and it will slowly form a ball. Continue rolling it around so it doesn't accidentally get stuck to your felting pad, and so it retains it's sphere shape.
The more you poke the ball with the needle, the firmer it will get. For the snout, I mentally divided the head into 3 parts. The first 1/3 of the head became the snout. Begin felting a circle around 1/3 of the head. Continue in a circle and it will form a snout. (see photo)
Step 3: Creating the Body
Create 2 balls the same way you created the head, but do not add the snout. The first should be slightly smaller than the second, and roughly the same size of the head. It will be the front of the body, while the second with be the back. I'm going for a cute and artsy look, not an anatomically correct body :D
Felt the two spheres together so they resemble a lumpy sausage. This is the body of the dog!
Make the neck, the same way as the balls, but only more oval shaped. If your dog now looks like a demented giraffe, don't worry, it will get better!
Connect the neck to the head by felting. You will need to poke it from just about every angle so that it will stay in place. Now, felt the neck onto the lumpy sausage- make sure to attach it to the smaller of the spheres!
If at this point, the dog's neck is still too long, you can fix it by felting it down to size. Insert the needle into the top of the dog's head and poke down repeatedly, so it goes through the neck and into the body. It sounds gruesome, I know, but it will strengthen and shrink the neck considerably.
Step 4: THE LEGS!
To make the legs, use a small piece of felt and roll it into a cylinder. It should be bulky and long because as you felt it, it will shrink. Felt the wool until the leg is firm- make sure that the top and bottom are felted or they will not stay once attached to the body.
Bend the leg where you want the foot to be. Felt the crease you've created so that it will stay. It should resemble an 'L' shape (see picture). You've now created one foot.
Make 3 more of these- unless you want a 1 footed dog! They don't have to be perfect, but they should all be about the same size and length.
Felt the legs to the body. The more you felt them, the stronger they will be. When they are all attached, your dog may not stand upright. If this is the case, one or two of the legs are too long. To shorten them, do exactly what you did for the neck- insert the needle through the bottom of the foot into the body. Keep felting until the legs are the desired length.
Step 5: Little Details!
The tail is so easy- just take a small piece of wool and roll it into the desired length. Mine was about the size of the tip of my finger. Felt it together and then felt it onto the dog.
This part is optional, but I added 'Angel Wings' onto my puppy. Biscuit has what we call Angel Wings- two streaks of lighter fur right behind his shoulder blades. I added a streak of white to my dog, but as I said, that is optional. If you choose to do this, make sure not to over do it! You can also add stripes, spots, or other marks at this point.
For the ears, I used a tiny piece of wool and felted it into his ear shape. Biscuit's ears are a more orange color, so I added a splash or copper colored wool to the tips. When attaching the ears, make sure not to put them too high or they'll look like cat ears!!
Step 6: Facial Features
Last step!! Woo Hoo!
When felting on the nose and eyes- DO NOT MAKE THEM TOO BIG! Start small and you can always make them bigger. I used small pieces of wool for the nose and eyes. Felt them on by poking them into the head. (sounds really gross, doesn't it?)
If you want, not you can add a collar or necklace. You can use embroidery string or twine, and beads if you want.
Congrats! You've finished your puppy!! Once you know how to create a dog using basic shapes such as circles and cylinders, you can create lots more animals! If you do, be sure to post them in the comments section so I can see them!! Thank you for checking out this Instructable!! :)