I’ve been in touch with my creative side lately, and here I am feeding my need to conjure. My newest discovery is needle felting. Needle felting is akin to sculpting, only with the use of fiber than stone or ceramic. I don’t think this craft is famous here in Manila, given that there’s hardly any supplies available. On the plus side, needle felting is really easy.
The process of felting is tangling pieces of wool together, until you form the shape you desire. You can either use it in the form of “applique”, which is to adorn a flat fabric with wool decoration and “sculptural”, which is the process of creating 3D shapes.
What You Need
Felting Needle Pen
You can’t use a regular needle to felt fiber. A felting needle has ridges at the sides. You can use a holder to use three needles at once, as this would allow you to finish your work faster. Using 2 needles is handy in doing outlines and for the most delicate details, 1 needle would suffice.
- Triangular – most common type, good for creating base shapes and works well with coarse fiber.
- Star – best for finer felting work, can be used for coarse fiber too.
- Spiral – this is a fine needle that finishes cleanly. It doesn’t leave much surface holes, but is not ideal in creating bulk work.
- Reverse – it pulls fiber out than pushing it in, ideal for fluffy finishes.
You can either use wool roving, felt or batting.
How To Do It
It’s really simple! Just stab at it. Just stab and stab and stab, until your fiber takes form and it gets thicker (harder).
You have to be careful in using your needle, I broke mine on the first day I used it. The key is not to stab sideways, ideally you should only do so on straight angles. If it becomes a challenge to pierce the needle through, don’t force it. You might be using the wrong needle or you’re overfelting. The needle wears out over time and if it does, it’s high time to get a new pair.
Here’s my first try with wool roving:
Here’s a simple tutorial for further guidance:
Where to Find Them
It’s hard to buy needle felting materials in Metro Manila. To top that off, Felt Needle Pen and Wool Roving is a bit expensive. I was able to buy my supplies from Yarn Source Manila, for the rate of PHP 240 for two pieces of needle felt pen + holder. Three pieces of wool roving (0.24 oz) is at PHP 220.
Due to lack of materials and the need to create cute stuff, I had to find alternatives. I didn’t want to spend more right away just to get all the colors I need, so I dabbled on other kinds of fiber. A very cheap alternative is acrylic, and it’s a material readily available everywhere.
Here’s my attempt at making a needle felt sculpture using acrylic fiber:
It felts well, but it takes longer than usual. It would do for now.