If you have never tried needle felting before, it is a fabulous crafting technique that allows you to create realistic animals and adorable characters with colorful and soft textures. A really popular project in the world of felting is needle felted birds. We have created a collection of bird projects on the site in the past, and now we are sharing this video to give you some of the basic techniques that you can use as guidance for introducing yourself to needle felting! In the video I craft up a felted robin to demonstrate our techniques for needle felting for beginners. Follow along with the video below to start becoming a needle felting master!
- Felting Block
- Felting Needles
- Needle-Nose Pliers/Wire Cutters
- Craft Scissors
- Low-Temp Hot Glue Gun
- Roving Wool
- Wool Blend Felt
- 2.5″ Foam Egg
- Black Beads
- 18-Gauge Green Paper Covered Wire
- Brown Craft Paint
UPDATE: Refer to Tools and Materials above for the most up-to-date information as some items listed are no longer available.
Use a Foam Base to Save on Roving Wool
Felting purists will make their needle felted birds completely out of roving wool, but our favorite needle felting “hack” is to use a foam egg as a base for the bird body. It makes it so much easier to form the bird shape, and you end up using much less wool. Of course you’ll also save a lot of time using this method. Depending on the shape of the bird, you can tweak the curves of the foam egg by grinding it against your table.
Poke the Roving Wool into the Foam
Wrap the wool around the foam and begin poking your felting needle into the foam. The hooks on the needle will push the wool bits into each other so that they become interlocking. Do this until your wool is woven tightly together. Feel free to add multiple pieces of wool as you go – there is no need to use only one piece of wool to completely cover the foam.
Replace your Needles Often
If you are using the foam ball method for making needle felted birds, you will want to replace your needles regularly. Foam breaks down the barbs on the felting needle, and if your needle is dull, it won’t weave the wool together while you craft. Because you are saving a good amount of money by using less roving wool with the foam ball method, we found it to be a good trade off to spend a little more money on extra needles. We invested in this really affordable 60-pack from Amazon that should last us for years to come.
Add in Colors One Layer at a Time
I like to use the analogy of painting – add different colors of wool one layer at a time. Simply form the wool into the basic shape you want it to be (like the circular chest piece), place it on top of your egg and start poking away. When you’re finished, there may be some visible poke marks in the wool, but you can just use your fingers to ruffle the wool a bit.
Watch the full video to learn about how we add the felt wings and how we create the feet out of floral wire! Do you have a specific bird you would like us to add to our needle felted bird series? Let us know in the comments below! Leave your feedback for the video and share your project suggestions with us. Browse through all of our needle felting projects, and visit our membership page to become a part of our crafty community of creatives. See you there! ~ Lia & Team