Needle felting has to be one of the most satisfying crafts out there, I mean who wouldn't want to release some pent up frustration by stabbing a needle into some wool and ending up with something pretty. It's a craft I am fairly new to though, so I have gone through all the thoughts on where to start, what is worth buying when I'm not sure if I will like the craft and want to do lots of it etc. So I thought I'd do some blogs on my experiences so far, a few things I have since invested in and would recommend, and some other bits that will help out anyone thinking of giving it a go.
What is needle felt?
Needle felting is very much like the name sounds, the action of stabbing a needle into felting wool fibres, and you'll either build something up freehand, or around a polystyrene shape. I've also seen video of felters pushing fibres into cookie cutters and making a shape to felt together that way. This is called dry felting. There is also wet felting which uses water to connect and blend the fibres to create 2D or 3D patterns and designs.
Needle Felt Kits
A kit is normally the best way to try out a craft, with the box containing all you need to get started, and make one or two items. I wanted to start by talking a bit about kits because they were how I started needle felting, and because I have found them a little hit and miss so this might help you make some buying decisions.
Projects where you are felting the wool on to a polystyrene shape are the easiest option, and there are often large areas of colour, but a few of the other kits I've bought are freehand, and definitely not as simplistic. Small animal projects can mean small and very fiddly details, or shapes that take quite a long time to form.
I've found Hobbycraft and Aldi the best places to find kits, some of them seasonal, and some just pop up when they have craft products in-store (Aldi) or new brand items coming out. They tend to come with a few needles (expect to snap one or more!) a small chunk of polystyrene to put the wool on to needle into it, the wool itself and instructions.
PRO'S - Every kit I have bought I've ended up with spare wool, the prices have been pretty reasonable, and there are a good choice of fun, colourful designs out there.
CON'S - Needle felting wool on to a polystyrene surface doesn't really work. It might be a cheap easy option, but you end up with holes, and little bits of white all over your project quite quickly. What they don't really give advice on is how much wool to use for each part of the project, and the overall size can be quite small, so trying to stab in the tiny amount of wool needed for an eye, or suckers on an octopus was harder than I expected.
Have you bought a kit yourself? any suggestions of retailers or businesses to try? Do let me know your thoughts below, I'd love to get some crafty chatter started on the blog, and also on my Instagram @createdinessex.
Next-up in Needle Felt For Beginners - making a needle felt decoration with a cookie cutter. Hope you'll stick around for more music, crafts. books, and lifestyle chatter. Please comment below with any suggestions or your own crafty stories, I'd love to hear from you.