Fall Owl Needle Felting Craft Tutorial
an easy fiber craft for beginners using cookie cutters, wool roving & felting needles
As a long-time fiber crafter, I started out wet felting and later learned to needle felt. Cookie cutters were part of my first experiences with felting needles. I've used them often over the years as a guide for molding the wool. This felt craft tutorial involves various size and shapes of cookie cutters for the little owl above. It is easy for beginners but good for all stages of learners' skills. This is also a great way to introduce older kids to the craft of needle felting - just be sure there is adult supervision as those needles are very sharp!
FELT OWL MATERIALS LIST:
- Dense foam for felting on (3 inches thick or more works best!)
- Medium gauge felting needles and/or a multi-needle felting tool (I used both.)
- Small amounts of beige, orange, white, black and olive green wool roving or batting (or whatever wool colors you want to use for your owl - scraps work well!)
- Cookie cutters for shaping: a 3 inch wide circle for the body, a 2 inch wide circle for the wings and chest, a 3/4 inch wide circle for the eyes and a 1 inch square for the beak
NEEDLE FELTING CRAFT TIPS:
If you don't have a big variety of cookie cutters, you can always freehand form the shapes in place and felt them as you go. Or, use varying different size cookie cutters according to what you already have. (You can also use a permanent marker to draw a circular outline on your foam pad to use as a guide for felting inside of for the owl body - this works well for all sorts of flat shapes for an on-the-spot, easy solution.) The cookie cutters just make it easier to keep the wool in a confined area as you shape it and helps save a little time. Just go for it and felt with whatever you have on hand!
NEEDLE FELT OWL INSTRUCTIONS:1. Place the largest circle cookie cutter on your dense foam pad. Fill it with 3 to 4 crisscrossing layers of beige (or your choice of color) wool roving or batting. It will look like a fluffy hairball at first and that's okay. Start poking at it repeatedly with your felting needle or multi-needle tool as in my photo below. Felt up and down at a straight angle. And, it is okay to felt deeply hitting the foam beneath.
Continue using your felting needle, poking up and down, until your wool resembles the matted circle in the photo above. The fibers should be stuck together, but still a bit spongy to the touch. Once it is like this, you can remove it from the cookie cutter. (It may be stuck to the foam - just pry it up, no problem!) Then flip it over and felt the other side until your wool feels like a firm disc. If needed, flip back and forth a few times.
Once the felted disc is firm to the touch and all fibers are matted well, use a single needle to gently felt any loose fibers around the edges forming a smooth circular shape.
2. For the chest area, use the slightly smaller circle cookie cutter. Lay it centered toward the bottom of the beige disc that you just felted. Again fill with a few crisscrossing layers of wool roving or batting. This time I used an olive green color.
As before, poke repeatedly, up and down at a straight angle to felt the bushy fibers in place. You won't need to flip it though since you are dealing with felting fibers onto the surface of your body disc. Keep felting until the fibers are firmly felted onto the body as in the photo below.
3. For the wings, use the same circle cookie cutter as you did for the chest area. Except you will only overlap a moon-shaped portion of the cutter to make each wing. Fill with a few layers of crisscrossing orange wool roving or batting just at the edge of your chest area on each side.
As before, poke repeatedly to mat the fibers onto the base and felt them into place.
4. For each eye, use very small circle cookie cutters and white wool roving. As before, layer the wool crisscrossing and felt into place. Put the eyeballs centered between the top edges of the wings.
For the beak, use the pointed corner of a square cookie cutter to form the triangular shape. I used orange wool roving and placed the beak centered just below the eyeballs.
For the black center dots on the eyeballs, pinch a small amount of wool roving and roll it in a ball between your finger tips. Then place it centered on the white and carefully use a single needle to felt into place.
5. As a finishing touch, I added a sprig of hair to the top of my little owl's head between the eyes. I used a long pinch of olive green wool roving, balled one end and felted it into place while leaving the other end long and wispy with fibers.