In Part 1 of the Wool Felted Mobile Tutorial we created sheets of wool felt using the wet felting method.
38 gauge triangular felting needles for bulk work or base shape
40 gauge triangular felting needle for the finishing work.
foam block for felting on (upholstery foam will work)
Various colours of dyed wool roving
Today we will be doing some sculpting using needle felting. We begin by making the base for the whale, flowers and other sea life creatures.
For the whale I used a whale design and cut out the sides, tail and fins from the grey felt pieces made in part 1. This will aid as a guide for the size and shape of the base for the whale. Begin by rolling up a piece of wool roving or fleece. As this will be inside of the wool sculpture, the less desirable fleece you have can be used here. To speed up the process I like to wrap an elastic around the top of three 38 gauge felting needles and poke over the roll of wool.
Continue to poke all over until you have a firm piece. Add another layer and repeat poking until firm. Measure against the wool cutouts to check for size and shape.
Once you are close in size and shape, lay the cutouts on top of the base and needle felt into place. I first added the sides leaving the tail end open for now. Once the sides of the whale has the felt firmly in place, insert the tail into place. Now needle felt the opening around the end of the tail near the body.
Using a single felting needle, felt the fins into place. Switch to the 40 gauge needle and needle felt until you have a nice smooth finish. Now add details to your whale. I used black wool to felt in eyes and mouth. The lines on the underside I used embroidery floss, and used an outline stitch.
The flowers are made by using fleece and a 38 gauge needle to felt an egg shaped piece. Once you have a firm piece add a layer of dyed fleece that will be slightly darker than the felted sheets made in part 1.
Cut petals from the wet felted sheets. You will need 8 petals per flower. Working your way around the flower base add the petals and needle felt near the base of the petals and slightly up the sides. First layer 3 petals and felt from the bottom and up the sides a bit. As these are the center petals you will want them close to the center of the flower. Continue to add the remaining 5 petals, being sure to overlap the pieces. Complete the flower you adding green sepal and receptacle at the base of the flower using green fibre.
As the mermaid will be posed onto-of the whale I wanted a wire base. Here I used a pipeline cleaner. Cut the pipeline cleaner in half. Make a loop in the center of one of the cut pieces. This will be the head. Add a few twists of the two ends, to make the torso. Fold in the ends of the wire so there will be no pokey ends. This will form the mermaids lower body. Using the other piece of wire wrap under the loop for the head. This will form the arms and hands. Make small loops on each end for the hands
Using the white wool fibre, wrap the pipeline cleaner and carefully needle felt into place. This can be tricky as you can easily hit the wire with your felting needle. This is often when I break needles.
Add a skin tone to the head, arms and torso to the waist line.
Add the colour you want the mermaid tail to be from the waist down. Near the base of the mermaid build a flat tail.
The hair on this mermaid is made from dyed Cotswold locks. Regular fleece could also be used, but I liked the curls.
Sea Shells and Jelly Fish
Using the same method of needle felting, the base shape is made. The shells base was a baby carrot shape, and the jelly fish was mushroom shaped. The shells were covered in the felt fabric that was made wet felting browns and pinks and purple. The tentacles of the jelly fish from white wet felted fabric. The strips are formed by cutting a circle of felt in a spiral design from the outer edge to the center. This gives the jellyfish it’s tentacles that hang in spirals once felted to the bottom. Adding pink or purple to the underside of the jelly fish covers the ends of the tentacles.
Have fun, create the sculptures you want.