Thursday, March 21, 2013

How to Felt a Bird

How to Needle Felt a Birdie

Needle felting is fun.  It is like drawing in 3D.  These are some basic steps from the transformation of a need, the bird-ing of an idea, and the felting of a wooly mix media felted bird.
idea for a felted bird
Basis of idea for felted bird

I wanted a little birdie on my mix media artwork (to be shown later when complete).  So I thought about felting a birding.  I found the image above (sorry, I can't exactly remember where.  Mr Google might know). And thought it looked pretty much like the birdie I would want on my art piece.  So on to how to felt the bird.

wool roving for felted bird

Take some wool roving.  Lucky I had it in the color I wanted - bright cerise pink.  And then pretty much needle felt it into shape and size.  The rigid hardy foam beneath is my backing for when needle felting.  I used various felting needles throughout the work - whatever works!  The one shown in the pic above is from Clover.

felted bird shape

Needle felt it till it is pretty much done.  Do a little pinch test (i.e. done when you cannot pinch wool fluff from your felted piece).

preparing to bezel bead the felted bird cabochon
All elements are just placed - not attached yet

Shape a "wing" and felt that into place as well.  In this instance, though not shown, I used a little shaped mould to start of the process and to give cleaner edges to the "wing".  (The wing color is actually lime green but this is what you get when you take photos in the dead of night!)

I want to bezel-bead around the "birdie cabochon" so having a stiff backing will help with the process.  Here I used a stiff back (similar to Lacy's Stiff Stuff ).  Trace an outline around felted bird and cut - make sure that you have about a 2mm of extra edging to provide a better bezel-beading experience and a sturdier hold.

color edges of stiff stuff for felted bird

I colored the outline of the stiff stuff in pink to better blend in when I do the bezel beading later on.  And to ensure that the colors (marker pen in this instance) do not run, I wax mediumed over it (Dorlands Wax Medium).  Then I sewed on a "beak" (which started life as a gold plated, large shinny oval flat ring).

glue felted bird to stiff stuff

Next, I glued the underside of felted bird to the stiff stuff.  But only the center parts - make sure that the glue does not go to the edges where the bezel  beading will be done.  Otherwise you might end up with a tacky needle or just find it hard going when you bead.  I used E6000 as glue.  The gluing also makes it more secure  in the long run and easier to work with when you bezel bead.

Embellish the piece (eyes, additional beads around wings, etc) and only then, bead bezel around the whole.
The (real) feathers are placed, and sewn on to the back of the stiff stuff.

needle felted bird

This is how I felted the bird who is now ready to be added to the mix media artwork.  (Mix Media Artwork coming soon ..).  So bookmark this or even easier, enter your email (see left column) to be automatically updated when new works are discussed.  Namaste!  See you later!