This tutorial will walk you step by step through the very easy task of needle felting colorful fall leaves. I’m going to make a decorative fall bunting with the leaves that I make this season. However, they would also combine to make a lovely autumn wreath and one could dangle near a window as a neverending falling leaf. I’m sure there are many other beautiful options, but I will leave the rest of the brainstorming to you.
Let’s begin the tutorial.
You will need:
wool roving/batting in autumn shades
a foam surface or needle felting brush
felting needles(a felting pen is handy but not necessary.)
First, gather some leaf templates. These could be hand drawn and cut, they could be traced from leaves collected in your yard, they could be fall cookie cutters lying around in the kitchen or, if you are lazy like me, just google search “fall leaf template”.
I will be using the elm leaf to demonstrate this method. It is the easiest template that I have. So it should be easy to follow along! I realize that the template may not be necessary for such a simple leaf design, but while creating a maple or oak leaf the importance of this template system becomes clear!
Set the hollow template atop the working surface(brush or foam), then pull small tufts of wool and place inside the leaf template. Keep on layering these little tufts; it takes a bit more than you would think! Then needle felt inside the template with a large felting needle(around a 36). Continue felting until the little tufts of wool become one mass.
Now the template is no longer necessary; remove it from the foam surface. Now carefully peel the leaf off of the working surface. Held up to the light, the weak spots will shine through. Add small tufts to the weak areas and needle felt with the same size(36) needle until a uniform thickness is achieved.
The edges of the leaf are now raggedy and incomplete. Compare the leaf I’m working on to my previously completed orange leaf. At this point, carefully work the edges until they are firm and curve similarly to the chosen template.
Now the leaf has the correct shape but the fibers of the wool can still be compressed a bit more. Grab a smaller size needle(38), lay a bit of paper between the working surface and the leaf, and needle felt one side, then flip it and needle felt the opposite side.
At this point the leaf is basically complete. I chose to grab an even smaller needle and really make it neat.
Each leaf will take between 25 minutes to 1 hour depending upon the complexity of the leaf shape chosen. Good luck with this project and if you have any questions or comments feel free to contact me!