needle felt heart

Needle Felted Valentine’s Day Puppy!

A little while back, I mentioned I was in the process of making a cute little needle felted puppy holding a heart.  Well he is finally complete and ready to see the world!  He took me five whole hours to make and the white on black turned out to be quite the struggle.  But thank goodness he turned out so loveable!
homemade felt Valentine's Puppy
The inspiration for this little puppy came from my husband.  Every Valentine’s Day(we’ve been married 11 years) he showers me with not only candy but little stuffed animals.  Most often these little animals are holding hearts.  Thus the idea to felt a little puppy holding a heart was a very easy leap to make. Can you  see the puppy that my husband gave me in the photo(all the stuffed animals are blocking each other)?  He’s the third stuffie to the left!  If I get any more plush animals, I will need a whole new shelf!!!

My collection of Valentine's Day Plushies

My Valentine's Animals Collection
Well, I suppose that is all for now; try to see if you can make a cute little Valentine for your “Valentine”.  Until next time . . .

needle felted puppy holding a pink heart

tiny needle felted hearts

Homemade Valentine’s Gift

This is a  tutorial on a great homemade gift for Valentine’s Day–needle felted hearts.  These are super tiny, and super sweet; they remind me of those pale colored sweetheart candies!  For the pros at needle felting this should be a breeze and for the newbies it will show you a little bit of what this craft has to offer.  For those of you that are new to the idea of needle felting you will need a few materials.

Basic Felting Equipment:
Wool Roving or Wool Batting(in color of choice)
Felting needles in various sizes
Foam Pad

Information for Beginners!-
Felting needles have tiny barbs on them that knot the wool as you move the needle up and down. They are very sharp, so use caution especially around children.  A foam pad or felting brush is necessary for a felting surface; the needles will break when they hit a hard surface.

Now on to the Tutorial!-
1.  First grab out a small handful of wool roving or batting.  I have chosen a purpley pink colored wool batting.  Next lightly shape it into a ball with your largest size felting needle; I used a size 36.  Remember to do all felting on the foam pad surface. Simply push the needle in the wool over and over again.  Turn the wool as you go to create a ball. Do not make the ball dense, just a very light felting at this stage.
tutorial for needle felt hearts
2. Next felt a straight line down the top center of the wool ball.
needle felt tutorial for hearts
3.  Now look carefully at the photos below, this is a bit tricky to describe but easy to do.  Place your finger in the center of the line you just felted and smush the wool down to one side of that line.  Needle felt the smushed part flat.  Next needle felt the other side of the line flat.  These two smushed bits on either side of the line will be the top round parts of the heart in the end.

needle felting hearts

needle felting valentine hearts
The felted wool is beginning to take some shape now.
heart tutorial for needle felting
4.  Next lets work on the sides of the heart.  Lay the heart on its side, needle felt the bottom bit that will be the tip of the heart.  Now, turn it on its opposite side and needle felt the bottom bit again.
needle felting small valentines heart
Now the heart shape is definitely alot more obvious.  A bit wide, but that’s next . . .

needle felting a heart

5.  Flatten the heart shape with your fingers and lay it on your foam pad.  Needle felt the front and turn it over and needle felt the back.  Next lay it on it’s side and needle felt the side of the heart and then the other side.
tutorial on felting hearts
At this point your little ball of felt should definitely be heart shaped.  It is still a little soft.  To get a great finished product we need to go down a needle size.

needle felting hearts

6.  So grab a size 38 needle and felt the inside of the round top parts of the heart, then needle felt the front and back of the heart and then needle felt the sides of the heart.  Be sure to pay close attention to the tip at the bottom and the indention at the top.

how to needle felt a heart

how to needle felt a small heart

7.  We grab a smaller size needle again(a size 40 needle) and repeat the steps in 12.

felting valentine hearts

a tutorial on needle felted hearts

8.  Now the heart is looking pretty good, but let’s finalize that perfect heart shape.  Maybe your bottom tip is slightly off center or one side bulges more than the other.  Simply grab your large needle again(size 36) and shape the parts that are slightly off.  I usually focus on felting the tip of the heart and the top indentation at this stage.  Just needle felt problem areas until you are happy with the shape.

tutorial needle felt heart
You did it, your Valentine’s Heart is now complete.  It should be very dense at this stage and the shape should be to your satisfaction.
felted valentines heart
These little hearts each take me 10-15 minutes to make.  They would be a great Valentine for a loved one.  You could attach them to a barrette for a child.  Add some ribbon and hang them as decorations, use it as a gift topper, make it for play food candy hearts for your kids, or simply put in a pretty bowl as a decoration.  I hope you give it a shot; they are really fun and quick to make once you get the hang of it.  And if this is your first time needle felting, Good Luck!

Needle Sizes and Testing for Density

felt hearts

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching.  Being that my husband  showers me with gifts each Valentine’s, I can’t help but be drawn to all the hearts in shades of soft pink and purples in anticipation!  I began this felted task with a light heart and dreamily thinking of my beloved husband while pushing in and out with my sharp fantastic barbed needle in a size 36 T, but alas my swiftness and excitement were brought to an abrupt halt!

I had managed to construct 2 hearts, before the accident happened.  A larger purple heart and a smaller mint green one.  Then, while I was working on a Valentine’s puppy, my LAST 36T needle broke.  I managed to retrieve the broken end and resurrect my puppy, but now I had only the wrong sized needles for the projects at hand.  Not only, did I have to stop work on my puppy, but my bowlful of multicolored hearts that I had imagined also came to a quick stop.

felt hearts

needle felted puppy with heart
Now, that the sob story is out of the way; I will share the importance of this lesson.  The lesson is this, “needle size does matter!”.  A size 42 needle is going to get you nowhere, when you begin a new felted project a size 36 is a must to get you going efficiently; the soft mass of wool will simply take forever to felt if your needle size is too small.  By the way, with felting needles the smaller the number the larger the needle and vice versa.

To visually display this phenomenon, I will use my green heart which I began felting using a 36 size needle and a pink heart which I felted with a 38 and 40 needle.  The green heart(which I had the correct needle for the job!) is much denser than the pink heart.  You can test for denseness, using what I call the “squish test” or “pinch test”.  Simply “squish” the felted object between your fingers and see if it maintains its basic shape and when you release it, that it retakes its intended shape.  In the images below you can see that the green heart maintained its shape and that the pink heart was much more squishable.
pink hearts
green heart

pink felt heart

green felt hearts

Also I should add that not only will a larger needle(36) provide for a denser felted object, but they are much more efficient.  My green heart took 10 minutes to felt and the pink one took 45 minutes and I was still not satisfied with the outcome!

Squishiness and denseness is a matter of taste and style when it comes to your felted objects.  Perhaps, felting a sheep, you might want a softer, messier look; but with most of the objects I felt I prefer a very dense, clean look.  And I definitely think that the clean look is near impossible without the right needle.  That being said,  try your different needles and see which size you prefer for the beginning stage, like I said style and design can change your preference.  But for me, I definitely think a size 36 needle is essential in the beginning stages in order for me to get my desired outcome.  No worries, though, I have ordered 10 needles in a size 36 and they should be here very soon.  Hopefully I can finish my puppy and bowlful of hearts before the big day!