Updated: May 13
Are you just starting to needle felt or maybe want to try some new tools? I have played around with so many different tools and materials over the years, and I thought that I would share which ones have stuck with me.
P.S I have no affiliation with the companies linked. I just really like and use their products!
Needles and Needle Holders
When I first started felting, I ordered big packs of needle from amazon thinking oh they can’t be that different than the more expensive ones. Oh dear was I wrong!
They work…kinda….but once you switch to a quality needle you will notice that felting becomes quicker and is easier to create a much sturdier core to your project. Furthermore, cheap needle do not last. They dull so quickly (needles definitely will go dull) and they break all the time risking you leaving bits of needle inside your projects.
Here are links to needles I have used and liked:
Some needle felters work with several different types of gauges of needles which each can help at different points in your project (aka some are better for getting your beginning to felt quickly but might leave pock marks if you were to use them while finishing your project). I will be honest, I have found my groove working with only the 38 gauge star needles. For me it works beginning to end and I don’t feel the need to switch, but I also recognise that there is a benefit to switching. I would recommend trying each size needle at the beginning and just keep track of which one/s you pick up most often.
NEEDLE HOLDER…I didn‘t list as a separate item because its technically not essential. However, it certainly helps! I use a one needle holder and a three needle holder . I received the one needle holder as a gift from my sister and love that its a bit different than most holders you’ll find. The clover three needle holder is a bit too pink for me, but its a beast of a needle felting tool so I can forgive the colour.
You need a good mat to hold your project, protect your needles, and protect your hands. Don’t needle felt without a mat!! But your mat doesn’t have to be anything fancy. It can even be a cotton or hessian bag filled with rice although I have not tried this. However, if you want to invest in a quality mat that will last a long time and is sturdy then here is my favourite option:
The Makers Mat system; This is a two layer system that is pretty much to wool pads. The bottom is denser and provides a layer to stop the needle from hitting the surface below. The top layer is not quite as dense but makes an excellent felting surface.
I chose to buy this system because I wanted a clean white mat that I would be able to use in videos. I want it to be larger than the average mat so that it would create a wide workspace. And I really liked that you could purchase the layers separately when the time came to replace it. Also because it is also wool it is eco friendly and could be recycled as a base of felting projects at the end of its life.
I have used other mats including a Wool Buddy Mat which is great, but is hard to get in the UK. I also have tried the bristle mats, but never liked them much.
Choosing wool is one of the most exciting bits of needle felting. If you‘re like me you will want to order a bunch of different colours because they are just so lovely, but you don’t really need them. (The illustration above is of some wool that I bought just for that reason...they have yet to be used)
So really if you‘re mainly creating animals like me, then you really just need a few fur colours and maybe a bit of pink for their bellies and paws. I’d say the colours I use most often are white, black, grey, brown, beige, and a rust colour. I could easily get by with only these colours and a basic core wool for a long time.
I‘ve linked to all the specific colours, but in general I purchase my wool from these companies: 1. https://www.winghamwoolwork.co.uk/
I buy a mix of carded batts and merino/corriedale tops, but I will wait for another blog post to go into more detail about the different fibres you can get and their uses.
AND THAT‘S ALL FROM ME
Hopefully these links and tid bits are helpful! If you have any needle felting questions be sure to send me a message here or on instagram! I would love to help you on your creative journey:))
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Illustrations By (Me) Regan Louise
Images By Studio Gently