Before you can begin needle felting, you need to make sure you have the proper needle felting tools. This art form is the process of adding felted embellishments to a base fabric, which is growing in popularity these days since so many fiber artists are noticing the benefits of felt. While standard wet felting doesn’t require any special tools or supplies beyond those needed to knit or crochet your piece, needle felting does require a few extra supplies. This isn’t an expensive hobby, but it’s also not one that can be done with no preparation and shopping. Read on to find out a little more about the supplies required for needle felting before you begin this new and addicting hobby.
Supplies Needed for Needle Felting
There are some very basic needle felting tools that are necessary to have before you decide to try out this craft. While many hobbies can be done without the commercial tools labeled for their use, if you do not have the proper tools for needle felting, you can quickly cause damage or end up with terrible results.
One of the most important tools to have is a felting needle. These are very sharp, barbed steel needles that grab your wool and work it into felt. They come in many different gauges for different jobs, and you can find these needle felting tools with multiple needles as well. Be cautious with these needles, though, they are extremely sharp, and can easily pierce through skin.
Felting needles are also very easily breakable, which is why your second most important tool is a felting surface. They sell needle felting brushes, but you can also use a piece of foam that is at least three inches thick to keep under your work. This allows the needle to go through the fabric without damaging your work surface or risking needle breakage. Upholstery foam works really well for this purpose, and is easy to find in stores, so this is probably your best bet. Whatever you do, don’t attempt to use Styrofoam as your felting surface. Not only will it make a flakey mess, you’ll also destroy it in just a few minutes with your needle.
A couple of other important supplies to have before you begin needle felting are:
• Wool that has been carded. It’s more fun to have several different colors.
• Felting needle holder, which is sort of like a pincushion for felting needles.
• Instruction book or video. This will help you learn the process of needle felting without struggling through the process the first time.
Extra Needle Felting Tools
Like any craft, needle felting is surrounded with all sorts of tools to make the job easier and more comfortable. These extra tools aren’t necessary when you’re just beginning, but if you want to really delve into the craft later, some of these might be nice to have. They can make the job go faster and make the whole thing more convenient. They are mostly for the crafters that are really invested in needle felting. Some of these helpful needle felting tools are:
• Finger gloves, which help protect your fingers from the extremely sharp felting needles.
• Needle felting machine, which allows you to make felt in a machine. This is most likely more useful for those selling commercial felt that need to make it faster.
• Fiber blenders, which allow you to blend small amounts of fiber, or to blend different colors together. This allows you to get more artistic with your colors.
If you’re unsure what exactly you need as a beginner, you can usually find kits perfect for beginners at most craft stores. These kits usually have everything you need to get started with needle felting, plus an instruction book or DVD.
If you’re interested in trying your hand at needle felting, make sure you have the necessary tools and supplies, first. If you get a kit, you can get everything you need to begin without worrying that you’re forgetting something. However, if you want to be more choosy about the needle felting tools that you purchase, you can get them all individually by following this list of essential supplies.