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Fall Felting Tutorial: Make a needle felted leaf brooch

This is a write up from our fall needle felting workshop on Saturday October 17, 2020. Nadine Papp led us through the step by step process of creating a felt brooch using a leaf shaped cookie cutter. I had the pleasure of following along and took notes as we went. We know there are a few folks out there who would have liked to join this workshop. Hopefully this tutorial will inspire you to pick up a needle and try it at home. Please note that this craft is best for ages 12 and up – the felting needles are quite sharp!

– Shannon Quigley

Make a felt brooch

Make a needle felted brooch with a cookie cutter!

Materials:

  • Wool for felting – Corriedale wool tops work well. Others like merino are better for wet felting. Here is a guide to different wools. Search etsy for corriedale tops or roving (you can filter by country if you want to find a Canadian seller).
  • Foam – Etsy also sells felting foam and needles
  • Felting needle – spiral gauge 38 is a good medium sized needle for quick felting
  • Leaf shaped cookie cutter
  • Brooch back pin
  • Needle and thread

Step 1: create thin layers of wool

  • Pull apart a very small amount of wool. Almost like a spider’s web.
  • Lay each piece down one by one to create your first layer.
  • Put the next layer down with the felt going in another direction.
  • Mix as many colours as you like.
  • Keep layering, with very thin layers going in different directions until you have a little bed that bounces when you press lightly on it.

Step 2: Start felting

  • Felting is the process of binding all your layers of wool together. Wet felting uses hot water and soap, needle felting uses a barbed needle.
  • *safety first* The needle is incredibly sharp and has barbs. Position your hands away from the needle at all times. Keep your needle somewhere safe – like tucked inside the foam – so it doesn’t prick anyone when it’s not in use.
  • Put your cookie cutter, cutter side down, on the foam pad and get your needle ready.
  • Lift your layers of wool and place them on top of the cookie cutter.
  • Start felting by pressing your needle into the wool over and over again. Start around the edges of the cookie cutter then work your way in.
  • The extra felt with gradually get drawn into the main cookie cutter shape as you work.


Step 3: Flip it over and felt again

  • When you’ve felted one side for a little while, remove the cookie cutter and peel the wool away from the foam.
  • Flip over your leaf, put it back inside the cookie cutter and repeat.
  • Start felting around the edges first each time you flip the leaf.
  • Repeat until the back that you’ve just peeled off isn’t as fuzzy anymore

Step 4: Neaten the edges

  • When you’ve finished needle felting, you can neaten it up by rubbing it in between your hands quickly. The warmth and friction will help finish the felt.
  • You can also put a little bit of warm water and natural soap on your hands to do a quick wet felt if you like.

Step 5: Add details

  • Add veins to your leaf by stitching or rolling and needle felting bits of wool in a contrasting colour

Step 6: Add a brooch back

  • When your leaf is finished – add a brooch to the back with a needle and thread. It helps if you keep the brooch back open as you stitch.

Step 7: Enjoy!

  • Wear your beautiful brooches around town or give them as gifts!

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