Monday, March 19, 2012

How to Needle Felt a Moth

I'm going to take you step by step my process of creating one of my Death's Head Hawk Moth pins.  Prior to this process, I created my design and cut the pieces out of 100% wool felt.  To see that process, visit my How To Guide for a custom hair clip.  

A snapshot of my materials to start.  I use a small felting brush mat, and fine point felting needle.  Brown wool roving and wool felt pattern pieces cut and ready for assembly.


To start the body, I pull a small ball of brown wool and begin needle felting it to the body pattern piece.  I continue felting until it is the shape I desire, and is somewhat firm.


Here you can see the body shape nearly finished.


Now I add a ball of beige wool to begin the "face" of the hawk moth.


Next is a layer of cream on the "face."


To create the eyes, nose, and mouth of the "face," I make tiny balls of brown wool to felt into the face.  Poke the balls in carefully so they felt where you want them - they can easily shift during this process, making the face appear lopsided.




I then add some golden brown wool accents - the moth's eyes and some definition on the sides of the "face."

 Now that the faces are complete, it's time for the moth's body markings.  I cut tiny triangles of yellow felt to attach rather than using the wool roving.  Roving would be the better choice; however, I have not found a golden roving in the hue I desire.  So I have made do with felt.  It is a bit fibrous and breaks down easily, so you really have to finesse it into the body with your needle.



Now it is time to begin the wing details.  I use the golden brown roving from the moth eyes to make a nice texture on the top of the felt wing pattern pieces.


After the base texture, I build up a wing design using beige and brown wool.


I continue the design with pulled fibers of yellow felt.  This could also be roving pieces.



These wings are completed to my liking and are now ready for top stitching.


The bottom wings are a little different.  I start with brown base pieces and trim a yellow piece to make the wing.

I secure the yellow felt to the brown using needle felting - I don't stitch these down, they will connect well using the needle to incorporate the fibers.


I also add pulled yellow fibers to the bottom of the wings.  Now it is time for the wing details.  I twist a small section of brown roving into a yarn and needle felt it in place.  I create a wavy line design across each wing connecting the yarn with my needle to the yellow felt.



 These bottom wings are now complete and ready for attachment to the body.


Note:  Felting needles are extremely sharp!!!  You will poke it through your finger if you aren't paying attention! 

Now I am preparing the moth's antennae.  I take a long section of brown wool roving and make a sort of dread lock.  I roll it repeatedly between my fingers and against my palm until the fibers are heated and shrink together into a gnarled rope.  


I stitch the antennae to the head during my final stitching - applying the backing to the pin and enclosing all the seams.


I add wing details using a brown thread, adding definition to the wing pattern trying to follow a realistic shape.


Almost done!  I add a bar pin to the back pattern panel before I attach it to the moth body.


Final step - stitch all the way around the moth body, securely attaching the backing and enclosing the antennae within your stitches.


See more examples of my Death's Head Hawk Moth here.
These are some of the tools you could use to start your needle felting project - as you can see in the tutorial, I use the Clover felting mat, but you could also use the felting foam pad.  You'll also need some felting needles to get you started.  Happy felting!!

1 comment:

Sarah Mitchell Eggleston said...

This is AMAZING I'm having a blast making my moth!!! Thank you!!!