A friend came over last week to do some needle felting together. She wanted to do owls, so I came up with an approach to making the armature and we got started. That day, we were able to make the polymer clay eyes, beaks, and feet and construct the armature, but we didn’t get to felting since just the armature took all day.
Wrapping the armature with strips of wool felt really helps with the initial felting. The wool felt strips provide a base for the wool felting fibers to stick to. For all but the last 1/4″ to 1/2″ of felting I use “core wool” from Living Felt (http://www.livingfelt.com). The core wool is very nice, but is not dyed and not quite as fine as the wool felting batts. But, most importantly, it’s less expensive. I know of people who use polyester fiber for the inside of their felted pieces but I want my pieces to be all wool. And as far as the felt strips around the armature are concerned, I’ve found that the felting wool just doesn’t stick very well to acrylic felt. So it’s all wool for me!
I’m happy with my little blue owl, but I have some improvements in mind for my next one. The most important is how I attach the feet to the overall armature. I built the feet over craft wire for strength, but then left about a 4″ piece sticking up out of the top of the leg. I wrapped the craft wire around the thick wire in the armature and hot-glued it. But I think the join should be stronger, so I need to rethink that. Also, I’d like to improve the eyes. I want them a lot shiner, but I want to stick with polymer clay (that is, avoid buying glass eyes) because I can custom paint them for the individual owl.
“Baby Blue” was lots of fun to make and I’m planning to make more of these little guys!