I stumbled across an inspiring website for needle-felting animals – www.Sarafinafiberart.com. Actually, I found her website from her Etsy shop, SarafinaFiberArt, which I came across when I was creating an Etsy treasury with a fox theme. (She sells a kit for making a needle felted fox). I was instantly attracted to her needle-felted animals and was excited to find several instructional videos on her website.
Then I noticed a lovely wool that she had for sale in her Etsy shop. She commented in its item description that she would like to make a bear from it. So I decided to follow her general method from the videos and make a bear from that wool, bears being one of my favorite animals.
Her first step is to make the armature from aluminum wire. I’m not sure what gauge she uses, but I had 16 on hand so that’s what I used. I found images of black bear skeletons on the internet and used those for reference.
Next, I made toes with 26 gauge fabric-covered florist wire (which she sells in her shop). I made the toes because I wanted to add claws and needed something to attach them to. I sculpted the claws from polymer clay, poking a hole in the toe end of each one, being sure that the hole would be big enough to slip over the twisted wire. After curing and varnishing the polymer clay claws, I glued them in place with two-part epoxy. Then, a la Sara, I wrapped the armature with pipe cleaners.
My bear has been at this stage for two days now because I’m a bit timid to begin the felting. But that’s the next step and hopefully I can get started on it tomorrow.