[Tutorial] Needle Felt – Totoro

So Hi,

As usual, it has been quite a long time since my last post.
I’m on break again, and I’ve actually taken up on needle felting.

I think needle felting is quite interesting because it’s almost like a mixture of the normal felting work I do, and also the clay work I do.

Basically, you take wool fibres (that may have been dyed), and you just stab at it with a barbed needle. What the barbed needle does is that it tangles the individual fibres together so you end up with a kind of solid piece of wool.

How “solid” or “hard” you want the wool to be just depends on how much you stab at it. You’re basically compressing the wool into a shape.

——————

At the moment, I don’t actually have all the tools that people use for needle felting, I only have one needle and a box of fibres.
I looked online for some needle felting wool and decided it was easier to just order it locally because overseas shipping would have taken wayyyyy too long.

FibreSampleBox

So this is the box of felting wool that I ordered. ($60NZD + $10NZD shipping $70NZD )
Since I’m only just a beginner, I bought a sample box of pre-dyed wool. (From this site here)

This box is the “Lights” collection of the samples. I thought that this colour range will suit my projects best.

FeltingWool

And this is what it looks like in the box.
Each bundle weighs about 40grams each. Even though it doesn’t sound like much, it will last a long time since you don’t need a lot at one time.

CloseupofWool

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So let’s start with the tutorial.
As with most things, I’ll make my favourite character Totoro from Studio Ghibli’s : My Neighbour Totoro.

Materials

Materaisl

CloseUpOfWool

  • Polyester stuffing
  • Dark, light grey wool grey wool
  • White wool
  • Black wool
  • Dark, Light, Green wool (optional for Leaf Umbrella)
  • Wire (optional for Leaf Umbrella)

CreatingBaseShape

  • Just like my clay tutorials, I like to conserve materials so I’m creating a base shape with the polyester fibre. This is up to you, but I’m doing it to save wool.
  • Stab at the wool to create a kind of egg shape

WrappingBaseShape

  • Take the dark grey wool

WrappingBaseShape

  • Take out some wool and cover the base shape fully

CreatingTail

  • Using the same dark grey wool, take a small bunch and start stabbing it to create Totoro’s tail.
  • Leave some loose fibres on the end so you can attach it to the body easier. This is similar to clay where I squish out the clay so it’s easier for blending.

StomachDetails

  • Take the white clay and create a white patch for Totoro’s stomach
  • Then take the light grey wool and start creating those details.
  • It’s not shown here, but essentially I roll up some fibres, place it where I want it to go and stab it to the body piece. If there is excess I just cut it off. (There will be an image showing this later)

AddingEars

  • Again with the Dark grey wool, take out some fibres
  • Stab at one end to create the ear shape
  • Place it on Totoro and attach it onto the body
  • In the last image you can see that I leave those loose fibres for easier blending. I trim off excess once I’ve blended a piece.

AddingEyes

  • Take the white wool and make two circles for the eyes
  • Take the black wool and add his pupil. (Actually this is more of a dark/deep red/brown since I don’t have black)
  • Using the take wool, create his nose

AddingArms

  • To create a the arms, take some dark grey again and kind of roll it up into a ball shape
  • Start stabbing at one end to create his arms, leaving loose fibres on the other for easy blending
  • Attach to the body

ArmsAttached

  • Repeat for both sides

Leaf

  • If you want, take your green and create a leaf life shape so it can go on Totoro’s head

CompletedTotoro

And this is what the end product looks like !

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Next, I thought it would be fun to make a leaf umbrella for him.

LeafMaterials

  • Wire
  • Dark green
  • Light green
  • Middle green
  • Polyester stuffing (optional, depends if you want to save materials)

To be honest, I wanted a more vibrant kind of green for his umbrella, but I didn’t get that in the sample box.

  • LeafUmbrellaSo take the polyester stuffing again, and stab at it enough to create a solid enough sheet
  • Then using scissors cut out a leaf shape, the size and shape is up to you. I think this lily pad shape is quite cute so I went with this.
  • Take the middle green wool and wrap it.
  • It’s not very clear in the image, but I took the wire and put it through the middle of the leaf. I also have two other wires in the sides of the leaf so I could give it more shape.

AddingDetails

  • Take the lighter green and kind of roll up the fibres (this is the technique I used for Totoro’s stomach details)
  • Place it on the leaf and hold the fibre in place and start stabbing at it
  • Cut off excess
  • Do the same for the other side except using dark green wool
  • Cover the wire (which is the stem) with dark green wool also

CompletedUmbrella

  • And this is what it looks like !
  • The shape is slightly strange because I was adjusting the wires to make it more “leafy”

Completed

And here it is all completed !

I’m trying to find a way to make the umbrella stand on it’s own, but for now this is what it all looks like.

All in all, this didn’t make me too long to make. I was absentmindedly stabbing while I was watching some movies hahaha.

I hope you enjoyed this post. I plan to make some more little projects and I’ll post them up as I make them.

Thanks for reading as usual,

-Cyn

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4 thoughts on “[Tutorial] Needle Felt – Totoro

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