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Though technology continues to improve and change the very nature of our daily lives, hands-on crafts are still an attractive past time and many people still like to have a creative hobby or pursuit for their free time. One of the more recent types of crafting is needle felting. It wasn’t until the 1980s that needle felting was even a widely known creative pursuit.
Needle felting is unlike any other type of crafting. It is interesting to think about the evolution of this art form. The idea was hatched when someone realized that wool fibers could be woven together and literally stabbed into 3-dimensional works of art, and the creative possibilities are endless. The needle was a hooked needle from a felting machine, and the fibers were stabbed together to create tightly wound bunches of material that could be formed into very intricate shapes using the same needle.
Shopping Online vs In Store
As this is an art form that is just beginning to grow in popularity among crafting circles, it is can be difficult to find the supplies you need for a project like this. It is not as simple as going to the local craft store and buying a needle felting kit, though this is what you can do online. If you go to a craft store, you will likely find felting needles, but they are not likely to be the hooked or barbed needle that you need for what is sometimes called dry felting.
You may even find wool fibers that can be used in needle felting, but many brick and mortar stores charge a hefty premium and you can often find better deals and more variety on the internet.
Needle felting is a very open and broad way to make art. What is possible is limited only by your imagination. One of the great things about this hobby is that kits and materials are quite inexpensive online, making this one of the more affordable creative endeavors. There are several things you want to take into consideration when choosing the right kit for you.
What Supplies Do You Need?
Technically speaking, all you need to start needle felting is roving wool and felting needles. BUT! If you only buy wool and needles, you will learn quickly that a few inexpensive supplies can make your crafting much faster and more enjoyable!
Needles and Felting Handle
As I said before, it’s pretty obvious that you need needles to needle felt wool, but having a handle to hold your needles while you felt is so much easier on the hand. Definitely, if a handle is not included in the needle felting tool kit you buy, put one on your shopping list!
You will want a work space to felt on. Many sets include a foam block as a felting surface, but you can use a number of DIY options, such as a piece of Styrofoam or a large sponge, if your set of supplies does not include one.
While it’s not a requirement, many kits include a set of leather finger guards or ‘cots’ to protect those fingertips from needle pricks. They aren’t required, so it’s not exactly a deal breaker for me, but if you’re susceptible to poking yourself, make sure you have a pair.
Sharp scissors are typically included in tool kits to cut out excessive wool or clean up loose wool fibers.
This is a convenient little tool in many needle felting kits. It has a long pointy metal end that you can use to form a hole in your project. A common use for this tool is to shape eyeholes in preparation for plastic safety eyes (which may or may not be included as well).
These are small, plastic, pushpin-like eyes that can be gently pushed into finished felted wool projects, such as animal or human figures. They come in a variety of shapes and colors if you ever want to purchase more separately.
Not all starter kits for needle felting include roving wool, but it’s a nice bonus for beginners since it has wool to practice with. It will also give you a chance to work with the wool and get a feel for it. Some wool works better than others.
Needle Felting Supplies for Beginners
Paxcoo Needle Felting Kit Set with Case for Beginner
The Paxcoo Needle Felting Kit Set is an excellent starter case for the beginning needle felter and it is a great bargain. It is a high-quality set of supplies that comes with a convenient carrying case and all the basic tools you will need to begin needle felting. It should be noted that this is a basic tool kit, so it does not contain a lot of extras. You will separately need to buy your felting material, as well as any patterns you may want.
The kit contains a needle, finger guard, a wooden felting tool, scissors, a glue stick, an awl, two finger cots, and these are all contained within a convenient case. These are the basic tools of the craft that you will need to get started with this fun hobby.
OPount Needle Felting Starter Kit
The OPount Needle Felting Starter Kit is a great pick for someone looking for their first set of needle felting supplies. As an added bonus, but also includes a small sampling of roving wool and safety eyes so you can practice your new craft right away by making a small felted animal!
It should be noted that this is primarily a tool kit, and although it does come with wool, it does not contain detailed instructions or patterns. Don’t let that discourage you though. This is a fantastic set that includes your 6 starting wools, safety eyes, felting needles, wooden felting tool, leather finger cots, awl, and a pair of scissors, packed away in it’s convenient plastic case.
Julyshop 16 Colors Wool Felt + Needle Felt Tool Set
When it comes down to it, to do needle felting, you need your needles and wool. The Julyshop needle felting kit sticks to the bare essentials you need to get started; 16 colors of wool, 9 needles, 1 wooden felting handle, and a foam mat to felt on.
I love this set, because it focuses on the essentials. You need wool, which they give you 16 different colors to play with, you need needles tow felt with, and a handle and mat are luxuries most felters wouldn’t felt without. While there are other needle felting tools I would suggest buying to complete your tool set, such as this Pen Style Needle Felting Tool by Clover, but it’s not really required when you’re just stating out.
How to Use Your Needle Felting Tools
Stephanie Carswell from Hawthorn Handmade talks you through each tool you need to needle felt! Check out her amazing site for super cute animal felting kits and tips and tutorials for newbie felters!
Crafting hobbies are a great way to express your creativity and a wonderful way to spend your free time. There are tons of different hobbies that you can choose to pursue, and one crafting style that is growing in popularity is needle felting. With needle felting, you create three-dimensional objects using a barbed or hooked needle and wool fibers. These two things can come together to create pretty much anything you can imagine.
This is a varied and affordable hobby, but the materials are more easily obtained online than at a brick and mortar store. Any of the kits we reviewed above are perfect for beginners and include the basics that you need to start needle felting. Additional patterns and guides will help you expand your skill set and further increase the potential of what you can create.