Needle Felting "Cheep", a Chickie in a Bunny Bonnet
Needle Felting “Dot”, our fun little bunny ball was first in a series of 3 needle felting tutorials based on an Easter theme. Next came our needle felting Easter eggs tutorial which shared a few more techniques. Now meet, “Cheep”, Dot’s best pal. This basic tutorial will utilize some of the techniques in the previous two tutorials, and will help demonstrate a few more fundamentals for needle felting little 3D animals and objects. We hope you have fun! For this project we used CW-1 Core Wool, MC-1 Mango and Canteloupe, Black Beads, Black thread, Pipe Cleaners, a skewer, felting needles, doll needle and needle felting foam.
Start by following the instructions below for needle felting core wool for the body into an egg shape and the head into a ball.
As in our Easter egg tutorial, cover the body and head with wool in the color of your choice.
Once the head and body are made, it is time for the wings. Draw a tear drop shape onto a piece of paper in the size of the wing desired. Err on the larger side, because once cut out, you can hold it up to the body and cut it smaller if desired. Pull off two equally sized tufts of wool about 2 1/2 times longer and 1 1/2 times wider than your template. Fold the wool in half lengthwise and begin needle felting in flat primarily right in the center. Let your pokes be shallow and do not attach the wing to the foam.
TIP: Make sure you have enough wool. If it feels thin when you fold it over, it may feel thin when needle felted. It is better to have a little more wool because you can really compact it down with needle felting.
Place the template on top of the wool and begin needle felting (sculpting) the wool by felting all around the sides towards the template. Continue working around and around, but leave the end towards the point loose and unfelted.
Flip the wing over and needle felt the other side as well. As your wing begins to get as small as the template, put your tempate on the foam under the wing and continue needle felting towards the shape of the template.
Now both wings are needle felted for our little chickie. Use straight pins to choose the position and needle felt the loose end onto the body.
Needle felting the ears. This is the same process used for bunny ball. Pull off two equal tufts of wool about 2 1/2 times longer and 1 1/2 times wider than the finished ears will be. Fold in half lengthwise and needle felt just
in the center to compact the fibers. Do not attach it to the foam.
Fold the sides in towards the middle and needle felt into place. Sculpt the ear to a point or rounded end as desired. Make sure to felt both sides of the ears, and leave the base unfelted for attaching to the head.
Add a little pink inside the ear if desired. Our black headed pins serve as place holders for the eyes. Position the ears and hold them in place with T-tacks or pins. Needle felt them onto the head. Add some more white wool
around the base of the ears, but do not finish the bonnet just yet, we have more to do. It is best to attach the head to the body before finalizing the bonnet so we can hide our joining threads. That comes soon.
To make the beak, pull off a small strip of wool and twist it around the tip of a wooden skewer or very small paint brush handle. Continue to twist the skewer and let your hands somewhat dry felt the wool. Slide the wool off the skewer and needle felt right into the widest part of the cone. This will compact the fibers by felting them towards the point of the beak. Because this piece is so small, we used our fine 40 gauge needle.
Now needle felt along the beak away from the tip at a very shallow angle. Do this all around the beak to make it nice and firm. Next, place the beak onto the face of your chickie. Needle felt it directly into the head. You
can compact the fibers into the head very well. Use your 38 needle for this job.
To make the feet, start by needle felting two very small balls. Next, twist a small amount of wool around a pipe cleaner, longer and slightly thicker than you want the leg to be. It helps to have the piper cleaner a few inches longer than needed so you have something to hold onto!
Using a very shallow angle, needle felt up and down and all around the length of the wool on the pipe cleaner. Make it very compact, even and firm. Stand the covered pipe cleaner up on your ball and needlfelt the two together as shown. If you have having challenges with the connection, wrap a small around the join like an Ace bandage and needle felt through it connect the leg and
Repeat for the second leg to make both the same size then cut the leg to the desired length. Use your ball head pins to choose the position, and needle felt the legs right into the body. Our chickie is meant to sit, not stand.
Attach the eye beads to the head with strong thread. See our bunny tutorial for these steps if needed. Attach the head to the body with a string joint. Use a darning or doll needle and some strong button or uphostery thread, or waxed floss. We offer a little detail kit here with eyes, thread and floss. Start with a very long piece of
thread, and your needle single threaded. Enter the body from the bottom up and slightly off center, run the thread up through the base of the head and out the top of the head just behind the ears. Leave at least 4″ of thread coming out of the bottom of the body. Re-enter the head approx 1/8″ – /4″ from where the thread came out, and run it back through the head and out of the body. Pull tension and tie a very strong knot. Just as you did with the eyes, cut the threads and cover the indentation from the thread with wool and needle felt it in place.
To make the strings of the bonnet, pull off a long thin strip of wool and roll it into a tube. Get it soapy and wet and roll it on your bamboo blind or rigid mat to very firmly wet felt it. Once it is dry, tie the ends into a bow. We did this by leaving it in one long piece, and then wrapping it around small plastic bottle to give a surrface to pull bow tight. It was too small to tie on its own, so the bottle helped a lot! Once the bow is in place, cut the wool off the bottle and needle felt it around the neck of the chickie and into the bonnet area. Now finish the bonnet by adding wool and needle felting it neatly around the face.
Here is Dot and Cheep, two pals so happy to be together now. Send us pictures of your Easter creations!