Laurie Paulik of Colorado shared some of her wonderfully realistic needle felted birds with us, and also shared some of her techniques for making the bird legs, feet and eyes.
“These are just a few of the birds I have made. I am a long-time birder, as are many of my friends to whom I give the birds as gifts. Because of my appreciation for the birds I see in the wild, I like to make my creations as realistic as possible.
The hardest part of making the birds, after getting the shape right, is to make the legs! My auto-mechanic brother-in-law figured out how to twist 4 wires together evenly, using a clamp at one end and a small hand drill (with the 4 wires inserted instead of a drill bit) at the other. This technique allows you to make legs of almost any length and to use the ends to bend as wanted into the 4 claws. The 4 strands are either floral wire or other types of wire. Learning how best to make all parts of the birds (bodies, tails, wings, eyes, beaks, legs, etc.) and attach them was certainly challenging.
Materials used include: wool roving, brown floral stem wire or other wire (mostly 22 gauge), spray paint (if I need legs other than brown ones), black beads or glass eyes, Sculpey III clay polymer for some of the beaks, toothpicks inserted into clay before baking( so I can stick other end into bird head to attach beak, Fray Check (to stop the fraying of the cloth covered floral wire at the tips of the bird’s toes), E6000 glue to attach legs, X-Acto knife for making holes for bird legs or for glass eyes, and thread if I am using beads for eyes rather than glass eyes.”
Thanks to Laurie for sharing her methods!