Needle felting is a dry felting technique that uses a small barbed needle to hook and bind micro fibres in wool and other natural fibres. The bonded fibres hold shape, enabling a crafter to form shapes of any kind.
Pierce the wool evenly and gently, using no more force or depth than the barbs on the needle. You should not hear your needle pierce through a foam work surface—that not only dulls your needle, but does not felt the wool. The more you pierce an area with the felting needle, the more bonded the fibres become, resulting in a felt fabric that can be as soft or firm as you wish.
When making felted sculptures it is both economically wise and efficient to use a core wool, or fibre that has been processed less than a typical top roving. A coarse wool with some lanolin left shapes very easily. Create your shape with the core wool, and use coloured top roving as the final layer(s) on the outside.
A felting needle: preferably more than one, in a range of gauges from fine to heavy. A 42 fine, 40 fine, and a 38 medium are the author’s preference, but there are no concrete rules. Each needle felt crafter discovers which needles work best for them.
Typically, the heavier the needle, the more it will compress the wool and flatten it, densely binding the micro fibres. The finer the needle, the more it will glide through the fibres, lightly binding the micro fibres. The finer the fibre, the finer your needle should be. Coarse wools felt well with heavy needles, superfine fibres felt well with fine needles. There are lots of variables, which gives each crafter a lot of freedom. Each can create different textures.
Core wool: or any fibre that can be used for the body of the strawberry. A top roving used for the coloured layer can also be used to build the shape.
Top roving: in colours strawberry red and leaf green. Top roving could be any breed; most often merino and corriedale are dyed and sold as “top roving” or felting wool.
A foam work surface: for making the flat green leaf top. It is encouraged that the technique of felting against a foam surface only be used when creating flat pieces.
Finger protectors: a sturdy soft leather is best, silicone works too but is more penetrable. Leather thimbles, old gloves, or made for needle felting finger protectors are highly recommended.
Optional: beads for seeds – a touch of glimmer and a nice finishing touch to any felted project. Create “seeds” by sewing beads (red, yellow, or pink: the choice is yours) in a diamond pattern using a beading needle and red thread. You could also use a couple strands of an embroidery floss to sew in textured “seeds.”