Tutorial: Needle Felted Wool Bird

Bird wall hanging from “Fuzzy Felted Friends” by Saori Yamazaki

I finally had time to play with my needle felting tools and try it out!  I wanted to start small, since I am new at needle felting and this project seemed perfect.  The pieces are small and simple and it doesn’t require a wire understructure like some of the other felted animals.  It is also super adorable and it could easily be made into a mobile, instead of a wall hanging.  

I made one bird and three of the balls to give you an idea of how to get started on your own.  I only have a few colors of raw wool right now, so I will need to order a larger variety of colors before finishing the wall hanging. 

My tools:


I purchased everything here at a Super Jo-Ann’s.  I had never been in one and I was actually quite surprised that they carried needle felting tools.  You won’t find them at a regular Jo-Ann’s. The brand of everything here is “Clover”

I have three colors of natural wool roving: off white, gold and black.  A package really goes a long way and after the project it looked like I hadn’t even used any.

I chose a pen-style needle felting tool.  I can switch between 1, 2, or 3 needles depending on whether I need to do delicate work, or cover more area.

I also bought a needle felting mat.  This worked pretty well, but I need to purchase a large sponge, also. The pieces tend to stick to the bristles, creating excess fuzz.

A small bowl of water with a little dish soap helps to smooth the wool once you are done needling and makes the wool denser. 

Making the bird:

First, take a length of off-white wool roving and roll it into an oval to begin the body of the bird:

Then, with all three needles in your pen, needle the wool.  You will begin to see the wool matte together and become dense and felted.  The more you needle a spot, the more it will indent.  I did this to create the curve of the back.  If an area needed to be filled out I just took more wool roving and needled it into the body.

Eventually you should have something resembling this:

Next come the eyes.  This is where the water helps.  I cut off a very tiny piece of gold roving and rolled it into a ball with my damp fingers.  I then needled it (with one needle) into the body until it was flat and circular.  I did the same for the pupil.

Some people also use tiny glass eyes, if you don’t have the patience!

For the beak, take a small length of gold (about 3″) and twist it and fold it in half.  I also wet the wool a little to make it behave.  Needle it into a cone shape, but leave one end loose and unfelted.  Once you are happy with the shape of the beak, firmly needle the loose end into the body.

Next, make the wings.  Needle the wool into a flat oval shape, leaving one end loose and unfelted.  Make two of these.  Below is a wing (you can see how fuzzy it is before it is wet and smoothed).  I think needling onto a sponge, instead of the bristle pad, would help this problem:

Next, attach the wings to the back of the bird.  Needle the loose end of the first wing around the bird’s body.  Needle the loose ends of the second wing into the first wing.

Your bird is done!!

I made the balls by rolling a length of wool roving into a ball and needling it until it was firm.   I strung everything together with jute twine.

Here is what I have so far:

In all, this took me about 1 1/2 hours.  Not too bad for the first time, especially since I was taking photos and taking my time.  I want to add more colors to the wall hanging, so once I get my new supply of wool I will post the end result!





2 thoughts on “Tutorial: Needle Felted Wool Bird

  1. Hey! Lovely bird and great tutorial. I’ll add it to my favourites for when I’m making my birds. The close up photos are really helpful. Will check you out again.

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