Needle Felted Cat Tutorial

Back on Day 5 of KaCBW I posted this tutorial in just pictures. If you have some practice needle felting, I think that’s probably all you really need, but if it’s your first or second, maybe even third or fourth, project, it was possibly a bit confusing. So I’m going to give you the tutorial again here, but with words included this time. Before I start the tutorial though, a little background about it. I actually wrote it to be instructions for a beginner needle felting kit made by the lovely Lisa at Flickertail Fibers. We talked about it a bit and went with a cat as a good beginning project because it gives you a few different color options, even if you want to stay realistic and not go crazy with neon pinks or something, and it has several different shapes. I tried to make it a simple piece to make, but something a bit more complicated than just a round ball. The point is to give a person who is new to needle felting some direction on creating different shapes, like the long round tube-like shapes of the cat legs or the irregular shape of the body, and how to combine simple shapes to create the complex shape of the animal. I also like the cat design because it gives the opportunity for the person to play with adding different colors. I’m pretty much copy and pasting the original in here, with minor changes, so you will notice that it is written with the assumption that you’ve never needle felted before. Without any further ado, the tutorial!

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Begin with an oblong piece of roving approximately 1 and a half times the size you want your cat’s body to be. Begin felting the roving by poking it with the felting needle. It is not necessary to poke especially hard or fast, go at your own pace and be careful not to poke yourself.

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Poke/felt the roving until it holds its shape and has shrunk slightly, but not so much that it feels solid if squeezed

Now you want to flatten out the bottom end, at a bit of an angle. Either end can be the bottom, it’s your choice, so that the cat will sit nicely. The body of your cat is ready to go!

Next, you will make the legs. The legs are formed by creating little “snakes” of roving, this is easiest done by rolling it between the palms of your hands like with clay, and then felting these evenly all the way around. Be sure to compare the length of the legs to the body, so that they aren’t too long or too short. Every cat needs paws, so we’ll make those next. Start with a small ball of roving, just slightly bigger than you want the finished paw, and felt it just enough for it to hold its shape. Then felt the ball onto the bottom of the leg, this should flatten the ball out a little. If the shape doesn’t look right to you, you can always poke the roving more in one spot to shrink that spot down a little.

Attach the legs to the body one at a time by holding the leg where you want it to be and poking through the top of the leg and into the body. The more you poke the more firmly the leg will be attached. Don’t be concerned if this creates a dent where the legs attach, we will smooth this out at the end.

The head and ears are all formed in the same manner as the pieces you have just made. For the head begin with a ball of roving and poke it until it holds its shape, being careful to keep it round by poking evenly all around. The ears should be triangular, which can be a more tricky shape to make. It can be useful to poke from the sides, rather than just the front and back, in order to achieve a triangular shape. The ears are attached to the head in a similar way to how the legs were attached to the body. However, this time you will need to felt downwards through the bottom of the ear and into the head, this is easiest done at a bit of an angle.

To make it easier to attach the head to the body, you will want to make a small flat circle of roving, and then felt only the center part of that circle onto the bottom of the head, on the side where the head will attach to the body. Then you can use the outside edges of this extra roving to felt to the top of the body. You will also want to felt both down through the bottom of the head into the body, and up through the body into the head, in order to make sure the head is well attached to the body.

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The round head doesn’t look very cat-like, so let’s add a muzzle. Start with a small ball of roving, felted enough to hold its shape. Attach the ball to the center of the bottom half of the face, the ball will probably flatten out a bit in the process, this is okay. Then use more roving, small bits at a time, to smooth out the difference between the top of the ball and the rest of the face, don’t make them even, just make it a nice, smooth slope. This is the most difficult part of the whole project, so take your time and pay attention.

Your cat is almost done, but it needs a tail! Make the tail in the same way you made the legs. Start with a “snake” of roving and felt it all around until you have a long thin piece. Then you can attach it either curled around the cat’s body, or sticking up off the back. To make the tail stick up, attach it just like the legs, hold the tail in place and felt through the bottom of the tail and into the body until the tail is secure. To wrap the tail around the body you will want to hold the tail in place, and felt through the tail into the body all along the length of the tail.

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All that’s left is to add the details; this is where your own artistry comes in. The eyes were made with little balls of black roving felted right onto the face, and the nose is an even smaller piece of roving felted onto the face in a triangle shape. If you want to add a mouth, I would suggest twisting a long thin piece of roving between your fingers before felting it onto the face; this will make it easier to get a line. I thought the face looked good without a mouth, but you can make your cat however you like!

I also added some spots on the cat’s body. This can be done by laying a thin bit of roving over the body and poking straight through it into the body. Everywhere you poke will begin to stick the new roving to the body, so make sure you have the roving where you want it.

Once you have all the details in place, you can go back and do a bit more poking all over to smooth out any rough spots or funny dents. I also like to do this because it tightens everything down and makes the whole piece a little bit sturdier. Congratulations, you have finished your needle felted cat!

 

And just for you guys, here are a few extra pictures of the finished cat!

 

And that’s the cat tutorial! Generally I’m happy to have you share my writing in any way you would like, as long as I am credited, but I ask that you please don’t reproduce this tutorial, in whole or in part, because I did write it for use by Flickertail Fibers. But feel free to use the tutorial to needle felt a cat of your own!

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One response to this post.

  1. Very cute!!

    Reply

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