Needle Felted Dolls

My mom reminded me that I made a couple of needle felted dolls a few months ago that I should post about.

I play tabletop RPG games with a group of friends, and before we started our most recent long-term game our game master asked us to find pictures to give each other an idea of what our characters look like. I would have liked to draw my own picture, but I’m not very good at drawing, and I looked a bit for a picture online, but couldn’t find anything I liked. I had also been thinking for a while about trying to needle felt human figures, so I decided now was as good a time as any to try it.

I started out with the head, because I figured the face would be the most detailed part so I wanted to be sure it was big enough that I could get the details on. Once I had the basic shape of the head I started the more intricate shaping of the face with the eyes.

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I enjoyed working on the eyes, but I think I should have done them last. And I had trouble finding a good skin color in my current wool stash, although I have since ordered many better skin colors. Trying to fix the color and shape the face while working around the eyes was rather difficult, but it turned out well enough.

Then I started working on the body. First I just connected the different body pieces to each other, trunk, arms, legs, and head. Then I started shaping the large blobs into more realistic body shapes. It’s a large project, and I tend to get a bit bored and ADD on large projects, so I added the skirt on and then went back to finishing the upper body, adding the shirt and finishing the shaping.

Once I had the body shaped, I went back and worked on the feet/shoes. Initially when I put the color for the shoes on the feet, it looked rather like they had been dipped in blood. Luckily when I added the white details they started looking solidly like shoes. The hands were the big challenge. I tried making them all from one piece and adding contours for fingers, but didn’t like that, then I tried forming each finger separately and putting them on the palm, but that really didn’t look good. Finally I went with a basically hand shaped piece where I added the thumb on separately, and put minimal shaping on for the fingers. They’re not as realistic as I might have liked, but they work.

I had some trouble getting the hair just how I wanted it, but it worked out really well. In the end, I felted a portion of it as a flat piece on its own, then felted the back portion of the onto the head, with the front part over the top of the face. I cut the front part into the shapes I wanted for the bangs, and intended to just leave them loose, but they looked like they would fall apart if they got looked at wrong. So, I felted them down a bit to the face, and it turned out really well, letting me get the contours into the hair farther up on the head too.

For Christmas, I also made a different doll for one of my friends in the gaming group. This one is based on her character from our last long term game. This doll is a bit smaller, and I started out with the body, which I think worked much better. The face is much less detailed, but the face wasn’t the more important part of this doll. The difficult part was the lower arms that stick out. I was sure that I could get them to keep their shape correctly without adding wire or something, and I did, but it took a bit of work. I’m quite proud of the flames in her hands, they turned out really well. They also made it much easier to deal with the hands, because I didn’t feel the need to worry about the detail in the hands since they were mostly covered by the flames. I was short on time when I made this one so I don’t have much for process pictures.

Now that I have more skin tones, I want to make more dolls. I told another of my gaming friends that I would make a doll of her character if she gets me a good description and/or picture of approximately what she wants, so if she ever gets that to me I’ll make him. I also think I may make some characters from some of my favorite books. I was inspired by these board books of classic literature that are all illustrated with needle felting (I thought I had posted about them at some point, but I can’t find the post. Here’s a link to their website). But I have lots of other projects I want to do too, so who knows when I’ll get to more dolls? I’ll post those when I do, though!

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