Making Of: Realistic Needle felted Dog -3. Core!
This is little more exciting bit, where I actually start stabbing things!
If you are already experienced at needle felting, I wonder if you got hooked by that feel and noise of stabbing wool?
There is something so soothing about it, I started needle felting when I was under a lot of stress at my day job in London, Wool stabbing quickly became my stress relief activity. If you haven't tried, I hope you'll know when you try it for the first time.
What you'll need
1. Felting Mat : This is essential from here on, my sculpture will be placed on the mat while stabbing, so needles don't get damaged. I do work off the mat holding sculpture in my hand to felt, this is when I usually stab myself and I do recommend keeping your sculpture on the mat as much as possible so your fingers don't become felting mat.
My favourite is rice bags, alternatively form mat is very popular too.
2. Felting Needle : I mostly use single needle for most of my projects, 36 gauge triangular and 38 star, these two needles are usually enough for me to make core. I rarely use multi-needle holder, but it is handy if you are working on larger projects.
3. Core Wool : Core wool is general term of carded wool batts that is suitable to form shape and structure. It doesn't have to come from certain breeds of sheep, or doesn't even have to be wool.
When I first made a wool dog, I didn't know much about what to get and where to get, so I used cushion staffing and it worked quite well. (although I suppose it will make it more flammable.. 🔥)
For a small size of sculpture (about 5 inch tall) , I use about 20g of core wool.
4. Fluff Grip : This made my life much easier! It is a very sticky substance I put on wire armatures, as armatures are made of smooth wire, wool need something to grip to when you are starting core.
I used to use pipe cleaner but it isn't great for small parts. This worked perfect for me.
5. Patience : You'll need it, you are compressing bundle of wool into solid shape with a needle!
No worries, I'm not particularly patient person, but somehow I'm not too bothered by this painstaking craft, so it must be the fun outweighing everything else!
(I will credit the suppliers of each tools and wool later on the post 😉)
Head separate or Whole body?
When making sculptures of dogs, you can either make whole body including head, or make a complete head and body separately, then attach it later on.
I do both but recently prefer making whole body just because I feel it's easier to get proportions right and sculpture's shape flows better. But as you know, there is no right or wrong way, just make sure to make them in correct sizes.
For this one, I'll be making whole body.
There isn't really a fast track on making good core, once I put the fluff grip on the wire, I will just start wrapping small amount of wool I pulled off from butts and slowly building in to the shape I want.
There are few things I try to keep in mind though.
- Follow the armature shape.
- Add small amount of wool at time.
It's easier to keep it in shape if you build it up slowly.
- Felt solidly closer to armature
Keep outside and moving parts slightly softer so you can easily manipulate the shape later on.
- Build body shape and contour based on muscle anatomy
Take a look at some reference image in my pinterest.
It appears that I cannot keep my hands in frame.. but here is the video I attempted to take, it shows the beginning of a front leg to shoulder.
I have felted around chest and shoulder quite solid compare to hind parts, this is because the sculpture will be in sitting position and it will need to be movable until the pose is fixed.
build rough shape of the head, Surface is quite soft as I'll have to work on details later on.
Feet will be added later on,
So this is it! core shape is done :)
Also here are links for the supplier I get tools from.
Felting rice pads and Fluff Grip : Flock2Felts
Felting Needles : Adelaid Walker
Core Wool : Fleece 4 ewe
Next post will be my favourite bit, face making!
Hopefully I can take better video then :)