Skill level: Complete Beginner
How to Needle Felt a Simple Bowl
Around $20 – $25 depending on how much you want to spend.
Approximately 2 hours
If you’re completely new to this craft you may be wondering what needle felting actually is.
Needle felting or dry felting as it’s sometimes known is simply the process of tangling together the loose fibers of wool roving with a barbed needle. Poking the fibers multiple times, compacts the fibers, crafting them into a dense material that has structure and form.
You can create some amazingly creative and beautiful items from intricate miniature animals to jewelry, toys, home accessories and more.
Like everything else, it’s a skill that takes practice but you really don’t need to be an expert at needle felting to make something that you can be proud of on your very first try. And that’s precisely what’s so rewarding about this hobby.
This sweet little bowl is a super-easy way to start learning the craft. We have provided all the instructions you’ll need.
And if you feel inspired head over to our reading room where you’ll find some great needle felting book recommendations.
In this easy tutorial, we will be using a needle felting pen that comes installed with 3, size 38 needles. It’s a good all round tool that you can use for tons of different projects. The pen will help speed up the felting process as working with three needles is always going to be faster than one.
For working on finer details or for defining shapes, you can simply remove one needle and work with just two. You will be using 3 needles for the main bowl in this tutorial and 2 for the heart detail.
Although it is a good idea to invest in a good felting mat – you can just use a thick folded towel to save a few dollars while you try your new hobby out.
Step 1: Prepare the Roving
Pull around 1/4 of your wool roving away from the rest and set it aside.
Step 2: Form the Bowl Shape
Wrap the larger piece around the ball as neatly as you can. This will make the roving easier to work with during the felting process. Don’t worry about thin spots as it’s easy to add more roving over the top later.
Tear away any excess wool and set it aside. You can see roughly what you should be aiming for in image 2 above.
Step 3: Start Needle Felting
Poke the roving all over with your felting needle, working in small sections at a time.
The trick is not to stick the needle in so far that it stabs the ball or your bowl will be difficult to remove.
Working at different angles so that your needle only goes onto the wool each time works best. Be gentle and be careful not to poke your fingers.
As you continue to poke you will notice the roving starting to felt. Make sure to felt well around the rim of the bowl too(shown in image 3).
For any thinner areas simply add a layer of roving over the top and felt it to blend in.
Step 4: Needle Felt Inside the Bowl
After about an hour, your bowl will start to look felted.
Now you can carefully remove the ball. It should come away quite easily. You can pick out any bits it leaves behind inside your bowl.
Next, you will need to repeat the felting process for the inside of the bowl too.
Make sure you work over a thick folded towel or preferably a felting mat and don’t poke too hard. Remember, your needles should only go in as far as the felt itself if they hit something they could break or cause damage to whatever they stab into.
Step 5: Make the Heart Shape
Now let’s add the heart. This is a great way to practice with something a little more detailed – and don’t worry about ruining your bowl, you can always pull the heart away if it doesn’t look right and you need to have another go.
Ok, let’s get felting again. For the heart shape, you will first need to make a couple of loops with a little spare roving. Tuck the excess up and behind the loops to make a very rough heart shape. You can see this in image 5 above.
With just two needles, start to poke around the shape until it sticks to the bowl and then shape it by poking around the edges to fix it and add definition.
Step 6: The Finishing Touches
If it looks a little lopsided, take some fine wisps of roving to build the shape up and even it out. When it’s felted to the same texture as your bowl you’re done.
And there you have it! A practice piece that you can be proud of.
If you followed this tutorial and made a bowl of your own, I’d love to hear how it went. Please do leave me a comment, or, better still, send me a pic and I’ll post it here.
Now all you need to add is your free printable handmade label.
Raymond (Ray) Knight says
Hello there Comfey Zen,
Upon my timid request as a nine year old boy my grandma agreed to teach me to knit.
Now, as a seventy nine year old my hobby for all things fibre related is becoming much more of an insatiable passion.
I have also enjoyed 40+ years of hand spinning and yearn for someone to teach me crochet, Navajo weaving and yes, now also needle felting.
I wish to ask please if it is at all possible to create a 3D like image of people ìn a landscape setting?
More to my point: I have a vision in my mind to create a biblical scene for our church which I’m quite certain would take even a very experienced needle felter more than a year to complete.
Please let me know of your thoughts.
Am I biting off more than I can chew ‘as the saying goes?’
Thanking you in anticipation
Comfy Zen says
Hi Ray, Thank you so much for your question. You sound very creative to me and with 40+ years of experience with hand spinning and the fact that you can knit! I think your idea sounds fabulous. It’s possible to create 3d “paintings” with fiber and once you get the hang of needle felting you’ll find it’s quite easy to mold shapes so landscapes can work really well.
That being said. I would try a small scene first and I do recommend you look up some helpful YouTube tutorials to get you started and to give you some ideas (here’s just one example) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cf5T8_iewY.
I use YouTube quite a lot when learning a new craft. I am just learning to crochet myself (after a week of trying and unraveling and starting again I am now actually crocheting my first, very simple sweater).
With regard to your biblical scene (which I’m sure your church will love and greatly appreciate), one thing I would say is that you may find it easier (and in the end get a better effect) if you don’t go too detailed, for example, with facial features. As you can see on my, fairy gift ideas guide here, https://comfyzen.com/fairy-gift-ideas/ that you can portray expressions really well without any feature at all.
I hope that helps, best of luck! and if you have a go, please do send me a picture and I will post it on my site.