Craft

Materials: Needle Felting

The designer Maria Filipe Castro, as known as droolwool, shows us the extensive list of tools and objects that she uses to make dolls with felt, wool, and lots of creativity

Maria Filipe Castro is a toy artist, specialised in the design and production of characters and figures made with textile materials like felt and wool. She regularly exhibits her creations and sells them on her online store.

In her Domestika course, focused specifically on the manufacture of toys and animals through needle felting, this designer, as known as droolwool (@droolwool), uses different types of needles, brushes, wool, cutters, scissors, and other tools.

In the video below, droolwool shows us these materials in detail:

Basic kit for needle felting

Merino wool

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According to droolwool, Merino wool is the softest you can get and it is thus her favourite to mold figures from. Having all the fibers flowing in the same direction and a thinner thickness, makes it easier to work with and provides a better finish. The corrediale variety is another type widely used in needle felting, despite its thicker threads. Both names come from the breeds of sheep from which they are extracted.

Synthetic foam

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Widely used in patchwork, it is a practical, economical, and effective material for filling wool.

High-density sponge and flannel rag

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This is the base the needles will pierce during the process. The sponge needs to be tall and firm enough so that the needle doesn't go all the way through and onto the table–or worse, our hands. You can start out with the foam used to fill cushions if you want to avoid purchasing more expensive and sophisticated sponges at first.

Cover the base with a flannel rag to prevent the wool from coming into direct contact with the sponge while felting and getting stuck to the sponge. A practical way to remove these fibers is to use sticky rollers and fluffy bristle brushes.

Pet grooming brush

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Very useful for mixing the wool that you will felt.

Pliers, scissors and tweezers

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These simple tools have complementary functions. Pliers are used for several things: sculpting the felt into concave shapes, poking holes, or cutting tougher threads when undoing part of the process, for example. Tweezers help grip fibers and threads, and scissors, of course, are used to cut them, as well as for removing any loose ends on the final piece.

Felt needles and their holders

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There are needles of various sizes and thicknesses. They usually have an L-shaped base, which meant they fit better into the industrial machines for which they were created. Nowadays, this shape makes it easier to attach them to wooden supports that facilitate handling while felting, without hurting your hands.

There are individual or multiple-needle supports. The latter type is generally made of plastic and allows faster needle felting, the use of several needles simultaneously, and a comfortable grip.

Droolwool recommends always using the needle vertically and carefully. Although tough, it has a tip that can bend if poorly treated.

To practice, start with a 32, which is thicker and stronger. When you have more experience, you can move on to a 42, and so on.

Cutter

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Grooving and removing unwanted parts or loose ends are some of the possible functions of this important finishing tool.

Did you like these tips? Remember that you can learn to create cute dolls and small wool animals with droolwool on her course 'Art Toy Creation: Needle Felting Technique'.

You may also be interested in:

- Materials: crochet
- What is Needle Felting?
- 5 Punch Needle Artists You Need to Know

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