Hello Friends. :) I thought it might be nice to have some tutorials up for people just starting out with needle felting or perhaps people who are interested in how I make things. I've made a video tutorial below and you can find a written version underneath for those who prefer to read rather than watch!
For this style of Guinea Pig, it's important to note that I'm not going for realism and because of that you can use absolutely any type of wool and in any colours you fancy. I've chosen white and a lovely bright pink but you can go with more traditional animal colours if you prefer, I highly recommend experimenting to suit your style. :)
With that in mind, here's what I've used:
Merino wool tops in white, a fun bright pink, a lighter pink (for the nose and feet) and a very tiny amount of dark brown wool for the nostrils.
Needles are not very important but I would always recommend having 2, one for shaping and a finer one for detail work such as the nose and for finishing off.
I'm using (and nearly always use in my work) a 38 triangle and a 40 spiral.
Other materials not shown are: Small scissors, black thread, a sewing needle and onyx bead eyes. If you don't have beads for eyes you could use a couple of small pieces of dark coloured wool instead. Also something to consider is a felting surface. I don't personally use one very often, but they are recommended if you don't want to stab yourself constantly! (I'm used to sore fingers by now.) When I do use one I use a felting brush from Clover as I don't like the foam mats.
So with everything gathered, you'll start by preparing your wool. Because I'm using soft Merino wool tops and no core wool it is important that I gently tear my wool (into shorter lengths) and make sure that it is all going in different directions as it'll be much easier for the needle to catch the fibres when sculpting. If you're using carded wool, you can skip this step as it's already prepared!
Here's how my wool looks once I've torn and pulled it and placed it in all directions:
The next step is to roll your wool into the basic shape you'll be sculpting, in this case, an oval shape for the body of the Guinea Pig. Tuck in any ends as you go and try to make it quite tight as it'll require less stabbing with the and needle later.
Here's me mid-roll and then a few stabs of the needle to hold it in place:
After that, I take it into my hand and stab it all over until it's medium-firm. I turn my work very often to insure even felting and that's why I like the control of having it in my hand but for safety you can put yours on your felting surface and stab and turn. Bear in mind that as the air is removed and it firms up, your item will get smaller. Sometimes you'll have to add a layer of wool if it gets too small.
There's no set rules with needle felting but you can over felt and that makes it difficult to get details on later as the wool is too firm, on the flip side, if it's too soft your details will disappear inside your piece! I personally like my animals to have a little bit of squidge left in them when squeezed. :)
When I had felted till I was happy with both the firmness and size, here's what I had. I was comparing to another little Piggy that I had made another time. You can just decide as you go, it's so important to experiment as that's how you'll find your style!
Next step is to add a nose as I find it helps me with the eye placement.
So, take a tiny piece of pink wool and roll it flat in your hand. Then gently shape it with your needle and add it to the middle of the face on the front of your oval Guinea Pig body. I used my finer needle as it was such a small bit of felt.
After that, take 2 tiny pieces of the dark brown wool and roll them into tiny ball shapes for the nostrils. You have to be so careful as they can easily disappear inside the face if you poke too hard! Be very gentle with your finer needle and any stray fibres can be trimmed with your scissors afterwards, if you can't tuck them in.
Now I like to add the eyes. First, make an indentation where you want the eye to be, I make this quite deep as I like my round beads to sit nicely in the head. You can use a couple of pins with round heads to decide on your eye placement if you need to.
Once you've made both eye holes it might help to test the beads in the sockets before you sew them in. Just to make sure the holes are deep enough and aren't too wonky. I usually have to make mine a little deeper so they sit nicer inside.
If you're not happy make any changes and then take a piece of black thread, knot the end several times and thread your sewing needle.
Take the needle up through the bottom of the head and out one side of the first eye socket and then thread your bead onto the needle. With the bead on the thread, take the needle through the other side of the eye socket and put the needle through the head to one side of the other eye socket and pull the thread so that the eye sits in place. Then thread the other bead on and take the needle through the other side of the eye socket and out the bottom of the head close to where the knot is.
Knot the thread several times and thread the needle through anywhere in the body out the other side, pull the threat tight and snip close to the body and when you let go the end of the thread springs back and gets lost in the body.
Next is the fun part! Adding the markings. :) Feel free to do whatever you fancy here.
I took my bright pink wool and added a patch around one eye. I then added pink to his bum, middle of his face and I put a bit on his side too.
Now we're on to ears. Take a piece of the wool you used for your details and roll and flatten in the palm of your hand. This just pushes the fibres together a little bit and starts thto felting process. Then, pop it on your felting surface to felt it. Turn it over and felt the other side too. It'll have fibres poking out of one side, (where the needle has pushed through to the back) but roll and flatten in your palm again and it should be thicker and neater and felted. You can trim any loose bits if you need to.
To shape the ears, felt around the ear, making a neat round/oval shape. Then, poke into one of the sides in the middle to create an ear dent. It sort of looks like a love heart without the bottom pointed bit.
I skipped a couple of steps when taking photos, but I made a second ear and chose to make it white to match the body colour but you can make both your the same if you prefer.
I like to attach them to the head in an arch around the eye a few millimetres away.
Then all that's left is the feet! I made 4 small flattened sausage shapes for the feet and attached them one at a time underneath his body. I used my light pink wool, the same that I used for the nose. After that, you're pretty much done! Enjoy your newlittle friend! Why not make some extra to give as gifts? It's all good practice!
Thank you for reading and watching, if you liked this tutorial please let me know what you'd like to see next. If you didn't, please let me know what I can change for next time. 😊💜
Coming soon to the Riamelin Blog:
Needle felting tutorials! To start, I will be making a simple tutorial for those just starting out with needle felting. I will aim to have a written tutorial with lots of photos showing the steps and tools and also a video tutorial for those who prefer to follow along that way. :)