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Sarah's Bruins Sarah's Bruins
Wisbech, Cambridgeshire
Posts: 106
Website

I fancy giving needle felting a muzzle a go.

I've seen a 'how to' book for the basics, but unsure how to apply the felting to the head. Do you create a head without a muzzle (like a ball) or create a small muzzle and needle felt over it?

Many thanks!

Sarah x

desertmountainbear desertmountainbear
Bloomsburg, PA
Posts: 5,399
Website

I make a bear with a muzzle, although the muzzle is smaller than what I would like it to be.  I have a tutorial on my blog if you would like to see.
http://desertmountainbear.blogspot.com/ … orial.html

Hope this gives you a better idea,
Joanne

Sarah's Bruins Sarah's Bruins
Wisbech, Cambridgeshire
Posts: 106
Website

Thank you very, very much Joanne  :hug: . That's fantastic.

Yours bears are beautiful.

You've made my day.

Sarah x

BeauT Bears BeauT Bears
Rotterdam
Posts: 190

Hi, I make the bear head as I ususally do, so with muzzle, and then felt onto the fabric. When felting the snout I always stuff the snout with wool. This way the felting wool attaches to the stuffing wool through the fabric and as a result it doesn't move around the snout once finished. I don't felt the nose, I embroider them. I use a similar working method as Joanne.
Here's a pic of Fiona, one of my bears (alpaca) with needlefelted snout.

Fiona_0277_portrait_600x600.JPG

desertmountainbear desertmountainbear
Bloomsburg, PA
Posts: 5,399
Website

Stuffing the snout with wool is a very good point Marianne.  I do that too.  I do think that is helps lock everything together.  As I felt I can feel that wool in the muzzle hardening up.

Joanne

thondra rosenheim / bayern
Posts: 311
Website

my first 2 heads i made the heads like balls and then felted the face on.
my avatar being the first one here.

the last teddy i did like joanne - a normal head with a slightly smaller snout and felting onto it.
i do have some problems with this method though... so i try now again with a ball head.

rkr4cds Creative Design Studio (RKR4CDS)
suburban Chicago
Posts: 2,044

Sarah, you can't go wrong with listening to these voices-of-experience as your general guides and then experiment on your own (perhaps on some heads that you've discarded because they didn't turn out for other bears as you hoped they would?) to find your own methods of working and that special Sarah-Look.

If you have an extra head to practice on that's a good place to start.
If the muzzle is your usual size, by the time you add on fiber it will be too large and out of proportion to the rest of the face.

Making the muzzle slightly smaller than you normally would to begin with is a good idea, because you'll gain confidence as you get used to needling onto fabric; at first you'll probably needle on only a thinner layer of fabric. Many people do this to start with. Later on some make a face with no muzzle a all (flat faced) and build a complete muzzle out of wool. 
But the more usual practice is to sew a smaller muzzle and as your confidence grows, begin to add more and more fiber, developing curves for cheek-lines, smile lines (as Martina has in her Avatar) even open mouths as Marianne is showing (beautiful too).
Joanne shows the whole technique in  her most-sharing blog)

One last note, remove all of the fiber/nap from the area that you'll want to cover with needle felted fiber. It helps the wool fiber to bond better if it's in continuous contact with the bear's fabric backing while needling. Either shave it off or pluck it out.
Please post pix to show us your progress!

cobblestonecreations Cobblestone Creations
Maine
Posts: 168
Website

Although I am nowhere near as experienced as the others who have posted here, I will offer one other idea. 

Even though the wool roving comes in so many fantastic colors these days, I wanted the needlefelted area to be an exact match to the mohair on my bears, so I took the scraps I had after cutting out my pieces, and using a razor, cut the mohair fibers from its backing.  I then used carding tools to get it to the consistency of wool roving.  It felted beautifully since it, like wool, is hair.

Francesca KALEideaSCOPE
Rheinfelden
Posts: 1,306
Website

I used the same technique when I wanted the teddy fur to 'blend' gradually into the needlefelted muzzle that was a contrasting color. I mixed the mohair hair with the muzzle wool, and the result was very good and natural.
It's interesting how we get to to the same things independently from each other!  bear_original

Sarah's Bruins Sarah's Bruins
Wisbech, Cambridgeshire
Posts: 106
Website

Oh ladies, thanks so very much!  :hug:

I actually have a discarded head, so thought I would give it a go. Thanks for all the tips. I'm now off to pluck a muzzle (which turned out too small).

I will try to remember to post how I get on!

Sarah x

rkr4cds Creative Design Studio (RKR4CDS)
suburban Chicago
Posts: 2,044

Great - we'll be peeking over your shoulder, urging you on! Don't forget that this is such a 'forgiving' medium. It can be pulled off/cut away, re-applied, added more on or taken away from——which is the advantage over fabric bear-creating——until you finally have created what you had pictured in your mind's eye.
Relax & have fun!

eddybare eddybare
cape town
Posts: 51
Website

have tried this method too, but at the end of the felting when i'm happy with the shape, I find that when i pull at the muzzle bits of it come out......this cant be correct. It seems stable enough but not convinced I'm doing it enough

does this happen to anyone else?

desertmountainbear desertmountainbear
Bloomsburg, PA
Posts: 5,399
Website

I am confused as to what method you are referring to here eddybare.  Can you be more specific as to what you are doing.  Bits of felt should not be coming out, so something is not right.  It sounds like you have not felted enough.

eddybare eddybare
cape town
Posts: 51
Website

Hi Joanne Ive followed your tutorial on the DesertMountain Blog but the minis i work on have such a small muzzle - just under a cm to work on, and I imagine i;m not doing enough "pokes" with the needle. I 'm afraid if i poke too many times that i will split the velvet and shred it......as this has happened a couple times.  Last time I tried stuffing the muzzle area with wool, rather than polyfil fibre thinking this would help the the wool to felt better but not much joy in the result.  I think next time I must try it on a mohair creation rather than a longpile velvet one.  I'll keep trying!

jenny Three O'clock Bears
warwickshire uk
Posts: 4,413
Website

One thing that I do...Joanne might do this too.. and it might help you..is that I start the felting off on my felting mat
( I have a Clover one like a big green brush but that's not necessary, you can use foam)..I make the rough size and shape that I want...the puppy that I just made ( on the showcase here)  has a needle felted nose and I made it pretty much on the mat first then felted it onto the nose area...then it became really firm and its really solidly attached.
I do this for feet and faces too...I just like to get it going on the mat first....i find I can be more specific about the shapes. I found this technique on You Tube so its not a secret...I think its a well used technique and suited me better.

eddybare eddybare
cape town
Posts: 51
Website

Will try this way too . Thank you so much.

desertmountainbear desertmountainbear
Bloomsburg, PA
Posts: 5,399
Website

Could be the wool, could be the needle size you are using on the wool you have.  I have found that I can not use certain needles on the wool I use, just takes too long to felt.  Some wools felt harder and faster than others.

I felt directly onto the face.  I use a #40 needle for the whole thing.  This is a very fine needle, it would takes many pokes to put a hole in the fabric, but if you are worried then by all means do it like Jenny says.

eddybare eddybare
cape town
Posts: 51
Website

I have been using a 38 triangular needle and merino wool.  Am going to press on and will try with the 40 only now. Thanks for the assistance.

desertmountainbear desertmountainbear
Bloomsburg, PA
Posts: 5,399
Website

I think that merino is one of those wools that take longer to felt hard.  I just did a google search, and yes it seems like although this is a favorite of many felters it just takes a little longer to get hard. 

So in that case, start like Jenny says, off of the head to get it going, and then when it starts to get hard move it over to the head to shape it, that may be the trick.

eddybare eddybare
cape town
Posts: 51
Website

Will do so . Thanks a mill

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