Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Tuesday Tutorial with Becky from Cotton Picking Primitives

Needle Felting Doll Hair

Here is one of my finished dolls with the natural wool hair.
I wanted to share the needle felting technique I used to give my dolls their unique look.
I tied a few strands with some torn rag strips on this doll.
I purchase my natural mohair (goat's hair) from DJ at Dark Forest Folk Arts http://DarkForestFolkarts.etsy.com,.
This is about 2 oz, and it arrives washed, and ready to separate.
Some of the strands are longer than others. I use the shorter ones for bangs, and filling in any bare spots. You can also lengthen some of the strands sometimes by twisting the fibers together, and pulling gently on the ends.
There isn't any particular size needle that works better, but I usually use a 38 gauge triangle point (medium coarse), and it works fine.BE VERY CAREFUL WITH THESE NEEDLES-THEY ARE VERY SHARP!One wrong jab and you can cut your finger.
Any kind of wool will work because it has microscopic scales, like a fish, and the technique of jabbing the wool into the fabric catches those small scales on the fiber, and pushes it below the fabric surface, and locks it into place. I find the process very relaxing.
Just grab a hank of hair, and pay attention to which direction it grew on the animal, and start poking the end which was attached to the animal into the fabric. 
Depending on the kind of wool, I jab about 1/8 inch apart on each piece of hair, and give it a gentle tug to make sure it's attached.

I like to start at the front of the head, and continue across the front, and then turn that section that is finished,upside down, toward the face, and add the next row behind this. Continue unwil you are satisfied with the amount of hair.
Here is a view of the back of the head once I finished felting the hair in place. You'll notice I do not paint the area where the hair will hide the fabric, it makes the fabric too stiff, and may break your needle. I have had that happen.
I used different tones to give her a sun bleached hair look. I trimmed the ends to make it look more groomed.
Here is Cotton Picking Sally, all finished!

Thank you for sharing this fun tutorial Becky!
You can visit Becky here:

1 comment:

WoolenSails said...

Great tutorial. I do have roving and never tried it in fabric like this, will have to try some on my doll.