How to make needle felted animals

Learn how to make a needle felted cat, dog and bunny rabbit by following our easy step-by-step needle felted animal tutorial!

How to make needle felted animals

Are you looking for beautiful, free needle felting patterns? In this article, we have three stunning needle felted animals for you to make today! Designed by Gretel Parker, there is a needle felted cat, needle felted dog and needle felted rabbit – which is your favourite?

This trio of characters is fun to create and if you’re thinking of selling your makes, needle felted animals have a profitable price point. We think these adorable needle felted animals could mark the beginning of a life-long romance with needle felting and craft selling.

Just look at that adorable face!

How to make needle felted animals - needle felted dog

Despite these needle felted animals being rated ‘medium’ in skill level, the beautiful, fluid nature of this craft means the designs you create can be tailored to suit your own style, giving you the freedom to make whatever you choose into a gift that will be treasured forever.

How to make needle felted animals - needle felted bunny

If you fancy checking out our beginner’s project, check out our Beginner’s Guide to Needle Felting – also created by needle felting superstar, Gretel Parker.

Remember, these needle felted animals are not designed as toys or meant for young children. Always ensure your work is well-made and any loose parts are securely attached.

Check out Gretel’s website, for more goodies including Zoom workshops, books and lots of adorable felted animals to buy. Why not follow Gretel Parker on Instagram for more needle felting inspiration, and be sure to look out for her new book, Decorative Needlefelting Projects – 20 Seasonal Projects for the Home, published by White Owl Books as part of their new craft range, which is out later this year. We can’t wait to see all the glorious projects it has to offer!

If you’ve made these needle felted animals, why not share a picture with us on Facebook or post them on Instagram, we love to see what you make!

How to make needle felted animals - needle felted cat, front

To make these needle felted animals you will need:

  • 30g merino wool roving in white and pink (for bunny); fawn, dark brown and white (for puppy) and ginger and white (for kitten)
  • Small amounts of extra roving in all colours for adding spots, stripes and accessories
  • Small amounts of pink wool
  • 2 x 1cm (1⁄4in) looped black glass toy eyes
  • Strong black cotton thread
  • Pink embroidery thread
  • Felting sponge or brush mat
  • Felting needle holder
  • Size 40 or 42 felting needles (spiral or triangular)
  • Long sewing needle
  • Sewing awl or pointy scissors
  • 1cm shell heart buttons

Measurements

  • 9 x 7cm (31⁄2 x 23⁄4in) not including bunny ears
How to make needle felted animals - needle felted cat, back

How to make a needle felted cat, dog and bunny rabbit

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Total time:

Step 1

How to make the head

Take a 70cm (271⁄2in) length of wool in your chosen body colour. Muddle it into a loose ball, teasing the fibres apart. Begin working the wool with two or three needles, turning as you work, to ensure roundness.

How to make needle felted animals - step 1

Step 2

Continue working to shape a wide, oval head about the size of a large satsuma, approximately 7cm (23⁄4in) wide and 5cm (2in) high. When the texture is firm but still has some ‘give’ in it, then add the ears.

How to make needle felted animals - step 2

Step 3

If you’re making the puppy, add a round muzzle to the head, before adding the ears. To make it, use a pinch of wool and needle it directly onto the face using one needle.

How to make needle felted animals - step 3

Step 4

How to make the ears

For each pet, use two equal-sized tufts of wool. Shape them loosely on the felting mat using one needle, then join to the body.

For the bunny ears, double over two lengths of wool to create ears that are 3-4cm (11⁄4in) tall. Add a scrap of pink wool to each inner ear.

How to make needle felted animals - step 4

Step 5

To make the kitten’s ears, take a small pinch of wool and shape it to make two little cones about 1cm (1⁄4in) in height. Use one needle to add a tiny wisp of pink wool to the inside of each cone, for the inner ears.

How to make needle felted animals - step 5

Step 6

To make the puppy’s ears, take a pinch of wool and work it into two teardrop shapes measuring about 5cm (2in) long. Work the ears onto the top of the head positioned at the sides, so that they hang loose.

How to make needle felted animals - step 6

Step 7

How to make the body

Take a length of wool roving measuring 25-30cm (101⁄2in). Tease into a loose ball and shape it using two or three needles. Make a small, flat-bottomed hump, like a little hill. It should be 4-5cm (11⁄2-2in) tall and roughly 5cm (2in) across the circular base.

How to make needle felted animals - step 7

Step 8

To create the flat base, use your thumb and forefinger to hold the wool in a loose circle as you work and carefully needle until it holds the shape. You can use one needle for fine-tuning the edge. When the body is shaped and quite firm, add the paws.

How to make needle felted animals - step 8

Step 9

How to make the paws

Use two equal-sized pinches of wool for each pet. Double over and shape them loosely on a felting mat using one needle, before joining them to the body. Use the photograph below as a guide for positioning the paws onto the body.

How to make needle felted animals - step 9

Step 10

How to make the tails

Tails are easy! Just use a small tuft of wool for each tail – a little more for the bobble tail on the bunny. Use one needle to shape and attach the tail to the body.

How to make needle felted animals - step 10

Step 11

Joining the head to the body

Use a spare needle to hold the two body parts together while you work. Take several short lengths of wool, 10-15cm (4-6in) long, and work them onto the neck area to fix the head to the body. The wool should lie vertically, across the neck join, from head to toe.

How to make needle felted animals - step 11

Step 12

Continue this process all the way around until the head is firmly attached to the body. Needle in the ends of the loose fibres, wrapping them around the rest of the body.

How to make needle felted animals - step 12

Step 13

If you want your character to have a winsome tilted head, then simply hold the head at an angle while you work.

How to make needle felted animals - step 13

Step 14

Body markings

Use wisps of wool and one needle to add the body markings. The puppy and kitten both have white tummies that are made using a fat tuft of wool.

How to make needle felted animals - step 14

Step 15

Make the bunny’s tummy patch by shaping a heart from pink wool roving and working it onto the tummy using one needle.

How to make needle felted animals - step 15

Step 16

How to make the eyes, mouths and noses

Drill eye sockets using an awl. Use two lengths of black thread to sew in the eyes. Sew in the first eye by threading the two loose ends onto a long needle, insert into the eye position and take the thread through to the back of the head, pulling the eye into the felt. Repeat with the second eye, bringing the threads out at the same point.

How to make needle felted animals - step 16

Step 17

Tie all the threads together with a good, tight knot, making sure that the eyes are sitting tightly in their final positions. Rethread the needle and then bring the ends of the threads out of the body, away from the knot.

How to make needle felted animals - step 17

Step 18

Use a scrap of wool to make the wool noses, using one needle to needlefelt
the nose in position on the face. Use pink embroidery thread to sew on the mouth with two straight stitches.

How to make needle felted animals - step 18

Step 19

Or, you can add super-cute noses and mouths using pink embroidery thread and a few simple stitches.

How to make needle felted animals - step 19

Step 20

How to make the extras

To make the flower, shape a little pinch of wool into a ball on your felting mat, then sew a small bead to the centre. Needle it into position, then finish off the shaping.

How to make needle felted animals - step 20

Step 21

To make the kitten’s ball, loosely sculpt a ball on your felting mat, before needling it onto the body and finishing off the shaping.

How to make needle felted animals - step 21

Step 22

Use a skinny strip of wool about 20cm (8in) long to add a smart collar to your pet; wrap it around the neck a couple of times and fix it on using one needle. Sew on a sweetheart tag to finish it off.

How to make needle felted animals - step 22

Step 23

To get a smooth look to your characters, carefully go over the surface of your pet using one needle to even out any bumps and crevices. This takes a little time, but it is well worth it for a professional finish.

How to make needle felted animals - step 23
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How to make needle felted animals - portrait