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3 Needle Felting Tips to Make Your Artwork Look Professional

Do you ever wonder how professional textile artists achieve a smooth, even finish to their needle felted artwork? Does your work look a little fuzzy, blobby or matted in comparison? Read on for three effective tips to get you felting like a pro.




1. Stab Sensitively!

Have you ever looked at your work and though "that looks a bit...stabby"? Have the holes made by your felting needle really left their impression on your work? The chances are that this is because when you stab down with your needle, you are forcing too much of the tool into your work.


Look carefully at this picture.


You can see the felting tool has a fine end but gets thicker further up the tool. During my workshops, I often notice that students prod really hard with their needle so that, not only does the fine part of the needle poke into their work, but also this thicker part too. This just isn't necessary. Only the finer tip of the needle contains the tiny barbs or hooks needed to achieve the felting process, so poking any deeper is not only wasted effort, but it is probably the cause of those obvious stab marks in your work. So ease back on how hard you apply your needle and try to only use the 1cm / 1/2 inch at the tip of the needle.


Take a look at this video of me working on a seagull picture to see this in action.




2. Less is More!

Felting is such an absorbing craft and it's easy to get carried away merrily felting until...wait...now it looks all stiff and blurred! This is what I call 'over-felting'.



If you stab too much in one area, your work can go from being soft and textural, to brittle and over-worked. If you often find that this is a problem, ease back on how much you prod your work. Bear in mind that you are working with soft, delicate natural fibres, so treat them with care. If you're not sure whether your work is sufficiently felted, give the surface a little rub. Does the surface layer stay put? Chances are you'll be framing your work, so it is unlikely to get much handling. As long as bits aren't dropping off, your work should be fine.


3. Final Trick

My final trick is handy if you want to minimise your stab marks, or soften up a slightly over-worked piece.


Take the affected area between your thumb and index finger and give it a gentle rub.



This should help to soften up your work and reduce the appearance of poke marks.


I hope you find these tips help you to create that professional look to your needle felted artwork. Tell me some of your top tips in the comments below!

© 2017-20 Tilly Tea Dance - Maxine Smith - Textile Artist | Textile Courses | Textile  Workshops | Shropshire, UK