Hi crafters! I hope the joys of spring have found their way to you all by now? With spring in mind, I made this bright and cheerful flower brooch using the method of needle felting. If you’ve never heard of needle felting before it is the method of binding together wool roving fibres with the use of a special barbed needle. The barbs on the needle catch the fibres and as the needle is pushed in and out those fibres start to knot and matt together. The more you push the needle through the fibres the firmer those fibres bind together. Needle felting can be used for applique and making 2D and 3D shapes. This flower brooch is easy to make and is a great first project if you haven’t tried needle felting before.
To make the flower brooch you will need some wool roving (unspun wool) in various colours, I used merino wool in shades of bright pink, pale pink, light and dark green and a yellow. You can make the petals freehand or for ease you can use cutters to help you form the shape of the petals and leaves. The cutters I used were from my stash and I use them also for making clay flowers. I will focus mainly on how to form the flower with cutters but at the bottom of the post there is a quick description on how to make a flower without cutters. I used a petal shaped cutter, a circle cutter and a leaf cutter. You will also need needle felting needles. You can get needles in singles for precision work or you can use a ‘pen’ that can hold several needles at once and can help the process go a little quicker over larger areas. Tip: you may want to get a few needles as the needles are really fine and can break easily, especially when you are starting out. You will also need brooch pins and a dense foam pad.
To start, take a petal shape cutter and place on the deep foam pad. Take some wool roving and place it loosely in the cutter. Take your needle and push it into the wool inside the cutter, push the needle in and out of the wool roving at a slight angle and make sure you pull the needle out in the same direction as you pushed it in. This way the needle is less likely to twist or bend it which means it’s less likely to break. Keep pushing the needle in and out and you’ll start to see the wool fibres bind together. You can keep adding fibres as you go if you want to make your petal thicker. As you start to form your petals, you will need to keep lifting the petals up off the foam pad and flip the petal over (flip the petal and the cutter over at the same time), this is to make sure the petal doesn’t get stuck to the foam pad. Go carefully around the edges of the cutter as going in too heavy can break your needle, especially if it hits the edge of the cutter at the wrong angle. The more you push the needle in the tighter the fibres bind together and the firmer your petal will be. When your happy with the form of your petal you can repeat to make as many petals as you like, I made six.
When you’ve finished the petals you can start to form the leaf. Because the leaf has a more intricate shape I chose to use the single needle as it’s better for detail work, once the leaf was made I chose to take a very small amount of dark green fibres and pushed them into the leaf with the needle to create the effect of veins.
I used the circle cutter to create a base shape for the petals and leaves to be fixed to and needle felted roving in the same colour as the petals into the circle shape to create a base for the flower and a back for the brooch pin. The final shape to make is a ball for the centre of the flower. To make a ball take some wool roving and start pushing your needle into the centre of the roving, keep bringing the wool from the edges into the centre and keep flipping the wool over as you go, you will quickly start to see a lump form. Neaten the lump up by pushing and prodding around the outside of the shape until you have a ball shape.
To fix the shapes to the base all you need to do is place part of your leaf on the circle and needle felt onto the circle by using the same needle technique as before. By pushing the needle through the leaf and circle at the same time the fibres of both shapes become matted together, the more times you push the needle through the stronger the bond between the shapes becomes. The petals, leaf and centre ball all affix to the base in the same way. Before I added the centre of the flower I thought I would add some shading to the petals, so I took some pale pink roving and loosely needle felted it onto the petals.
To finish, fix the brooch pin to the back of the flower. This can be done by needle felting wool roving firmly over the base of the brooch pin onto the back of the flower, sandwiching the brooch pin between layers of wool roving and the back of the flower, and needle felting tightly around the bar of the pin base until it’s held firmly in place, or a hot glue gun works well!
To make petals without a cutter all you need to do is gather some fibres and loop them into a rough petal shape and start needle felting the fibres together, remember to keep flipping the roving over every now and again so it doesn’t get felted to the foam pad. The petal will quickly start to take shape, however you can further sculpt or alter that shape by adding more roving to certain areas and by altering the angle and direction of your needle for example, if you push your needle through the sides of the petal towards the middle you can ‘pinch’ that area. Once you’re happy with your petal, repeat until you have the number of petals you would like, use your first petal as a guide for size and shape to measure your other petals against. I needle felted a circle base to fix the petals to just like above, but you can needle felt onto premade felt too.