These directions are photograph intensive. Please be patient while they download.
1. You will need the following:dyed wool, felting needle, wool ball for a form, a pillow or foam pad. I put a folded newspaper under the foam pad I was using, to protect the table and the needle.
2. Here I have started to wrap the wool ball in the red roving. I want to cover the ball completely, and evenly. When I start to felt, the wool will shrink somewhat, so I want to put enough red wool on so that the white ball can’t peek through later.
3. Here is how I hold the needle when I am felting. I want to keep my fingers out of the way of the needle at all times. The needles are very sharp and can draw blood if not used carefully.
4. Now I start to felt the ball, by jabbing and poking the needle into it. It is not necessary to imbed the needle up to the hilt. It only has to go in up to the depth of the barbs (usually the bottom 3/8″). I secure the wispy end of the roving first.
5. Keep punching! Here I have needle felted about one quarter of the ball.
6. Another view of the first felted quarter.
7. Continue to needle felt the ball until the red is secured to the form and dense.
8. Now, by intensely felting in one area, we can make a groove length-wise down the “back” of the bug, to create the impression of the wing/shell division.
9. I pull off a piece of black roving and wind it into a ball for the head.
10. Now I start felting it with the needle. Because the head is smaller than the body, it is harder to hold onto and still keep my fingers out of the way of the needle. Be careful! Remember to turn the head as you felt it, so it doesn’t stick to the pillow or pad, and so it keeps a roundish shape.
11. By comparing this photo with the last, you can see how the head is beginning to felt down in size.
12. Now I apply it to the body, concentrating the felting on the edges of the head where it meets the body.
13. Another view of the needle as I am attaching the head. I want a very good join on the edges.
14. The ladybug has a head!
15. Now I set the bug aside to start making the “spots”. I pull out wisps of black roving, and roll it around my finger.
16. Four “spots” ready to be felted.
17. I felt the spot by punching down into the spot and the pad (or pillow). I pay careful attention to the edges, making sure they are distinct. Sometimes I pull a wisp of wool that sticks out from the edge in towards the spot, and felt it down.
18. When I pull the spot off the pad, the back side is wispy. That is okay, as we will take advantage of that to make a good join to the body.
19. I place the spot fuzzy-side down on the bug body, and start to poke it all over with the needle. Again, I pay special attention to the edges of the spot, so they become tightly felted to the body. I don’t want loose spots on my ladybug!
20. I felt the spot all over, to insure a good join, and to make sure the spot is the same density as the body – maybe even a little more dense.
21. Here is a side view of the spot, showing that it is level with the rest of the body, and doesn’t stick beyond it.
22. Continue to felt the spots and apply them to the bug. I made four big spots, but you can apply any size or number that appeals to you.
23. Just make sure they are all well-attached.
24. Now, for the “breastplate”, I take a wisp of black roving and fold it into a piece that is bigger than the bottom of the bug, to allow extra for the shrinkage.
25. The wispy ends are folded under, and it is ready to felt.
26. I felt down into the wool and the pad.
27. Again, pay careful attention to the shape of your edges, to keep them firm and neat. Watch your fingers!
28. When the breastplate is felted down and the edges neat, apply it to the bottom of the bug.
29. Just as with the head and the spots, the edges are the crucial join areas.
30. Carefully felt around the breastplate, securing the edges all around.
31. You can tug and pull on the black, or push it, to make it meet the imaginary line you visualize between the body and where the breastplate should go.
32. Now, felt all over the breastplate, to secure it and make it dense. Don’t poke the needle all the way through the body, though (as pictured), or the black will begin to show where the needle comes out.
33. The breastplate has been fully attached and felted down.