How to make a needle felted dog

01 July 2015

Read Judi McGetrick's tutorial to find out how to make these charming needle felted dogs using wool, foam and thread.



I have made a white and brown terrier here but, once you get the idea, you can adapt the needle felting technique to make any dog you wish.

You will need

  • I use mostly British wool, sold for needle felting by online suppliers (check out thefeltbox.com). Choose a coarse variety in white and brown.
  • Felting needles (coarse and fine)
  • Embroidery thread, needle and small black beads for eyes
  • A square of dense foam to work on

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How to make

Step 1

Take a large handful of white wool (about 20g). Divide it into about 10g for the body, about 1g for each leg and the rest for the head. You will need very small quantities of brown for the ears and tail.

Step 2

Start with the large (10g) quantity: squeeze it together as tightly as possible and, using the coarse needle, pierce it continually, working round it to form a 'sausage shape'. You will need to rest it on the foam to avoid stabbing yourself! Initially it takes a lot of ‘stabbing’ but eventually it will start to firm up. The more you pierce it, the firmer it becomes. Aim for a piece about 7-8cm (2¾-3in) long and about 9-10cm (9½-10in) in circumference.

Step 3

Taking each of the small quantities, form them into small, fat pencil shapes and stab them similarly until each becomes firm. The legs should be about 3cm (1¼in) long; discard the excess. Leave the wool slightly looser at one end of each shape and holding this end at the body, pierce through leg and body until the limb is attached.

Step 4

Take the head wool and stab it, trying to form a narrow end as the muzzle, a wider flat section for the forehead and a round neck section. Leave the end of the neck section looser and join it to the body by, again, plenty of stabbing.

Step 5

The tail is a small sausage of wool, pierced until firm and attached at a jaunty, upright angle by more stabbing.

Step 6

The ears are made of very small triangles. Stab as before and attach facing forward on the head, by piercing through ears and head. Attach the ears only along the wide length, leaving the narrowing ear free.

Step 7

Use the fine needle when you feel the shapes are becoming very dense and resistant and to make details, such as a 'step' between the muzzle and forehead.

Step 8

If you have a tiny extra bit of brown wool, work it to a small patch and attach it to either the forehead or somewhere on the body.

Step 9

Embroider a nose and mouth in black thread and stitch in small black beads for eyes.

About Judi McGetrick

Judi McGetrick appeared in the July 2013 issue of Saga (New Altruists) as part of our feature on altruistic kidney donors. Although donations through giveakidney.org are anonymous, Judi, who decided to give a kidney after learning that the body can work just as efficiently with one, is delighted to know that her recipient is now leading a normal life.

Judi works to commission, selling her felted animals online and through four galleries. Occasionally she takes a stand at a fair. Her website is 101dogsandapanda.com.

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