Miniature Needle Felted Sheep Tutorial

I love tiny sheep. They’re simple and easy to make, and after injuring the thumb of my dominant hand, simple and easy is exactly what I needed.

Sheep were the first things I ever needle felted, though my first was bigger than these will be…and looks more like a polar bear/dog than a sheep. Now I make these little guys that actually look like sheep and they don’t take overly long to make either, at least they don’t when my hand is actually working how it’s supposed to.

I mainly put tiny sheep in terrariums, or have them as earrings which knitters (or their friends) seem to buy. It’ll be interesting to see what others do with them.

Just a few of the terrariums I’ve made with these little sheep

I just find them so cute and they make me think of Wales.

So, I thought I’d show you how to make them yourself and do a bit of shameless self-promotion at the same time.

As I’ve already said, they’re quite simple and easy to make, however if you don’t feel like making them, but still want one, then I’ve got some available over in my Etsy shop.

Right then, let’s crack on, shall we?

The list of required items is wonderfully short for this;

  • White or natural wool
  • Black wool
  • Felting sponge/foam (I use firm upholstery foam, I bought a metre square sheet of it for a tenner and cut off bits as needed)
  • Felting needle (I’m using a 40 gauge needle for this entire project)
  • Optional – a small pair of scissors to trim any remaining loose fibres
  • Optional – pin
  • Optional – plasters (felting needles are sharp, always have plasters nearby just in case. You can try wearing finger protectors, but I find they make it difficult to work with small projects like this one)

Before we start I feel I must warn you again that the following project is very small and felting needles are very sharp and hurt like hell when they go through your finger. Please be careful, felt slowly and pay attention. Especially if you’re new to this and your hand-eye coordination isn’t brilliant with the needles yet.

Now on to the main event!

1. Take your white wool (the clump I used for this is about 8-9cm long) and roll it  up, tucking the edges in as you go. Every couple of turns give it a few stabs with the needle so it keeps together.

2. Stab your roll till it’s firm. Don’t just go for the middle, do the ends too till you can squeeze it and there’s little to no give in the wool.

Wool after being rolled and felted a little
Shaping the ends – obviously hold the wool when felting, don’t just stab at it and hope it stays still
When it’s finished it should be nicely rounded and about 1-2cm depending on how much wool you used

3. Put your finished body to one side and grab a little bit of black wool, roll it into a ball and felt it a little to give it a bit of shape before adding it to the body.

If you think your head is too small, just add more wool until it’s right.

4. You can attach your head in one of two ways. The first being to just hold it in place with your finger and stab it in…the wool, that is, not your finger. Or you can use a pin to attach it where you want it. If you use the pin method, just be careful you don’t hit the pin with your needle, the tips are surprisingly fragile, just felt around the edge a bit, remove the pin, and finish attaching it.

5. Now the head’s attached, your little sheep needs some ears. Take two little pieces of black wool, and when I say little I mean little, roll them a bit to get them into their vague ear shape then attach them, starting closest to the head so you know there’s no gap between the two pieces.

I’ve not cropped this image much to make a point – even I still keep plasters nearby. Even though I’ve not stabbed myself making these for quite a while, I always have a box of Elastoplast close at hand.

6. If you’re planning on having your sheep lying down, then you can skip this step. If not, then roll up four balls of black wool, similar in size to the head. Felt them a bit more than you did the head as you don’t want them loosing their shape and going flat when you add them to the body, saves time trying to add extra wool later this way. Again when attaching the legs, you can either use your finger or a pin. Try not to stab all the way through as black fibres will be visible on the back of your sheep if you do.

Using the pin method allows you to play with placement more than just holding the leg in place does

7. Finally, felt a little extra white wool on the back of the sheep if there’s any black fibres showing through, then with a small pair of scissors, general sewing ones work well, trim off any lingering fibres that you can see and you’re done.

….this looks oddly like a mug shot.

And there you have it, a miniature sheep to do with what you will.

 

I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial, let me know how you get on with your own little sheep?

(Ready for some more shameless self-promoting?)

Remember, if you want these sheep but don’t want to make them yourself, I’ve some available on my Etsy shop that are waiting for new homes.

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4 comments on “Miniature Needle Felted Sheep Tutorial

  1. Hollie, these sheep are LOVELY!
    I make small felt mice, a little bit vintage, all natural fibre……and I find it hard to fit them up yo make into believable characters. The one and only sheep I cobbled together was no fun so I will teach myself with your lovely tutorial.
    Where does one buy raw wool for the project?
    I hope your crafting life is as happy as mine

    • I’m so glad you like my little sheep!
      Honestly, for my wool, I just looked on my favourite shopping websites. The white I got from Heidifeathers over on Etsy. It’s a really nice natural coloured wool I use for my sheep and the cores of any larger projects. The black I admittedly got on ebay, from a seller called Fuzzy Farm.
      I hope you enjoy making sheep this time around, I know how frustrating it can be when things don’t match up to the picture you had in your head.

  2. hermosas y muy tiernas . Gracias por compartir

  3. these are soooo cute!!! thanks for sharing!

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