Crochet Tips & Tricks
How to Create Stunning Details on Amigurumi with Needle Felting

How to Create Stunning Details on Amigurumi with Needle Felting

Adding needle felted details to amigurumi is becoming more and more popular and it’s easy to see why. There’s so many options for custom details and textures! Not to mention, it’s a craft that’s incredibly satisfying to watch. So if you’ve dipped your toes into the world of added needle felted details to your amigurumi, but you’re not sure what to do beyond the basics, don’t worry. In this article we’re taking a deep dive into materials, tips and tricks and more so you’ll know how to create stunning details on amigurumi with needle felting!

How to Create Stunning Details on Amigurumi with Needle Felting

Materials

In my previous article, How to Felt on Amigurumi for Beginners, I talked about the basic supplies you need, mainly being: a felting needle and wool roving. However, just like with crochet, there’s more to know about the materials.

Different Kinds of Felting Needles

Disclaimer: For this section I did a lot of research on different types of felting needles and by far the most comprehensive source I came across was an article from AboutWool. If you want to read this article for yourself, you can check it out here: A Guide to Felting Needles: Everything You Need to Know.

Felting needles come in different shapes and gauges and the different kinds effect your needle felting project. Just as your hook and yarn choice can vastly affect the outcome of your project, choosing your needles carefully can help you create specific effects.

Gauge

This refers to the size of the needle and an easy way to remember is: the smaller the number, the bigger the needle. (It’s basically the same as how gauge works for wire.)

  • 32-36 gauge: these bigger needles are better for felting large amounts or large areas of wool.
  • 38 gauge: this size is pretty standard and works for both large and small amounts of wool.
  • 40-42 gauge: these needles are smaller and work better for doing fine details without a bunch of holes.
image of felting needles for blog post
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.com.

Needle Shapes

Felting needles are specially shaped with little barbs on the sides that catch the fibers as you poke the needle into your project. However, the shape of the shaft of the needle and the number of barbs varies. Without getting into the weeds too much, here’s another basic breakdown:

  • Triangle: these needles are pretty all-purpose and work great for details.
  • Star: these needles work best for felting large areas.
  • Spiral: these needles are best for tiny details and finishing work such as creating a smooth surface.

It’s actually a little difficult to find sets of felting needles that actually specify the size, but I managed to find this set on Amazon. This isn’t an affiliate link, I just wanted to share the set I bought in case you have trouble finding one too.

Wool Roving

Now that we know a bit more about felting needles the other main material we need is wool roving, which is essentially fluff balls of wool. You can get wool roving in all sorts of colors from online retailers like Amazon and other craft stores like Michael’s.

However, if you’re on a budget or you’re just not sure you want to spend money on a craft you might not like, you can actually make your own wool roving at home! Plus you can totally customize the colors. Check out this article on How to Recycle Yarn Scraps into Fluff for Needle Felting.

mixing colors for blog post
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

Setting Up the Base

If you’ve tried needle felting on your amigurumi before you’ll know that you have to poke the fibers for quite a while to get the felt to be flush with your project. However, you might notice that the surface has little holes from where you poked the needle in. It may even be very fluffy with lots of fibers sticking up.

This is where those different kinds of needles come in. For the sake of keeping things simple with this practice project, we’ll just stick with the triangle shaped needles and only worry about changing between different gauges.

I made this little ball and I started by drawing a simple square on one side.

sample ball project for how to add stunning details to your amigurumi with needle felting
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

Then I used a 38 gauge triangle needle to felt this orange roving into the square. On the first pass with the larger needle the surface is a bit lumpy and you can see several holes. However, we can clean this up by going over it again with a smaller needle. In this case I used a 40 gauge triangle needle.

differences in needle gauges for blog post
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

Plus, doing a second pass with the smaller needle will make any gaps in the felt more apparent. I had to go back in and add a little more felt along the bottom edge of the square where it wasn’t as thick.

In the end, if you run your finger over the surface of the felted area, it should be smooth and almost perfectly flush with the project. Take your time and if you need to you can even go over the surface again with a smaller gauge needle like a 42.

Bringing Details to Life

Now that we know how to create a smoother surface, let’s try something a little harder.

Want to see this in action? Follow along with this video tutorial as you practice these tips!

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I created another simple ball shape and used a sharpie to draw some anime style eyes onto it using the image below as a reference. I really liked it because it lays out how to layer color for drawing and we’ll be doing basically the same thing to needle felt the eyes.

eye drawing tutorial image for blog post
Image sourced from Pinterest.

NOTE: if you’re drawing on your actual project and not a test like I am, I recommend using a fabric marker instead of a sharpie. Also, if drawing isn’t your thing, you can always find similar eyes online, size the image up or down, print it out and then cut it out. You can then pin the paper eyes to your project and use them as a guide to trace the eyes on.

Before we get started, it’s important to talk about the colors of roving you’re using. Using my mini carders I brushed out a bunch of orange yarn scraps and then combined some with different colors to create different shades to use in the eyes. By using the same orange in all the shades, it ensures that the colors blend better.

roving colors image for how to create stunning details on amigurumi with needle felting
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

Once I had my colors picked out, I started with a 38 gauge triangle needle and began poking in the base orange layer of the iris.

needle felting image for blog post
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

Then just like with the sample I went over it again with the 40 gauge needle. From there, I began slowly layering colors on top of the iris (light orange-pink on the bottom and orange-purple on the top). Once that whole area was smooth I then added some black for the pupil and white dots for the highlights.

This process is time-consuming and you need a little patience, but I promise it’s so worth it! After finishing the iris, I began poking white roving in around the iris to make the sclera, starting with the bigger needle and going over it again later with the smaller one. Then I layered gray across the top of the eye to create a shadow and finally I used black to do the thick eyelashes.

anime eye with needle felting for how to create stunning details on amigurumi with needle felting
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

Summary

If you’re wondering why I made the eyes so dang big, it’s mostly so you can see it better in photos and on camera, but when practicing it’s also easier to work on larger surfaces first.

Overall, I really like how these eyes came out and I’m so excited to see what you’ll create with needle felting! If you liked this article be sure to share it with friends and don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter so you never miss an update.

Til next time, happy crafting!

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