Introduction To Felting: How To Make A Felted Doll

I tried felting for the first time at a friend’s house, and loved it right away. Felting was easy enough to do, and I liked that if something didn’t come out just right, all I have to do is take it apart and re-do it or re-purpose the wool for something else. Plus it feels amazing and wonderful to play with the soft and fluffy colorful wool.

Introduction to felting: how to make a felted dollI came home, and bought some of my own supplies for wool felting, so that I can learn to do it. I wanted to make something very specific: a pretty princess with bright red curly hair, holding a black kitten. Yep. I can be specific.  I did it!

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Introduction To Felting: How To Make A Felted Doll

These are the felting supplies that I have purchased and used to make this doll:

Someone I know who does this regularly told me that this is the wool to get if you want to do more. I was told the difference in quality is noticeably there.

I highly recommend that you shop around for these supplies to find the best price. Local family owned stores often offer very good sale prices! Check them first. I called around our local yarn shops only to leave empty handed, so to speak, so I wound up ordering everything online.

Felting tip #1: needles are sharp. DON’T POKE YOUR FINGERS.

Felting tip #2: keep the needle straight, and not at an angle, or it breaks.

Felting tip #3: tear the wool apart, avoid cutting it. You want the wool strands whole. I did cut it when absolutely necessary, like when making the skirt, or flowers.

How To Make A Felted Princess Doll Step by Step:

Introduction to felting: how to make a felted dollI started by cutting two lengths of the armature wire, about a foot each.

Introduction to felting: how to make a felted doll

I twisted one in the center, making a skeleton with legs.

Introduction to felting: how to make a felted doll

Then I added the second piece of wire at what would be a waist, and twisted up to the shoulders. This way I made arms and shoulders.  I bent each end of the wire tips to create hands and feet.

Introduction to felting: how to make a felted doll

I had some plain white wool yarn. I wrapped it around the wire to create a bit of base. It looked like a mummy at that point.

Introduction to felting: how to make a felted doll

I took some slightly off white wool, and started wrapping it and felting it all over the body.

Introduction to felting: how to make a felted doll

I kept adding more and more wool to the body…

Introduction to felting: how to make a felted doll

…until everything was well covered.

Introduction to felting: how to make a felted doll

At that point it still looked kind of gimpy. It was time for another layer, to make it look less gimpy.

Introduction to felting: how to make a felted doll

Keep adding more wool around the body, and working it until it looks like something you need:

Introduction to felting: how to make a felted doll

Don’t forget the neck!!!

Introduction to felting: how to make a felted doll

At this point, it took quite a bit of work to get the body to be less ‘furry’ and to have the shape I wanted it to have. At some point I decided that I will be done.

Since I wanted the hair to be curly, before I went on to do the rest of the princess, I need to curl up some hair. Sure, you can purchase the pre-made curly hair, but I preferred to make my own out of the felting wool.

First, I took long strands of orange wool and felted them just enough to keep it together.

Introduction to felting: how to make a felted doll

I rolled the wool in between my palms, and then wrapped it around a wire. I let it sit for the few days while I was finishing the princess (it doesn’t really take days, I only worked on it about 20 minutes every day).

Introduction to felting: how to make a felted doll

At the end, to get it to curl faster, I steamed it using water with my iron. Note: steamed, never actually touched the iron to the wool.

Introduction to felting: how to make a felted doll

It is time for the top of the dress. I took a long purple strip of wool, and wrapped it in an X around her upper body and shoulders. Like the two photos below.

Introduction to felting: how to make a felted doll

Then I ripped off the two unnecessary ends.

Introduction to felting: how to make a felted doll

I used the felting needle to shape the upper part of the dress.  I needed to add little wisps of wool here and there as I saw fit.

Introduction to felting: how to make a felted doll

The bottom part of the dress started with a few strips of purple wool, lined together and felted into a long flat piece of felt.

Introduction to felting: how to make a felted doll

This is where I cut it a bit. Ultimately, you will need an approximate shape like in the photo below.

Introduction to felting: how to make a felted doll

Using blue wool, I added edges to the purple skirt.

Introduction to felting: how to make a felted doll

I added another, darker, purple triangle, and more blue trim to it.

Introduction to felting: how to make a felted doll

Then I connected the skirt, felting the dark purple edge of the triangle to the blue trimming on the opposite side.

Introduction to felting: how to make a felted doll

Starting with the back, I felted the skirt in four spots first directly onto the doll’s waist. First, the center back, then the center front, the two sides. Then I felted all the remaining edges of the skirt to the four quarters of the doll’s waist.

Introduction to felting: how to make a felted doll

I wrapped a strip of green felt around to make a belt/bodice. Then felted it on better. Here is the view from the back.

Introduction to felting: how to make a felted doll

Here is the view from the front. I added little flowers, leaves and decorations to the skirt.

Introduction to felting: how to make a felted doll

At this point something unthinkable happened. The phone rang. I went to answer it, and my dogs stole the doll. They ripped it’s head off, and tore the dress in shreds. SHREDS. I got upset. However, it wasn’t too hard to fix. I put the head back on to the wire. Peeled off the skin felt from the neck and head and attached new one on. The dress though. I had to take the felt piece by piece, clean it, shred it and re-felt the entire skirt. That’s why on the following photos the skirt and decorations look a little different. 

Time for the hair. I unrolled it, and it looked great. After a bit of time, it did straighten out a little. First, I felted on some strands down the center of her head.

Introduction to felting: how to make a felted doll

Here is the front view.

Introduction to felting: how to make a felted doll

I added a few more strands where it would be above the ears.

Introduction to felting: how to make a felted doll

At this point, I kept adding hair strands to the empty spaces on her scalp.

Introduction to felting: how to make a felted doll

I kept working on it. You see that strand across her forehead? I didn’t like it, so I peeled it right off.

Introduction to felting: how to make a felted doll

Face!!! At first I thought I would make it Waldorf style and not give her facial features, but I wasn’t thrilled with a blank face. I got the eyes that were ready. The eyebrows is quite literally a single strand of orange wool. Seriously tiny amount. Same for the lips. Really small tiny amount. The nose is just a little knob made with skin colored wool.

Introduction to felting: how to make a felted doll

Changed the hair a bit more:

Introduction to felting: how to make a felted doll

Flower parts for the hair.

Introduction to felting: how to make a felted doll

Photo below is where you can see that I moved the hair away from her forehead and felted the leaf to the hair.

Introduction to felting: how to make a felted doll

Attach the flower.

Introduction to felting: how to make a felted doll

There she is, all done and adorable!

Introduction to felting: how to make a felted doll

You know what is really awesome? Because of the wire underneath she is completely pose-able, so the kids could do a shot by shot animation!