14 Needle Felting Mistakes to Avoid for Better Results

Needle Felting Mistakes to AvoidWhen you start out a needle felting there are lots of mistakes that you can make. most beginners make very similar mistakes.it’s a good idea to know what these are in advance so that you can if not avoid them at least reduce them. Below there are XX top needle felting mistakes and how to avoid them.

Some of the most common mistakes include holding a needle incorrectly and moving the needle incorrectly, your choice of wool, how you use the wool and how you use the needles. These are easily sorted and with a bit of practice, you’ll be making fine pieces in no time. Below I have listed the mistakes people make and how to correct them. 

Some of these crossover with some of the things I’ve said in tips. They are also based some of them on my own experience and where I went wrong when I first started so I know from personal experience and from watching other people when they start out where are you most likely to go wrong. Most of these things are not that difficult to put right.

14 Needle Felting Mistakes To Avoid

Constantly Breaking Your Needles

I did not have too much trouble with this when I started. I think I’ve just been far too fussy and careful because I was afraid of breaking the needles. However,  I’ve seen people that break them all the time.

You can feel when the needle is going to break or there is pressure on it that might make it break. And I believe this is where people go wrong.

You can needle felt really quick. However, when you’re starting out I’ve noticed people that do break the needles frequently tend to do a couple of things that are easily corrected. The reason they break the needles is that when they pull the needle from the work they pull it at an angle. This bends the needle and puts pressure on it. This breaks what is a very delicate needle. I suspect this is the same for when the needle goes in.

Felting too vigorously can also break a needle this is covered in felting too deeply.

Also, if you put a large angle on your needle while your felting that will break the needle.

The other time which I would say is very likely that you break the needles when your progress on to armature. When you’re doing armature you’ve got the wire or the pipe cleaner in the centre, if you don’t know the correct technique it’s very easy to hit the wire. The resistance would be enough to break the needle if you put enough force on it.

Using the ‘Incorrect’ Size Needle

It’s important to use the correct size needle for your project and for the stage of your project that you are at. While there are no hard and fast rules it is best to start off with larger needles and work down to the finer needles. Larger needles mean that you felt down quicker while finer ones are better to finish off and prevent lots of tiny holes in your work. Some people prefer to alternate between needles to avoid holes.

When you’re doing these smaller projects you probably won’t need a multi-needle. It’s a good idea to get a needle holder although some people don’t actually like them.

If you can get hold of coloured needles that fit into your needle holder then I go with those cos it will save you a lot of problems trying to figure out which needle to use.

To start off with the triangular needles with several barbs on them as you get more into it you can learn more about all the different types of needles.

Felting Your Work Too Deeply

This is my speciality! I’m terrible for doing this even now. So keen to get everything to felt down as quickly as possible I tend to put the needle in too deep.  This is quite a common mistake, especially among beginners. The needles have barbs on them so you really only felt into the depth of the barbs.

You really do not need to felt too deeply just in and out motions to the depth of your barbs. Some people would disagree with this and I can understand why. If you felt too deeply you stand a good chance of your needle going out the other side of your piece and it’s sticking to the pad or if you felt far too deeply you can actually hit the needle on the base below and break it.

Not Using a Support Pad

Some people don’t like to use a pad or a brush they prefer to hold their felting. This means that your felting has no frame to base from base to work with and therefore this means your peace it’s not felted very well. This also tends towards accidents and needle breakage as you do not have as much control.

Using the Wrong Wool

There are lots of types of wool that you can use to felt with. When you start out it’s best to stick with wool specifically designed for this job. Either, get advice from somewhere like Etsy from someone with experience or buy a kit. Kits tend to have Merino wool in them. I personally don’t think this is the best wool to start out with but it is the most popular for felting so all is fine.

As you learn more you’ll be better equipped to decide what wool is best for your project so that you will use better wool.

With this hobby, there are no right and wrong with what wool you use. It’s more about making it easy on yourself while your learning. So, it’s not the end of the world if you pick up the wrong wall it just might take you longer to felt or you might not get quite the finish you were looking for.

Not Felting Your Work Firmly Enough

I’ve seen time and time again frustrated beginners show their work on Facebook all floppy and fuzzy they don’t understand why. The main reason why is because the work is not felt in firmly enough. You think you finish long before you have and the peace is only half done. The other reason is that you’ve not started your project tightly enough which is again something I used to do and the whole overall piece of just floppy and unfinished.

What you need to do is to start firmly from the beginning. If you don’t just scrunch up your wool and learn to make shapes with your wool you will start from a more solid foundation and it also and crushes out the air.

In addition, if your piece is still fuzzy at the end and that’s that’s not your intention, you need to make sure that you do more felting on that piece because it’s not finished. To make the final finish smooth it does also depend on the wool that you use.

Felting In Only 1 Area at a Time

When you’re felting your project you don’t want to be felt in constantly in one area of it. The best thing to do is to felt evenly all around so that it felts down evenly and takes shape all over. This also gives you a better of how your project is coming along and how much more wool you need to add.

Trying To Join Two Completed Pieces of Work Together

If you’re making a project that requires the parts to be joined together then one of the things that you can do wrong is to complete each part and then try to join them. What you need to do is to leave piece unfinished where the join is. Just leave loose fibres that you can needle felt into the next piece. This allows the felting to be joined together more easily. Also, you don’t want your piece completely finished otherwise this might make joining things together harder and the join won’t take as well resulting in a week joint.

Not Using Core Wool Inside Your Project

When you progress onto the slightly bigger projects you need to use core wool. This is much quicker to felt down than Merino wool or many of the others. And it’s specifically designed to go inside your projects. It’s also less expensive than the finer wools.

That usually comes in a creamy white and occasionally black. Always buy more than you think you need as you always need more wool when you plan.

Leaving Your Felted Projects Around So Your Pets Can Kill It

Pets especially cats absolutely love felt to pieces. They will cuddle or more likely rip them to shreds. So it’s best to make sure that you keep your felting up out of the way unless you want to come home to bits and your lovely felted project all over the floor.

Starting Off With Too Difficult of a Project

Although this will vary from person to person it is a good idea to start off with simple projects that teach you the basics before you move on to the more difficult projects. If you don’t you may become disenchanted with needle felting. It’s quite slow to do and it’s great to have some finished pieces to show off to your friends. Simple does not have to be boring. There are lots of easy projects that you can do to make fantastic pieces.

Not only that it is easier to learn on a small basic shaped piece than it is a larger more complex one.

Thinking Needle Felting a Wet Felting Are The Same

Some people seem to think that wet felting is the same as needle felting. It is not it is a completely different process and set of skills. You can join them together and use them together, but it’s best to concentrate on one skill at a time at least for the first few weeks.

Using Too Much or Too Little Wool While Working

Lots of people use too much wool while working. My fault was the reverse I always use far too little. Which takes forever to felt up then. So whether it’s too much or too little felt think about what you’re doing and adapt the amounts accordingly. Too much felt can be difficult to felt down and can ruin your project and make it look lumpy. And you don’t want to take the felt off. Although people do remove the felt after they’ve done it to re-create the pieces it’s best to avoid this when starting out as it’s easier to add wool than it is to remove it.

Although, they recommend that you don’t use a lot of wool it is possible to use too little and this results in slow felting.

Using The Wrong Armature Thickness

It is possible to pick the wrong thickeness for your armeture. If you choose a thin wire for the size of your project it may not be strong enough. Equally if you chose a too thick a wire it may be difficult to work with.


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