Winter in a Cup - Needle Felting as Meditation | Nina Spolar - Nini | Skillshare

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Winter in a Cup - Needle Felting as Meditation

teacher avatar Nina Spolar - Nini, finding magic everywhere

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

11 Lessons (1h 4m)
    • 1. Winter in a Cup - Needle Felting as Meditation

    • 2. Supplies Needed

    • 3. About Wool & Felting Needles

    • 4. Felting Simple Shapes

    • 5. How Much to Felt

    • 6. Sketching Your Project

    • 7. Making a Hill

    • 8. Making a Tree

    • 9. Assembling the House

    • 10. Playtime

    • 11. Thank You!

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About This Class


This Skillshare class is about getting to know the magic of needle feting and its meditative qualities.

You will learn what needle felting is and how to go about bringing your own ideas into woolly life.

This is a beginners class but I hope those who already needle felt get some ideas as well.

Materials needed are:

  • White wool for needle felting - 50 grams should be plenty enough!

  • A small cup/dish
  • Felting needles (fine/small, medium)
  • Foam to felt on (dishwashing sponge will be just fine for this project)
  • Dressmakers pins, small wooden laser cut ornaments - house form or a dear or whatever makes your heart sing and goes with your idea, wood glue
  • Paper and pencil for sketching

Meet Your Teacher

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Nina Spolar - Nini

finding magic everywhere


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1. Winter in a Cup - Needle Felting as Meditation: How about learning the magical skills that turn this, into this. I'll teach you, and show you, how to needle felt your own perfect landscape in a cup. You will sketch it out by yourself. Decide how many trees you want, how many houses or whatever cute shapes you'll have. And make it all yours to enjoy on your shelf in your home, because it'll bring magic to you. This class is for anyone wanting to see if needle felting is a process they would even like, that's why I kept the supplies to bare minimum. I would just really like you to see how incredibly satisfying it is to make something from your mind a physical reality. It's also very meditative and calming process. And it definitely puts you in the here and now because if you're not here and now you're gonna poke yourself and that hurts. Use your final project as a pincushions or simply a decoration but I bet you, that you will get hooked and start making all kinds of things with these new found skills. Not only will you know if needle felting is for you, you will also be able to use these new skills to make art dolls, cat toys or more elaborate scenes to have as room decorations. Or why not photograph your scenes and turn these photos into Christmas cards or pencil pouches or any other merchandising you can think of. My name is Nina in I'm an architect by profession who specialized in graphical and interior design. I have always been very creative and I have learned loads of things. And I realized through the years that I am much more of an artist than anything else because I just really like to make things with my own hands. I really hope you will join me and make yourself at least one whimsical scene. Also, I would really love to see your project so don't be shy and share away in the project area here on Skillshare. I'll be definitely here to answer any of your questions if they arise, don't be afraid to ask. And I think that's enough of a chit chat. Let's get started! 2. Supplies Needed: Hello and welcome to my introduction to needle felting little class. I really wanted to have people try needle felting to see how calming it is and how it puts you in the here and now, and how, you know, how meditative it is. And so I came up with this really simple beginners project called Winter in a Cup, in which I am using only white wool, and some simple items you probably already have at home. The only thing I think you're going, you'll need to buy - felting needles and wool. So this is the little cup I'll be making. The fun part of this thing is that everything is removable. And so you can play around and make your little scene as, just as you like it. Add more trees, add more houses, have a different type of hill. Whatever you, you know, whatever you see in your imagination, whatever you like. Firstly, we need a felting mat. This is, this is just foam, you buy it in craft stores, but you can also use these dish washing sponges. They'll be just fine because what we're making is small, right? So you really don't need a big met like I have here. Then the second really important thing is a felting needle. They come in different sizes. And the ones I need you to have are something labeled fine (small) and medium. I'll talk more about them later in the next video. But it's fine (small) and medium, that's all you need. Next thing is, wool, of course. I have here two different whites, like this is white white and this is untreated, natural colored wool. You get whatever you like. Both are fine and I'll be using both because I'll show you a neat trick, how to use something that's cheaper and something that's more expensive. The next thing we'll be using are dressmaker's pins. These are really simple pins. Probably everyone has them somewhere. They are going to be used for our houses. These on the other hand, the long ones, are going to be used for our trees. I prefer the leaf shape here. but you can get whatever you can, you can get your hands on. Basically anything works. Wood glue, we'll be needing this for our house making. Houses, or you can use whatever form you like. Maybe maybe you can get some deer shaped wood cuts or bunnies. I don't know. I saw these and fell in love with them, so I got them. We'll be needing some clips. Can be paperclips. These art thingie, clip or simple clothespins, just get something that's fairly, that grips fairly well because it'll be, you will use it for house making. And a rather important thing, we need a cup or a dish to put our scene in. I get my stuff pretty much everywhere. This is from a secondhand shop. This is from a store. I think these are like baking trays or sauce trays or whatever. Just get yourself something you like, and you will enjoy filling up. And the last thing that we need is something to sketch on. I have here just some simple paper and pencils and an eraser. And that's pretty much it. Simple things. Not expensive at all. Just, you know, wool, felting needles and something to felt on. And you're good to go. 3. About Wool & Felting Needles: Welcome back to this video where we're going to talk about wool and felting needles. Quickly. So basically, we have coarser and finer wool. The courser one felts faster because it takes up more space. And the finer wool, it does felt nicely, but usually it comes nicely combed in long stripes and is much more difficult to work with. The other type, which is called, core wall, it's wool that comes, where the fibers are mingled already. They come, they lay in all the sides in all directions. So, core wool felts much faster and it's just perfect to start your projects with :) Basically, when you're working on something bigger, you would want to use this core wool as, core :D or the something that will end up in the middle of your felted project. Because core wool is usually cheaper, too. Now let's talk about needles. I haven't seen numbered gauge needles here where I live. I only know them as small/fine, medium and large. But they do relate to gauges, that come in sizes 32, 36, 38, 40 and 42, and I've even seen 19. These numbers represent their thickness. Only it's like, the other way around. The bigger the number, the finer the needle is. So, the smaller the number, the thicker it is. Every needle has hooks on its side. And these hooks actually felt the wool. They grab the wool and push it inside your project where it stays, and so the fibers intermingle with themselves. And with this, you just loose all the space you have available, and less space there is in your project, more felted it will be. And more dense and harder. The rule of thumb is that we start with the thicker needle and as the wool felts, we move to the finer needles. It's something that you feel, okay. It gets into your hands, as you felt, as you practice more. In the end, you really won't be able to use a really thick needle with a project that has been felted quite a bit, because it won't go in (the needle). There's also something else with the needles, they do come in different shapes. Basically there's only two shapes. One, and it would be seen in a cross-section of the needle, so it would be a triangle or they call it a star, but to me it's more like a cross. So you have star shape or triangle shape. And then there's also spiral needle, which is basically a triangular needle, but it rotates. So, this one is really a good needle to have because it felts really well. Because it doesn't only push the fibers in, they also twist as they are being pushed in so they interlock so much better. Sometimes there's more hooks on needles or you can just have one hook on each side. So, there's really no need to push the needle very far into your project Ii there is no hooks on, you know, on the part you're pushing in. It just doesn't make sense, right? So that's, that's pretty much it about wool and fibers. (Needles :D ) So we can move on to start felting now. Yeah. And it's about time, right? So see you in the next lesson. 4. Felting Simple Shapes: Welcome back. Time to needle felt a bit. Let's see. What is this all about? We're going to make a ball first. I know it's simple, but it can still teach you a few things. So take your wool, whichever you have, and take about this amount from it. Let's have a nice square. Be gentle when you take your wool apart. Because if you want to try and take it apart like this, it's when you hold it really too close together, it will go but sometimes it just won't. But if you hold it further apart, then it's really easy. You might notice some leftovers from grasses or leaves, foliage, stuff like that. So just take it out because it will bother you. Okay, so we have our wool prepared. Now, prepare your needles. This is my finest one, spiral needle. And then the other fine, the triangular one and something, I think it's around medium-size. Okay, so it's time to start felting. And the way I go about it is, I'll just start rolling it like this, not, not too tight. Okay. Just somewhat tight. And I'll try and make a ball shape. But every once in a while, while rolling, I want to secure it in place. I'm gonna take, I'm gonna take my medium size needle. And what I'll do is just, poke here and there, and that secures it. See, it just, it's not going to unravel now. I try to make it even, as even as I can. It does not resemble a ball at all. All right. It's more like a weird egg shape or whatever. Doesn't matter. Now we can start felting, Or better say, sculpting this into our wanted shape. The most important thing to remember while needle faulting is, the way you move your needle. Which is, that you go in and out in the same direction. You don't change the angle while doing that, like going in here and then going out somewhere else because this is what breaks the needle. And that's all there is to it. Remember how I talked about hooks and felting only with the, the part of the needle where hooks are. In my case, this is somewhere up to here. So I really do not need to go in further than this. Don't have to go like, all the way down to my mat, right? Because, my hooks are up to here. Now, all I have to do is push the fibers in, rotate, move around my piece, as I do so and felt the wool together. And because I know how the ball looks like, my hand alread knows and my mind already knows what I'm after. So it's pretty simple. I'll just keep poking it, and rotating it until I get a reasonable ball shape. And because the wool I have now here is still somewhat fluffy and there's still a lot of air between the fibers. I'm able to use my thicker needle. I would be able to use even a thicker one if I had it. So continue poking you,r your blob of wool, until you make a ball. And you don't really have to push hard. I'm really I'm being really gentle, I don't know if you can see it, but I am. So even if I would poke myself incidentally, I would not hurt myself that much. I'm also very much aware of where my fingers are, so I'm trying to, you know, felt away from them :) Another thing one can do when making something like this, is to just roll it a bit because we are making a ball, right? And while this is still not really a nice one, because my intention was to show you something else. So we're going to turn a ball into a little cube and we are able to do this now because this is still very soft. It does hold its shape. I'm not. I'll talk about this in the next video anyway. But because this still has lots of room to felt, I can make a cube. And it's pretty much, can you see it? All I have to do is hold, hold the shape I would like to achieve. So I'm squeezing here now and I'll be poking here just to get the shape I am holding with my fingers to stay in place somewhat. I'm not gonna do this for a long time because I need to keep moving. Still, you know, you always have to move your project so that it's felted evenly and nicely on all sides. And I am pressing my wool here so that it holds this shape. Now that my cube shape is becoming more and more visible and even dense as you see, it's not that fluffy anymore nor even soft. I do have to pay much more attention to where I am poking. So, if you can see here at the edges, I do go in much slower because, first of all, I'm really close to my fingers, and second of all, I search for the bumps that stand out and I see I need to push in. And I keep rotating. My little cube as much as I can. Or let's say every few pokes. You'll get the hang of it the more you do this. Okay, I am ready to take my lovely spiral needle and felt some more. But in areas that are softer, like in these edges, my finer needle can't really work because it's just too much space between the fibers. So I'll have to switch to my, to the other one again, just to be able to even press more fibers in. Also, the other reason why it doesn't work so well is because these fibers here are quite coarse so the fine needle has a bit of a trouble hooking them in because the barbs it has are probably too tiny. I am going to call this cube done now for the sake of this video, I would be, otherwise I'd be working on it for a bit more. It's really difficult to stop once you get going, you'll see :) There's always going to be some things poking out, some fibers, and the easiest thing to do is to cut them away. Don't pull them out because you never know what else you pull out. So just have some nice sharp scissors and cut close to the surface. Basically, trim your project. Also, clean your mat before you go and do something else. Here's an idea about how to finish this cube because you can make it in a, in a dice, lovely dice. I would just take embroidery thread and make the numbers, the dots, with French knots. Those look really cute. Or you can take some fabric, paint and just paint them on. So here you have something that (ups, its gone :) ) your cat can use now. And I'll see you in the next video where we'll talk about how much to actually felt. 5. How Much to Felt: Let's talk about how much to felt because as you were able to see, this takes quite a while. The fact is, that it is actually really up to you, and also about what you're going to do with the thing you're going to make. As in, if something is going to get handled a lot, then I suggest you to felt it as much as you can. So for instance, if you make cat toys, then felt them really well because cats love felted things and they really like to pull them apart. So make it hard for them to do so, okay. If you're gonna make just a decorative object, something that will just be somewhere then you, then you can, you don't have to felt it a lot because it's just there to look at, like our project is going to be, we won't be, we don't have to spend lots of time on it because it's just going to sit on a shelf somewhere or be a pin cushion and you don't really handle the felted stuff. I made this, these balls earlier. And they were all made from about the same amount of wool, which is, it was something like this. And, this one took me about 10 minutes, 15 and 20. So 10, 15, and 20 minutes. There's quite a huge difference between the softness of them. 10 one, it's really soft. You can squeeze it a lot. 15 is quite a bit stiffer. And this 20 minute one, only has some room left to be felt a bit more. And why? Why is this important? Because this, the 10 minute one is something we're going to aim for to have our object somewhat holding shape before we think about and before we, before we move on to making it into something else, like I did before. I had my, my ball somewhere around this softness and then I turned it into a cube. So this is like, kinda a rule or something to look for. This 10 minute felting softness from this size. I mean, of course, if you're going to be making something huge, ten minutes won't be enough. But in that case, you'll also be using more needles at once, and maybe you can get there in ten minutes as well. In any case, this is something I'll be referring to, when I'll show you how to make the trees. So, just remember this, this is the softness and the consistency where you kinda, can't really pull it apart anymore, but you can add things to it and you can manipulate it to look like something else. This is what we're going to work with. And if you're wondering how much, how much you can actually still felt? It's basically as much as you can squeeze it. Or maybe, if I show you this little tiny bear. This one is, this one is really, really stiff and let's see, my medium needle. I can't even, I can't put it in him. This one is supposed to be a bit finer, same thing. So my finest needle, the spiral one, pretty much, I still can do something but no, basically, he is as felted as he can be. But let's move on to the next lesson now and sketch our project first. Because it's really, really important to know what we are going to be doing. Much easier too, you'll see. You'll see what I mean. See you in the next lesson. 6. Sketching Your Project: Sketching things out is always a good idea because we can catch the impossible scenarios or see things we don't like in the very beginning. And it's also really good to have a visual reference for what we're making so that our brain-hand connection, knows what we are up to. And please remember that this sketch is meant for you and you are the one who needs to know what's on it. So don't be alarmed about your drawing skills, sketching skills. It doesn't matter as long as you know, what you put down on paper. That's all it matters. You will probably be using pencils, I can't because you won't be able to see what I'm doing. I have here the cup that I'll be using for my project. I'll just put the shape of the cup down. Always remember, don't have to be perfect. So this is my cup. And now I have to decide what type of hill I'm going to do. Will it be like this, maybe. Let's see. What else can I do? It could be like this. Okay. Or maybe. I don't know. I'm just, I'm just playing. To see what I like. Or maybe have something like Tim Burton style. I love that guy. Really. His movies are amazing. Well, I think this is going to be my hill. And as we already know, I'm going to have a bigger tree on it, a smaller tree on it, and a house somewhere in between. And a really good sketch, or let's say, better sketch, is something that is in 1:1 size. So I'll just take my shape, my cup here and roughly sketch its real size. Okay? It's about as real as it is. And because I use, I'm going to be making this one and see ... my hill wants to be something like this. The houses, let's see, because I'm drawing in 1:1 I can now position my house here, my real one. See how big it is. If it's going to be up on top, here, maybe here, I can just sketch it like this. So this is going to be my house. And now I know, because this is my 1:1, my bigger tree, my big tree is going to be something like this. And the smaller one, something along this size. And now that I have this reference, it'll be much easier for me to felt later because I know how big or small things I'm after. You'll see when I get there. Sketch your cups, sketch your hills, position them. Have fun with sketching. Actually. Decide. Decide on your tree shapes. I'll be doing this Cypress shape okay, because it's just my favorite one, and I really like making it. So this is my shape. Or better. Mine is going to be like this. Much more pointy. I could do simple tree, on a pin, like this or a more Christmas like tree, like this. And as before when we made our cubes out of a ball shapes, we did this. We pushed all these areas inside and we got our cube. So basically, if you want this shape, you start with something like this, and then push this thing in here and these sides in here. And you'll get your triangular tree shape. It's really that easy. I'm really curious now what you guys are going to make so please, please share in the project section. And I'll see you in the next lesson, Where we start making our hill. 7. Making a Hill: Hi! Time to make our hills now. This is the cup I'll be using and I'll need quite a bit of wool to fill it up and I will start just as I did before, I'll start rolling my wool and poking it every once in a while, rotating everything, watching where my fingers are. I shall speed this up a bit and see you in a few minutes. Let's see. Definitely too small, because with felting, this is going to shrink, I'm not going to felt a lot, but still, I still need a bit more. Do trust your own intuition about how much wool you need to take because you kind of know. Really. You'll see. And as this is now quite a big ball, quite a big thing to felt, I could be using one of those holders that hold more needles. And I'll show you what I'm talking about. This is a, this is a holder for six needles. So you put them inside and then you felt with six of them at the same time, which makes everything go much faster. Use needles that are of the same size and insert them in these holes here. I'm only going to use three of them and then I'll just put the upper part back on. See how faster this is going? But as I did not say, you really need something like this for this project, I'm not going to use it either. I'll just continue with using one needle only. I'll meet you back when this is felted enough for me to start felting inside the dish. OK, time to see how this fits in my dish. Oh, it's quite all right. I think I'll still be needing to add more wool, but let's see. So, remember how I showed you when we were making the cube and I was holding my ball like this to make the, the shape of the cube? This dish is going to act in the same way. It's going to hold the shape of the dish itself while I'll be felting in it. Of course, I do have to pay attention when I'm felting inside of something harder, because, of course I can break my needle if I'll push too hard and hit the walls. But as we have already seen, this is quite a meditative thing to do. So hurrying, rushing, watching television while doing this is really not a good idea. Just poke gently, enjoy the sounds and, just be. OK, let's see how it looks on the inside. Perfect cupcake, right? :) I usually work with the sides of the piece as well, but in doing so the whole thing gets smaller. So I would need to add more wool if I would go and felt the sides a bit more. If, I'll be gluing this hill inside my dish, then I really don't have to do that because nobody will see how it looks on the inside, right? So it's really up to you. But if you, maybe you get an idea to make four seasons in the same cup, so you might want to have these be removable so that you can switch the white hill with green heel for spring. Green hill with embroidered flowers on it and stuff like that for summer and orange-y yellow-y reddish colored hill for autumn, you know what I mean? In that case, do felt the sides at least a bit so that they hold shape well, while you put your hill away until it's going to be used later. This, this is felted enough so that I can now use my white wool and make the fluffy snow layer. Here's my white wool. I just need a small amount to cover my top. Something like this. It's enough. I'll just start at the sides. I will get my wool in like so. Just so that it's attached to my hill somewhere. I am avoiding the top right now and I'll take it out now and secure it much firmer on the sides, because if I would not do this, it would be just too easy to pull off the whole blanket of snow. And I don't want that. OK, let's see. You can see the holes from this quite thick, medium sized needle. We can loose them somewhat by just manipulating the wool like this a bit to get the fluffiness back. I am using my finest needle now to get the shape a bit more seen and visible and also to attach my blanket of snow more firmly to the hill. But because those holes, we were able to see before, were bothering me so much, I decided to add a bit more wool to cover them. And I had to switch between my finer needles. If you pay close attention to my top right corner of the mat, you'll see that I was changing them and trying to feel which one is still felting the most while leaving the least holes visible inside my hill. OK, I'm calling this one done and let's move on to making the trees. 8. Making a Tree: Welcome back. Time to start making our trees now, finally, we're getting, we're getting to the end, almost, almost there. Same thing here as with anything else. Take some wool. For the tree we need a longer strip, let's say. And this is, this is core wool that I have here and the fibers are all intermingled so I don't have the strips already made as I did before. I'm gonna say it again. Trust your intuition. It knows how much you need. The wool I mean. What we are going to do is take one of those longer pins and capture it inside the wool so that we have the tree that can be pinned anywhere we want it. As my shape, my tree shape, is based on the cypress tree I'll be rolling my wool on my pin so that I get more wool at the bottom, because it's thicker, right? And I will start by rolling a bit more firmly around the head of the pin just so that it stays inside. And then I will loosen up my grip a bit. And as before it's really good to secure in place the wool. But now be extra mindful of where your pin is so that you don't break the needle. It's time to start shaping now. Now this part is really the trickiest of them all, because we just have to be really careful as we are holding a sharp needle in our hands, two of them actually, one is this, and the other is this one. So basically I can't really pull my pin out because it's been caught in the fiber's already. So all I have to do now is push what's left here, inside. And I'm really gentle right now. Poking really gently. And I am using one on the medium sized needles to do this job. You can, you can, you can even see it because when I push inside I get a lot of fibers in. That's how you know your needle is thick, and has barbs or hooks. And what I try to do is position my sewing pin in the middle of the tree as much as I can and have the head of the pin as further down my tree as I possibly can, so that when I put it inside my hill, it's firmly in place. Do go slow here because you will be poking the sewing needle's head quite a bit. Well. Now that my bottom shape is done and I'm quite happy with it, I can do the rest. And now, because I need this to be point-y, I have to take the majority of these fibers up here, down there, and this needle, is almost getting too thick already because it's moving to many of the fibers at the same time. So I'll be switching it now. With a finer one. Well anyway, in any case, you get the idea how this is done. So I hope to see many trees on your hills and I'm really looking forward to seeing your project. Do post please, and tag me on Instagram if you are there, and if you're going to post it there, I will definitely comment. Here, my bigger tree is done now and I'll go and make the smaller one as well. And I'll see you in the next lesson where we are going to make a house pin. So see you there. 9. Assembling the House: Hello there. Let me show you how to make a house pin. I'm going to be, I'm going to use two of these, same ones, because what I'll do is sandwich a pin between them. It's really simple. You take some glue, apply it. Don't worry if you close up a window or door because this glue, the wood glue, usually dries clear. Take one of the pins, sandwich it between two houses, like so, align them as much as you can, the house shapes, press firmly so that your pin kinda makes an indent in the word. If, if it doesn't, don't, don't, don't worry, the glue will still take care of everything holding together. And then just take one of your clips or clothes pin or something that you have there, you have prepared there. Make a sandwich. And that's it. Leave to dry. 10. Playtime: Hi, no talking here :) 11. Thank You!: Hey, we made it till the end. I'm so happy you endured all the hard work and have now something tangible in your hands to prove it. I think the most satisfying part in all of this is playing with your pieces in the end. And I know that we sketched our project and we kind of knew what we wanted, but when you reach the end and start playing, you can, you can see that you need more, more trees or more houses, or you want to take a bigger dish and fill it with a huge mountain let's say, not just hill and then place all these cute things on top of it. So, that's the beauty of it. And because you will be spending more time felting you will also be spending more time with your higher self right, your True Self, because I firmly believe that while we are creating, we are connecting to something much bigger than us here. And because of this, these items, these things that we make are really the most beautiful presents you can leave to people that you care about. Because after spending so much time with them, pouring all this energy into them, they will feel it. I promise you, they will. And well, this should be a short one, I know I've said it before, but please upload your projects into the project section so that we can all look at them and feel them, and you know, so that I see how you did. And please, if you liked this class, leave me a review and follow me so that I know that I am kinda on the right track and that I can start pondering about my next class. If that's something you would like me to do, Please comment, let me know, get in touch with me over Instagram or Facebook. So, I thank you again. And see you when I see you :) Bye.