Ever wonder how some felting artists get their finished projects to look so neat and smooth? Well, wonder no more! Here are a few tricks you can try:
Just when you think you’re done, consider giving your creation some extra love and attention. Wait until you have a nice block of “down time,” and then park your bottom into a cozy chair (maybe with some soft music or a generic tv show in the background to listen to).
Then, with a very fine gauge needle (40 or 42 gauge triangle or spiral is great) start randomly searching for and stabbing any little imperfections that stand out from the rest of the surface. (Now, by "stabbing", I mean VERY shallow, deliberate pokes, right where you're aiming for. Just tiny little "picks" into the surface of your project with your fine gauge needle.)
The idea is to create a very "uniform" looking surface, so look for tiny bumps in the wool, little "nubs" of fiber, areas that look a little too "poofy", places where you can see strands of fiber that look like "yarn", any "holes" in the finished work, etc. If you see dimples or indentations that don't belong, gently poke the area AROUND them to get everything at the same level.
You can also try a little technique I like to call "drag and poke" - where I LIGHTLY drag the pointy tip of my needle across the surface of my work for a short distance (maybe a centimeter) and then poke it down in. This puts the needle in contact with more fibers than would be the case if you just poke it straight down and in.
Another technique is to make lots of horizontal pokes (holding the needle almost parallel with your work instead of at a right angle to it...) so that you can felt the surface without further felting the inner core of your project.
For something 4" or 5" tall, this "touch up" process could easily take three or four hours. Don't look it as "work" though - think of it as TLC and an excuse to not be doing laundry, or dishes, or whatever other “chores” you're trying to avoid! 😁 Look at the piece as a whole (to see any irregularities that stand out in terms of bumps, bulges, and creases) but then also "get in the zone" and look at every square centimeter individually, searching for anything/everything that just doesn't quite "belong".
It sounds like a lot of work, but honestly, it's my very favorite part of felting. It’s so relaxing and meditative - it almost puts me to sleep (and the time FLIES!) Think of it as "fun/lazy time" that is mindless and that gives you an excuse to sit and avoid all that other stuff that you don't want to be doing! With the right beverage (a glass of wine? a mug of hot chocolate? a glass of fresh lemonade in the summertime?) this part of the felting process has become my favorite guilty pleasure!
And before you say it, I know what you're thinking: "It doesn't HAVE to be perfect." Right?! Well - you're absolutely right! If you love your project just the way it is, there is no need for more poking! Only you can decide when you're done, and so these are just a few tips to help you get to a point where you truly love your finished work. It's your art. YOU get to decide when it's done!
Please remember, it’s not about the destination (okay, maybe it is, a LITTLE...) but it really is about the journey. It’s also a great way to spend lots of time felting without having to buy additional supplies! Talk about getting more bang for your buck!!
Haven’t finished a new piece lately?? I bet you have a little “fuzzy” tucked away in a drawer somewhere that would love to spend time with you… 💜