How To Make Your Own 3D Needle Felted Paperclips

I'm excited about this post because it's more complex than the tutorials that I've shared with my readers. One of my tutorials was on how to make your own tassel paperclips, and while that one is fun, it's really simple to make. I had another tutorial in which you could add a ribbon page marker to any book with a spine, which is also relatively simple and didn't require more than a few minutes and basic materials.

This one, however, takes some time and effort, and a lot of swearing as you stab yourself in the fingers. At least a hundred times in my case. I was lucky no one was at home or else they would be hearing expletives coming from my bedroom every minute or so. What can I say? I'm clumsy, even if I'm quite nimble with my fingers. I think impatience may have a lot to do with the multiple puncture wounds in my fingertips...

I've made a few of these to date, two of which were for my friend Cat, and the clips that I made for her bear almost uncanny resemblance to her two pups.

I decided to go with a hedgehog this time, as I found this little packet at Daiso the other week. These little kits are amazing for first timers as they include all of the necessities that you need for needle felting, including a special needle with notches in it to help push the wool down and lock it in there. They usually include the exact amount of wool that you need for the item you want to recreate, plus a little ball chain, eye parts, a round jump ring and an instructional booklet. I didn't use the eyes supplied in the kit because I was making a smaller hedgehog, and the eyes would look disproportionate to the body.

I'm making the hedgehog for my paperclip half the size of the one pictured on the little package from Daiso, or else it'll be a bit too big for the paperclip.

I used all of the wool supplied in the kit and ended up with a hedgehog that was almost two inches tall. The reason why there's a difference in sizes between my hedgehog and the one shown on the kit is that I needle it to the point where it is firm when squeezed. This helps to prevent it from being torn apart or damaged easily. The one on the kit is lightly felted to make it appear fluffy and softer, which makes it weaker to use as an accessory.

Always pull the needle at the same angle that you inserted it in, because shifting the angle tends to break the needle easily. It is for this reason why having spare needles on hand is a good idea. I really like Daiso for this reason because replacement needles are so cheap compared to buying them from Spotlight. Daiso also stocks coloured bundles of wool which gives you more variety to choose from. 

Wool felt
Felting needle
Paperclip (5 - 6cm paperclips are the ideal size for the hedgehog I'm making)
Sponge or foam
Sharp scissors

1. Prepare the workspace and equipment. It is really handy to have everything within reach so you don't have to put down your work to find what you need. One, wool tends to get a bit messy and scatter little fibres all over the place, so working quickly and efficiently reduces that to a minimum. Two, for some reason, my cats really like playing with the piece that I'm working on when I'm not around.

2. Separate the wool into portions. The instructional booklet gives you an idea of how much you would need for each part. I used half the white for the body, 3/8ths for the head, and a scant 1/8 for the ears. One-quarter of the beige was set aside for the limbs, and the rest used for the back. A small portion of the dark brown was used to mark the nose and mouth, and the rest was for the back as well. I used some black wool I had on hand to make the eyes.

3. Separate the wool intended for the body of the hedgehog into four sections. Tie one around the paperclip so that the paperclip is firmly wedged in the finished piece and cannot come off on its own unless forcibly removed. With the needle, and foam in place below the wool, poke holes into the knot, carefully avoiding the paperclip itself so as to not break the needle. However, do go as closely as possible to the paperclip to make it nice and tight so that it doesn't make the finished piece flop around on the clip.

4. Once you've done the initial step of securing the body, or the core, to the clip, it's time to start wrapping the rest of the length around the knot and the paperclip, so that it takes shape and secures the clip some more. Keep stabbing as you go along. Loosen and straighten the next section of wool, and wrap it around the body, poking frequently to keep it in place. Repeat for the third and fourth sections. Keep on stabbing until the body forms an oval shape and becomes dense.

6. To make the head, roll 2/3 of the wool so that it ends up looking like a swiss roll. Using the needle, poke it from all directions, although you want to try and maintain a triangular shape for the snout. Loosen and straighten the 1/3 you've set aside, and coat the head with it. I like to apply the length in the direction of real fur on animals, so I've gone from under the head, to the front and over the snout before securing it on the back of the head and then doing the sides in the same direction. Make sure to keep the head a little softer than the body for the next step.

7. To secure the head to the body, attach it by pushing the needle into the head as far as it can go to join head and body together, and go at it from the sides, the back, and upwards from the body as well. To make the ears, separate the final white portion into two. Fold one on in on itself, and fold again. Stab with the needle, flipping the wool over to the other side and stabbing it until it forms a flat rounded paddle. Repeat for the other ear, and then attach to the top of the head.

8. To make the face, separate the little portion of the dark brown wool into two equal pieces. Twist one tightly to make a thread, and fold it in half. Needle the fold into the place where the nose would be, and then work your way down slightly before separating the wool and twisting the ends outwards, stabbing it into two curves for the mouth. Cut off the ends once you've gotten the mouth that you want. Roll the other half of the dark brown piece into a ball and stab it until it forms a round shape. Attach it to the face right on top of where you marked the nose. Take two very thin pieces of black wool and roll each one into a ball. Poke until two tiny balls have formed, and trim off any hanging pieces of wool. Attach to the face, and keep stabbing until the eyes become smaller and sit in the eye sockets, rather than sitting on the face.

9. The quarter of the beige wool needs to be divided into four equal pieces, and each one rolled into a ball and stabbed until a short, fat log is formed. Attach one on either side of the body, just below the head, and the rest on either side at the bottom to represent hind legs.

10. Combine the rest of the beige and dark brown wool to make a mottled mix for the back of the hedgehog. I do this by placing one colour on top of the other, and pulling them apart and layering them several times to get an even distribution of the two colours. I started attaching some to the hedgehog from the top of the head, twisting/curling it down the sides of the face, stabbing as I go along. Keep on applying small sections to the head and body, twisting or bending the wool to create texture, until you've used it all up and have rounded out the back and the head so that it looks like a shell around the hedgehog, rather than a secondary colour to their coat.

11. Use the scissors to give the hedgehog a trim of all its loose threads. It'd take a really long time otherwise to push all of the fibres into the piece, so trimming them really cuts them down to a minimum. Pun intended.

If there are any questions, please do not hesitate to leave it in a comment. I'll help as best as I can, but please keep in mind that I'm still new to the art of needle felting. It's relatively simple to pick it up and learn how to do it, especially with the help of a few videos on YouTube. It's amazing what one can create with a lump of wool. However, using real wool is a bit of an ethical problem for me so I'm hoping I could figure out a way to needle felt with acrylic or even cotton.

I really wanted to post this yesterday, but I didn't get the time or the opportunity to do it as soon as I got home from work. I was also really tired as soon as I went to bed I could barely wash my face of makeup. I've come out with a new posting and blogging schedule, one that works better with my work schedule and should get things back on track. I find that I can't post on Wednesdays as the day is short and often taken up by my loved ones or by running errands. As such, my new posting schedule is on Friday, Sunday and Tuesday nights.

Here's hoping that this new schedule works out for the best!

What kind of tutorials are you guys looking for on the blog?



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