Get ready for Halloween with your own mini needle-felted pumpkins and follow along with this easy beginner tutorial.
Even though it is technically still summer for a couple more weeks, I can already feel the shift in the weather. This is the perfect reason to get a head start on some Halloween crafts with some mini needle-felted pumpkins!
If you are new to needle felting or want to try it, this is a great needle felting project for any skill level.
But wait, what is needle felting?
Needle felting is a way to sculpt with wool. Looking up close at wool fibers they are covered in scales. These scales let wool fibers lock together if they are agitated. This is also what causes wool sweaters to shrink if they get put in the wash.
Needle felting lets you control how the wool locks together. It’s like sculpting with wool instead of clay!
What you need
You will want at least 5 grams or 1/8 an ounce of wool total. The bigger the pumpkin you want to make the more wool you will need.
I used three colors: plain white wool for the middle, orange for the pumpkin, and brown for the stem. At a minimum, you need the pumpkin and stem color wools, but you would need more of the pumpkin color if you aren’t building the center with a different color.
You can make these needle-felted mini pumpkins with just one large felting needle. I used a 36 gauge felting needle for the entire pumpkin. You might want an extra needle on hand as a backup.
A couple more things
While not totally necessary, it’s always a good idea to have a stab-friendly surface to work on when needle felting. I have a mat specifically for needle felting that came with the beginner needle felting kit I’ve been using from Desert Breeze. Whatever surface you are working on make sure it can handle being stabbed.
It is also highly recommended you have some finger protection so you don’t stab yourself instead of the wool. These are easy to find wherever you find felting needles.
Let’s make a pumpkin!
Starting with some core wool, roll a strip of the wool into a loose ball. This will form the bulk of the pumpkin shape.
Keep in mind that whatever amount of wool you start with will get smaller as you work with it. Use a bigger size piece of fiber to start with than you want for your final pumpkin.
Using the 36 gauge needle, start stabbing all around the wool until it condenses into a marshmallow shape with all the fiber secure.
You want to keep the wool moving and not focus too much on one area. This will help keep the shape more even.
From marshmallow to pumpkin
Once you have the base shape how you like it, it is time to add the pumpkin color.
Using wool in your chosen fiber color, take a piece of it that is long enough to reach from the center top of the pumpkin to the center bottom, going around one side.
Tip: If you don’t have the exact color you want you can blend wool rovings together to make more colors. Lay colors on top of each other and gently pull the fibers apart. Stack the two bunches of wool and then separate them again. Repeat this process until the fiber is as mixed as you like. If you have wool carders or a blending board you could use those to speed up the process, but they aren’t necessary.
Take your small bit of fiber and give it a gentle felting into a vaguely sausage shape. Don’t work the wool too much at this point, just enough so everything is all together.
Lay this wool sausage over the side of the pumpkin core and stab it in. This will create the first segment of the pumpkin. I pay special attention to the edges of the segment to make clear lines between segments.
Repeat this process until the whole pumpkin shape is covered with the main color wool. Don’t worry if some segments are thicker than others, this just adds to the character of your pumpkin!
Adding a stem
At this point, my pumpkin looked as much like a peeled mandarin orange as a pumpkin. To make sure there is no confusion you will want to be sure to add a stem.
Using a small bit of the stem color, work it into the top of the pumpkin. Don’t worry about it being a perfect shape, pumpkins are perfectly imperfect!
Then, with a bit more of your stem color, twist it into a small, narrow cylinder. If you are careful of the tip you can use the needle to wrap around.
Work this wool until it is locked together into a skinny cylinder.
All that is left is to work the stem into the top of your pumpkin!
A tiny pumpkin patch
I had so much fun making these I made my own miniature pumpkin patch! Once you have the basic technique down you can play around with size, shape, and color. There are endless varieties of pumpkins, so let your imagination roam!
If you want to see more needle felting projects, click here.
What are you excited about this fall? Let me know in the comments below!