I love needle felting. I especially enjoy needle felting these sculptured doll faces, although it is a long process, and I usually manage to get stabbed by those vicious Felting needles, at least once. Or twice, if I’m totally honest. Needle felting a doll head and face is creative and imaginative, because you create form from an abstract. I use natural wool batting, which is a fluffy white cloud, and Felting Needles, and by repeatedly stabbing the innocent fluffy, formless cloud, I create a form. Sometimes, I look at a photo of a child and try to make this form resemble the child in the photo, and this is not as simple as it sounds. More often, I work by intuition, or instinct. and let the wool, the needles and my fingers work their magic.
There is a basic Needle Felted Doll head form I make, which is similar to the basic Waldorf doll sculptured doll head. Once I’m happy with the basic shape, I keep adding wool and stabbing it with various Felting needles, until I am happy with the fiber sculpture in front of me. Occasionally, I cover it with a piece of Waldorf doll skin, to check if the features are visible through the skin fabric. It is a process of trial and error, blood, sweat and tears. (Those darn needles are extra sharp, you know.)
Sometimes, an awful looking needle felted, sculptured doll head turns into something quite fabulous when covered in doll skin. Other times, a beautiful needle felted doll head looks plain and disappointing when it is covered. Trial and error..or, if you want another cliche, practice makes perfect. And yes, this is definitely the best advice I can give you: Practice, practice, practice.
The second best advice is : Get a BIG box of Band-Aids. Like the loaded gun in Chekhov’s plays, it will be very useful in the future and you will thank me for that.
2 comments on “Needle Felted Sculptured Doll Face”
Louie, I see a lot of little figures needlefelted in colored wool and I want to know – do I have to cover a finely needlefelted doll head with fabric? I’m not making a Waldorf style doll- this is just a fashion doll slightly larger than a Barbie- my own creation and not taken from any pattern.I HAVE made Waldorf style dolls – and covered them with dollskin fabric -but, do I really have to? Need to? I am planning to dye my own wool roving to get a flesh tone. I’ve made the dolls in cloth and I’m not 100% happy with the head- no matter how I cut the pattern. Do you think I could skip the doll skin fabric?
Thanks in advance for any advice or suggestions.
You definitely don’t have to cover your doll face with cloth. It’s a matter of personal preferences. I mean, if you were trying to make a traditional Waldorf doll, they are usually covered in cloth, but in art, the only rule I believe in is following your heart and your personal vision.
Felted dolls are wonderful and I know how frustrating it is sometimes, after spending so much time needle-felting all the details, to hide it all with cloth.
Trust your instincts! I would love to hear how it went.