Sunday, July 14, 2013

Glass eyes for your needle felt critters

Not much into writing lately but still doing a bit of the felting , just taken a back seat to some other obsessions right now . Below is a quick tutorial on how I am not making my glass eyes . There is lots of room for making these in your own style but this method seems to be the best for my needs ......

Above are a small sample of the eyes I made last night . They are about 35mm but I also made some smaller 20mm eyes for my smaller animals . I bought the glass cabs on Alibaba and they were a very nice quality, no air bubbles, individually wrapped and flawless .

Above supplies:

Paper is a peel-off label paper for printers . (chosen because one the eyes are done you can peel and stick and hold in place with lids felted on top and bottom OR use super glue )

Bic /acid free/ permanent markers

scissors to trim around eyes when dry

Kleancolor nail polish (or quality polish of choice), I used clear base with glitter specks

Glass cabs

thin tipped pen (to trace around cab )

I'm not an artist but I am fascinated by all the dimensions and colors in eyes . Above shows the progression of each "layer" of color starting with med golden brown , lightest green, blue-green, med blue around outer edge and fill the whole eye in with lightest golden brown . Once the eye is completely colored in, I lay down an even layer of polish on the paper and press the cab on top . That both seals the paper and acts as a glue to hold can onto paper . No need to add the "white highlight " to the eye, as you can see that cab naturally does that by reflecting light like a real eye . Wait until dry and trim around each eye . I like having them all together and only plan on cutting them out of the sheet "as needed . Go study some google eye close-ups and get some ideas on the colors you prefer for either realistic or fantasy creations . If you don't care about them each being hand-made, you can also print eyes onto label sheet and try the same process, though I don't know how well the copy machine ink stands up to the nail polish you could try a modge-podge instead .

Lastly, two of my latest small guy and a "head" that I plan on mounting when I get some more wood blanks .

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Learning by failing...

 I finally finished my moving leg critter...(the big guy on the right ). I'm glad I didn't bother doing a tutorial as the legs move but he is to wobbly to stand and looks better sitting . Still, as Einstein said, (sort of), "It's not a bad experiment if it shows you what not to do next time" and gives you some clues about what part worked and what didn't . So, not giving up but will need to hit Menards to look for more hardware options . I did fall in love with the white mohair I got from World of Wool . It is incredibly soft and I will need to get some more soon to use m new dyes on . Spring is here, right ?
 The little guy on his lap is made for a friend and I'm naming him Mike .
I may not be felting as much if the weather truly stays nice this weekend . I really need to get out and smell some dirt, plant some seeds and pick through some rocks . I've got spring fever pretty bad this year and may even try and fix my bike tires .

Happy spring and Happy felting !

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Works in Progress, Dreads and needle felt with moving legs

This funny looking fellow is a "work in progress" . I decided to try and conquer the problem of adding movable limbs to needle felt . I wanted something I thought would be more practical then using a wire frame . That just doesn't seem very useful with my larger animals . This is my basic idea but instead of going to Menards and actually looking for something that might work , I just dug through my hardware box and tried to "make do".

What I had to work with was a 4 inch screw thread, (the ones that come in those ceiling hook thingies that has no head on either side). I had no nuts to fit the ends so used this little plastic "thingies" that I have seen used to hold mirrors flush to the idea what they are called . I felted around the screw thread and placed that bit in the lower portion of the body and felted all together .

My original plan involved using nuts so will try and show a more detailed tutorial if I ever get to Menards to get the right hardware . As it is, I think this will work as the screw thread turns in-side without any problem so should be able to get this guy to sit or stand . My attachment plan involves using some super glue and leather pads on the inner thigh of his legs . I will try and show the result when I get him all finished....still need to make his arms which will just be needle felted to his body as usual .

These legs are just sort of propped in place right now, not lined up and attached but gives a little idea of end result . Besides the arms, he needs a bit more detailing and smoothing in his snout and ears . Head and body are some new mohair from World of Wool that is incredibly soft > Will be getting more of that as it feels great ! Legs are alpaca .

This guy is also sporting my new hand painted glass eyes . They were a bit of a "miss" as I couldn't get the paint to dry for over 2 weeks but I added superglue and stuck them on anyway and they turned out OK .

I spent several nights last week layering oil paint and different fingernail polish on these eyes but had no idea how long it takes for oil paint to dry . Really was frustrating as some areas of the pupil are still not dry .

These are the oil paints I used because I liked the water clean up but if you try it , make sure that you have a cat free zone to let them dry, mine got bumped and moved several times resulting in some smearing....arrrrggg !

My other project the past two weeks was making some needle felted dreads for a friend . She wanted purple and I had some purple wool for the core but over that base I ordered some purple mohair that has a great shine and softness . This is just a really long version on my needle felted bracelets and I admit it takes forever . I know wet felting would have been faster but I wanted some more hair like texture so gave it a try . The longer ones on screens left-side are left unfelted at ends so I can felt it into a wool band and the smaller ones on right can be braided into hair . I had to watch several utube videos of the process since I had no idea how people wore falls/dreads. I think I may have to make some for myself as I really like the way they turned out . I will try and show the finished project when I get a few more done .

Last but not least, I invested in some more acid dye (tans and browns), from Dharma and several pounds of wool and mohair from World of Wool . The shipping for us US folks is pretty steep but I'm always happy with their quality, fiber prices and relatively fast shipping from England . Most of the box was natural color grey, brown and white medium texture wool for the core of my animals . I plan on dying in the different shade of brown dye so that when I reverse felt, it will add some color depth to the alpaca and mohair I use on top . When you reverse felt, you get some deep core fibers and some top fibers, which can add a lot of natural color to the end result . I think the mix of wool, alpaca and mohair gives and end result that is less likely to mat over time and strong enough to brush when needed .

I also bought one of their "cheap wool ends" bags with some lovely colors for working on some angry bird felties...more on that when I get to it . You never know what they will send but it's always been nice quality and it's kind of fun to get a surprise .

Spring is in the air, (ignoring that snow out-side), and I hope to get some dying done when it warms up a bit . Happy felting !

Monday, March 11, 2013

March 11 2012 latest needle felt animals alpaca and mohair

I just order new supplies to make more hand painted glass eyes . I hope to offer them to other crafters who can't afford the more expensive glass eyes but don't like the plastic eyes .

Creepy monster paws (with and without eyes and claws) . I plan on making these into key chains and clip on purse decorations . Something that only takes me a few hours to make and I can offer for less then my 60 hour animals . Obviously not a big seller for "normal" people but I know there are other weirdo's like me out there who will like them .
Happy felting !

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

mohair and alpaca reversed felted animals

 Above and below are my latest creations . I actually bought some pink eyelashes for the big guy . They are both wearing some of my latest "bling" .
 Both are made using alpaca and mohair and reverse felted . I actually bought some nice brown mohair which I hope to get this week . I really love the way the mohair reverse felts as it is such strong fiber and makes such nice long fur .
 Of course, Max showed up as soon as the camera came out . We got him at the local shelter and I really wonder if he wasn't a show cat in his previous life . Next to him are two of my older animals that I reverse felted to make them fluffy . I think the grey guy is shetland and the other is a mohair mix .

 Belwo is Max's best friend and much shier brother < balhoo . He rarely stays still so this kind of pose is pretty rare . 

Happy felting .

Monday, January 14, 2013

New Felt critters and a bit of bling from Top Hatter

Above are my latest critters with my new home-made glass eyes...........

They are glass half rounds that I ordered from Alibaba  and painted the back with some nail enamal...I need to find a better paint as this stuff is toxic and gave me a headache . Since the paint is not exposed but facing down it doesn't really need to be this hard-core but I do love the sparkle of the nail polish . I may play around with some water based varnish mixed with dye and glitter to see what I can come up with .

Above are 3 animals I felted last year and just got around to doing reverse felting to make them fuzzy . It doesn't make them look much better in a photo but it's a world of difference to touch and to see close-up . (The large chicken egg is for size reference)

I also bought some name tags for my critters and some stamps to make them name tags but....they are such solid metal the stamps barely make a dent and is super noisy . I will keep working on it but need to remember to wear earplugs next try .

I have taken some time off from felting do to some shoulder/back pain . Needle felting can be harder on your body then it might look, especially the large animals I do . During that break, I decided to make some gifts for my family for Christmas and in spite of my vow to not buy more beads since I hate beading...I stumbled on a new obsession ......TopHatter . It's an on line auction site that is in a virtual reality . I plan on doing an article about them soon but for is a small part of the loot I have scored in the past few months..........

Some of it has already been sent in the form of trinkets to my family but you can see the "extra bits" that I still have for future projects . Most is planned for items to make and sell but the fake fur Lynx coat which is barely visible  on the edge of picture and the computer Tablet which is a cheap little China knock off...are Christmas presents to me from money given from my brother and mother in law . So thanks for the gifts....I love them !!!

Tophatter is very addictive and very dangerous for people who don't have a lot of money but like sparkly things . Stay away from electronics and read descriptions VERY carefully before bidding . I will give a better report later but taataa for now .


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