DIY: Adorable Felted Spring Chicks

March 7, 2012


I’ve got a bad case of Spring Fever, so I asked Miranda of One Little Minute to come up with a project that would remind me the new season is just around the corner. I love what she came up with. Excited to try felting! — Gabrielle

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Look out the window, spring is coming! Here in Virginia the daffodils are blooming along the highway, cherry blossom buds are beginning to pop up along the branches, and the sunshine gets a little earlier, brighter, and warmer every day. My little row of felted spring chicks is one of my very favorite home decorations, and today I’d like to help you create your own!

I actually originally made these little birdies as bright, cheery ornaments for my mom’s Christmas tree a couple years back. My mom and sister and I sat at the kitchen island, surrounded by wisps of wool and foam balls, listening to carols and laughing as my mom repeated “Don’t get your finger, those needles are barbed!” over and over. (Of course that didn’t stop me from piercing my finger clear through!)

These birds are so fun and simple to make, we finished about forty in an hour or so. I brought a few home with me after the holidays, and discovered that they are also perfect decorations for spring and Easter! I leave them perched year-round in my home to cheer me up and make me smile. Now, let’s get started!

Before you begin, you’ll need to gather up some supplies (all of these, excepting the knife, can be found at Michael’s or a similar craft store):

wool felting tool with several needles
wool roving in the color of your choice, and contrasting color for the beak
2″ foam balls
felting mat (I use a hunk of upholstery foam)
sharp knife
super glue
two beads

First, cut one edge off of the ball. This allows the bird to sit flat, and also provides him a head!

See how cute he is already?

Next, spread a thin layer of your wool roving across your mat or foam. Spread another layer, fibers perpendicular to the first, on top of it.

Then, spread one more thin layer of roving, fibers perpendicular again. The cross, hatch pattern allows the wool to matt better. You have no idea what I’m talking about? Read on, you’ll get it soon!

Using your felting tool, pierce the layers of wool repeatedly. Don’t get your finger, those needles have barbs! The more you pierce and poke, the more matted and intertwined the wool becomes. After a couple minutes, you should have a pretty well flattened rectangle of felt.

Peel the felt off your mat, and lay it over your foam ball, head and all. The head doesn’t need to be attached with anything, because we are going to hold it in place with the wool itself. (I tried to glue it once, but it just gummed up the needles, and didn’t hold it any more effectively.)

Wrap the felt all the way around the bird body, tugging it a little in places to allow full coverage. It’s no biggie if you have a thin spot or two, I’ll show you how to cover those up soon.

Now you get to go to work felting the wool right onto the styrofoam. Don’t get your finger, those needles have barbs!

The more you pierce and poke, the more matted and tight the felt will become. It’s a pretty cool process, and I get some satisfaction out of having very tightly felted birds. Try it, I think you’ll agree.

Do a little examination of your bird. Any little spots where the foam shows through, you can simply felt over with a small little bit of roving. Make sure you separate it a little bit, and cross the fibers before laying it down, so it felts nicely.

Watch out! Those needles have barbs on them!

Ahh, beautiful.

Now that the body is covered well with felt, we need to make a tail and beak for the little fella.

Begin with the same process, just a lot less wool. It’s not an exact science, so start with a smaller amount than you think you’ll need and add roving as you go.

This time, we’re actually creating the tail shape as we felt by folding in the edges, so that the wool begins to form a felted triangle. This is where you can allow your creative juices to flow, and make whatever size, shape and color of tail feathers you can imagine!

You are done when the shape you’ve got looks good to you. This is what I ended up with.

Next, use your beak roving to do the same thing, even smaller, for the chick’s beak. It doesn’t have to be a perfect triangle, or a triangle at all!

Here are my tail and beak ready to be felted onto the bird’s body.

I’m going to use the very same technique. Place the felt where I want it and pierce and poke with the tool until the tip of the tail is felted completely in place. I’ll leave the end to poke out a little.

On the beak I like to begin felting underneath, so that it ends up sticking out straight.

I come back on top just a bit to even out the felting. When you are holding these smaller pieces in place and felting with that tool, you really should remember to be careful of the barbs. Now that you’ve come this far, it would be a shame to ruin the bird with blood stains!

And, there he is. A healthy spring chick. I love these birds without eyes, and if you do too, just leave him at this stage and call him a beautifully finished project.

If you want to give him that little extra personality, simply dot a bit of glue right onto the felt, press the bead into the glue and hold in place for a couple seconds. Do the same for the other eye.

After you make one and see how easy fun and easy it is, you’ll want to make a whole row of them…

…a little family, even!

Finally, you can perch them in your home to prepare you for the upcoming wonder of springtime. Mine live on top of the dining room cabinet, where they can oversee the comings and goings of our own little brood. I can’ t wait to hear the real birds chirping outside, but for now these spring chicks will do.

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nikki March 7, 2012 at 7:06 am

Oh I’ve wanted to try felting for so long! Thank you SO much for the very simple and clear tutorial! I’m definitely going to be making a few of these adorable birdies.

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2 Shannon { A Mom's Year } March 7, 2012 at 7:19 am

These birds are wonderful! I finally got brave enough to try needle-felting last year, and it’s really fun and easier than you think. Thanks for the great project idea.

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3 Jill @ A Mom With A Lesson Plan March 7, 2012 at 7:26 am

Wow, those birds are so cute. You make it look just simple enough for me to give it a try! They would perfect for an Easter basket!

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4 The Orchard March 7, 2012 at 7:55 am

We will definitely give those a whirl! I have all the supplies already, now I just have to actually DO IT! Thanks for the inspiration!

Cheers!

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5 Christa the BabbyMama March 7, 2012 at 8:02 am

Very cute, but one of those projects I must admire from afar. I’ve been put on a ‘new craft supply’ diet!

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6 Sharon @ Discovering blog March 7, 2012 at 8:03 am

So that tool is all that’s needed to make the wool felted? Do you have to turn it?
I love the way that these little birdies are so colorful! I’m a sucker for rainbows.

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7 Miranda March 7, 2012 at 9:24 am

Yep Sharon, with the felting tool (armed with needles) and some wool roving, you should be able to felt the wool into any shape you hope for! Good luck!

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8 Miranda March 7, 2012 at 8:30 pm

Oh, and no turning, just poke it straight up and down.

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9 DawnMarch March 7, 2012 at 9:17 am

Thank you for sharing this! Those birdies are adorable. Is it okay to Pin this tutorial?

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10 Miranda March 7, 2012 at 9:23 am

I’m glad you like it! Feel free to pin, pin away!

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11 Chelsea March 7, 2012 at 11:15 am

Needle felting, ahhh it’s so fun and even slightly therapeutic as long as you don’t get a needle in the finger. :)

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12 Megan March 7, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Those are so adorable! Love this!

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13 Malia O. March 7, 2012 at 12:44 pm

These are SO Cute! The best are all the little birdie butt lined up in a row. Love it!

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14 M'riek March 7, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Super cute little birds. Needlefelting is like sculpting with wool, I’m loving it!

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15 yours truly March 7, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Only Miranda can whip up chicks like that with a blink of an eye. How absolutely charming they are! This is such a great DIY!

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16 Brittany March 7, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Those make me smile and they don’t take up a ton of space which is nice. I know you mostly do design but I know you love children (you have 6) and I am trying to spread the word about a wonderful group trying to save children in Uganda. I am not asking you to post on it or anything but I think you would be touched by the video. Kony2012. com. Thanks for all the inspiration you give us daily.

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17 Lisa March 7, 2012 at 3:15 pm

So sweet! What a fun weekend craft! I will be making a few of these birds soon to go with my Easter decorations. Thanks for sharing!

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18 Jody March 7, 2012 at 4:21 pm

These are so sweet! Definitely going on my list of spring kiddo projects!

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19 Kira March 7, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Felting looks so fun and those are so cute! I want to try it!

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20 Charissa March 7, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Oh, I love these! Ralph’s my favorite.

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21 christine March 7, 2012 at 5:57 pm

I heard felting can be quite messy….is this true?

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22 Miranda March 7, 2012 at 8:28 pm

I haven’t had a problem with a mess at all! The roving holds together in a ball pretty well, and once it is felted, it is tight like fabric. Good luck!

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23 sarah jane March 7, 2012 at 7:47 pm

I love the felting trend. I love how the colors mix together into a marbled effect. pretty little birds!

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24 Karina Hotard March 7, 2012 at 8:03 pm

omg, how adorable

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25 Lisa March 8, 2012 at 7:14 am

Those are so cute. But I have a question, is that needle sharp? It looks like it has barbs? :)

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26 teresa March 8, 2012 at 2:40 pm

They are adorable- I’ve been wanting to learn how to felt for a long time….maybe this will be my reason.
Thanks =)

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27 Emily @ Peck Life March 8, 2012 at 3:24 pm

These little chickies are so very very cute! What a great idea!! You could sell these on Etsy and they would fly off the shelves!! :)

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28 Tracey March 8, 2012 at 6:20 pm

I wouldn’t have the patience to actually make these myself, but they are so CUTE!

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29 Amanda March 9, 2012 at 10:32 am

I’m in love! We’ll be doing this.
Question: I thought the eyes looked like little pins; maybe those could be used to both attach the head and as eyes? Without seeing the dimensions, it’s hard to know if a pin would be long enough. (And, of course, they wouldn’t be ideal with little ones around :)

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30 Lola G. March 10, 2012 at 5:50 am

These are so totally sweet! I’ve wanted to try felting for a while now, and this project doesn’t seem intimidating to this beginner. It might be fun to try with my daughter-in-law, who started knitting when she was in medical school and hasn’t stopped since.

Here’s to the glorious renewal of Spring!

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31 Andrea March 10, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Spring Break project, here we come! I can’t wait!

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32 Judy Woods March 13, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Am definitely going to do these little chicks. Thanx for sharing.
Saw your and your lovely family house hunting. Actually, I’ve seen it several times. One of their best. Love your choice. Understand son James and Laura and Harry had a wonderful visit with you and yours. Harry talks about the visit all the time.

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33 Vivian February 3, 2013 at 1:07 pm

I am deeply impressed. So terribly, utterly cute. I got a set of felting needles just to make myself a row of chicks. I swear I’ll be careful! Thanks for the warning.

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34 Sacia September 11, 2013 at 6:32 am

Love it!!! I have some wool roving left over from spinning yarn!!!

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35 Frankie March 23, 2013 at 12:54 am

These are absolutely adorable I only have one question…As I have a wood stove for heat and we all know how they create dust…How do I keep the little buggers clean? Other than that I think I will have to make a few to add to Easter baskets for my grand-babies this year as their parents told me I couldn’t add any more live chicks…LOL.. Thanx for the tutorial…

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36 Isobel March 28, 2013 at 9:05 am

So cute! I have always been curious about felting but a little intimidated at the same time….not any more! Thanks for showing it is nothing to be scared of :)

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37 Sacia September 11, 2013 at 6:29 am

I love this!!!!

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