I recently picked up needle felting again. The supplies are fairly inexpensive, and it’s such a versatile craft.
I had posted pictures on my Instagram of a few little critters I made. (You can see a sheep I made here and a little gray kitten I made here.) My friend had a great idea and asked me to make his cats out of their fur! I did some Googling but didn’t find any good information about felting with pet hair. I do know that you can use roving to felt on pretty much any fiber, so I figured I’d give it a go! He sent me a bag of cat hair and I got to work.
Unfortunately I didn’t take pictures to make a full tutorial, but here are the finished kitties:
You can see pictures of the real life kitties on their Instagram @pinky_and_the_smeag.
A brief, incomplete tutorial:
I made the same type of armature for both cats. I started with 20 gauge wire, mostly following this tutorial.
I like a wire armature because it gives you the opportunity to make poseable, expressive critters!
I wrapped the armature with an inexpensive off-white roving to give the cat fur something to stick to. If I had done the entire cat in their fur, I would have had to overwork the hair; you have to do quite a bit of stabbing to get the base fiber to attach to itself and solidly cover the armature.
Next I made their heads. Smeagol’s head is a little wider than Pinky’s, and Pinky’s nose is a little longer. I used tiny balls of felted wool for their muzzles. I purchased 7mm glass eyes from GlassEyesOnline.com. Here you can see how I covered the off-white roving on Smeagol’s head with her white and gray fur. You can see here how the fur keeps its texture but is still attached to the base.
I attached the heads by wrapping the posts of the glass eyes around the loops I left sticking out of the armatures. I then felted another layer of roving around the neck, making sure to complete the gap between the head and body.
Now for the fun part: attaching the fur! I worked in small sections and felted the fur to mimic their real life markings. Thank goodness they keep an active Instagram! I had plenty of pictures to work with.
Pinky’s markings were a little more complicated to reproduce. He is a flame point Siamese, so he has very light tan markings. I used his actual fur for the body, again covering the wool base.
I had purchased this set of wool roving from Amazon and used the lightest brown for his markings, and the lightest pink for his nose and inside his ears.
Here are the finished kitties!