/ / Getting Started with a Needle-Felting Machine {tips and tricks}

Getting Started with a Needle-Felting Machine {tips and tricks}


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Christmas came early for me this year in the form of this lovely little machine that I have grown to adore. The Simplicity 12 Needle Deluxe Felting Machine does a lot of the same things that you can do with hand-felting, but at an amazing speed. Since I am a girl who can’t get enough applique work, this machine is right up my alley and I have been having so much fun.

I got my Deluxe Felting Machine straight from Simplicity, but if you’re looking around for one the best deal I’ve found is {here} through AllBrands.com. They also price match, yay!

And just in case you are wondering what felting is… well in a nutshell it is using a barbed needle (or more than one) to combine fibers together. This felting machine pokes the needles down through the felt layers quickly, causing them to mesh and combine. There’s a nice YouTube video about it {here}.


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This is a pillow where I used the felting machine to felt-applique my design to the background and then I used embroidery thread to add detail. I think I just made up a new word… felt-applique. Coming from a sewing background, that is exactly what I feel like I am doing, although without thread and with different materials. 

Tips and Tricks for using the Simplicity Deluxe Felting Machine

There is a learning curve when first using this machine, and I thought I’d share some tips for a beginner just getting started.

1. Carefully select your materials. Begin simple and experiment with trickier fabrics as you get more comfortable with the machine. Start with a background of fleece or wool-blend felt that the needles can easily poke through. Make your second layer be 1mm wool blend felt or roving. Whenever I try a new material, I test it first to see how it will work with my felting machine.


Click for a tutorial for this scarf. :)

Click for a tutorial for this scarf. 🙂

2. Remember that you don’t have to felt with all 12 needles in the needle head. It is very easy to add and remove needles. I have found that I like working with 6. This amount of needles lets me work smaller areas and small applique pieces with more precision and not worry about getting a hole in my fabric because I over-felted one area.


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3. You’ll get the hang of this the more you use the felting machine, but I’ve found it’s easiest to avoid broken needles if I run the needles fast and my hands slow. I put the pedal to the floor and then move my material gently around with just a couple fingers – kind of the same feel as free motion quilting. And always stop moving your material before you stop moving the needles. Then raise the needles if they didn’t stop in the up position.


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4. Since I am doing lots of applique work using 1mm wool felt blend sheets, I love my Superstick glue stick from Thermoweb even more. It really helps those little pieces stay in the right place until the fibers are felted enough that they stick on their own.

5. If you break a needle, replace it immediately in the needle head and remove any broken needle parts from your work. If you continue to felt with a broken needle, it will poke larger holes in your project, making your work look scarred.

Will you become a felt-addict like me? Which of these projects would you like a tutorial for?

xoxo,


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Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂

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5 Comments

  1. Debra Kay Neiman says:

    Merry Christmas. crystalbluern at onlineok dot com

  2. Thankyou, I am waiting for my machine to arrive, your tips are very helpful. I have needle felted a few things, made dogs for Christmas presents. Hope to make some colourful things on y new machine

  3. Norma LeVally says:

    I own the 12 needle delux felting machine. I have not found a resource to buy replacement needles for that machine. Does anyone know where I can buy needles?

    Norma

    1. There is a shop on Etsy that carries them, if you are still looking. Super expensive, though… especially during the learning curve.

  4. I want to get a machine. I’d Love Pillow Tutorial!

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