14 April, 2012

Tutorial - Dry (needle) felted dragonflies

When I think Autumn, I think dragonflies...
See another dragonfly crafting post here,  

Before I depict any animal in craft, I try to find a photo of a real creature, 
rather than a sketch or drawing.
This large, detailed image is from the gorgeous book:
 Smart Permaculture Design by Jenny Allen

To begin my felt dragonfly, I dreaded a body length. 
Careful to have a thicker body and thinner tail. 
And rolled two similar sized pieces of fleece into balls for eyes.

I used a 38gauge dry felting needle throughout the project. 
First to attach the eyes and add detail (orange stripes) onto the body.
Rolling a length of fleece into a sausage, or dread.
Rolling a small piece of fleece into a ball.
To make wings, I began by tightly wrapping a white pipecleaner with fleece.
Smoothing around the pipecleaner with my fingers (in a single direction) 
until the fibres came together, to felt.

I then poked a hole through the body of my dragonfly 
and pushed the now felted pipecleaner to the centre.

I looped each end of the pipecleaner and twisted it back into the body. 
To hide the sharp ends.

Close up of the looped ends of the pipecleaner
(which is wrapped in fleece) - minus the dragonfly body.
Wrap and needle felt wisps of fleece around the wing armature, 
taking care not to hit the pipecleaner with the dry felt needle. 
Hitting this may break the needle.

For the back wings, I gently rubbed 2 lengths of fleece into thin strips.

Then wrapped the end of each length around the front wing. 
Then needled  into place.

I plan to make another dragonfly using thin felt for the wings. 
(see below)
To try to achieve the translucency of a real dragonfly's wings. 
However, these little guys will be played with by young folk,
 so I thought it best to make the wings as sturdy as I could.

(See this post to look at the dragonfly I have made with thin felt wings.
I love how it turned out.)

As is often the case, my boys were alongside me whilst crafting.
Mr Turtle wanted to make his own dragonfly too.
He began by drawing one, copying the form onto a piece of paper. 
Which gave him an idea of how he wanted to proceed in fleece.
Then he began.
My boys have been using dry felting needles for a while now, 
so I don't feel there is any need to hover. 
If they prick themselves - they know it hurts! 
So, like the rest of us, they do their best to avoid it.
I went off to do some chores and left him creating.

And came back to find this beautiful wonder.
He achieved the translucence of the wings I think.

Do you have insects you associate with particular seasons too?


  1. Your dragonflies are beautiful. And I love Mr Turtle's - he did such a great job!

  2. Gorgeous Aleta and I will give these a try.

  3. Love it! I may try them with my kiddos! Thanks Aleta.


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