1. Nest Mold: The nest will be felted on this sphere-mold. Roll up a handful of acrilon or core wool into a firm sphere (about 6.5″ in diameter). Bind the sphere with sewing thread to keep the shape.
2. Nest: Wrap brown wool around half of the nest mold.
3. With a single medium needle or a 3-pronged needle holder, felt the wool around half of the mold till firm. Do not over felt the nest at this point or it will be hard to pull off the mold!
4. Once the nest if firm, pull it off the acrilon mold. You can continue to felt the inside and outside of the nest after it is free from the mold to further form the shape.
5. This is the finished owl’s nest. For variations of this nest, you can felt several colors of brown wool into the nest or felt textured yarn to the outside of it.
6. Owl body and head: Make 2 spheres (head and body) by rolling a handful of wool for each sphere into a ball (felt with a single needle to keep the wool together). Once you have a rather fluffy wool ball, use a 3 or 4-pronged handle tool to continue felting the spheres till firm and smooth. The body sphere should be about 5.5″ in diameter and the head sphere should be only slightly smaller, about 5″ in diameter. After the body sphere has been felted, make sure the it still fits into the nest. (If it doesn’t, felt the inside of the nest the body sphere till it fits.)
7. With a single medium or heavy gauge needle or a 3-pronged needle handle, felt the head and body together. Felt around the spheres where they meet till the two spheres are firmly felted together.
8. Cover the owl’s body and head with a piece of beige wool.
9. Cover and felt the owl’s body and head with a layer of wool to cover the area where the body and head meet, making a seamless base shape.
10. The finished, seamless base shape for the hooty owl.
11. Face: Needle felt a “mask” of white wool to the owl’s head. We will add the face details (eyes & beak) later.
12. Wings: with small pieces of beige wool, form two ovals. Felt the ovals flat on both sides. Add grey to one side of each wing, this is the top. Don’t felt too much or the wool will stick to the sponge felting surface and become hard to pull off.
13. Use a wisp of wool to make the owl’s beak
14. Roll the wisp of yellow ochre wool into a small tube shape. Felt the shape with a single small needle till it is firm and smooth. Add a little grey wool around the tube shape.
15. Owl Fluff-Pull off short, wisps of grey wool. (Here I used a fine grey merino wool because I couldn’t find this color in a coarse wool). Place the wisps on the base owl shape, felt the wisp down in the center of each wisp. Only felt the wisp of wool in the center. Brush up the rest of the wisp on both sides so the piece of grey wool sticks up.
16. Cover the whole owl base shape (except the face) with this Fluff Technique.
17. Once the whole owl has been covered with wisps of grey wool, brush up all the ends of the wool and trim them. The trimmed wool will be fluffy. This Fluff Technique is usefull for making fur on animals and short hair on dolls. (see my Chow Chow puppet as an example).
18. After the fluff has been trimmed, add the wings to both sides of the owl’s body, just below the white face. Needle felt the wings onto the body using a heavy gauge needle. Add the wings by felting the underside of the wing to the body (this will make the wings stick out a little).
19. The finished body is ready; now the face details (eyes, beak) will be added.
20. Using a medium gague needle, felt the owl’s beak onto the face. Bend the beak slightly downward for a realistic appearance.
21. Using a medium or heavy gauge needle, felt two small dots of black wool into the owl’s face to make the eyes. (Make sure they are on the large side so they will look like owl eyes). With a small gague needle, felt a very thin piece of grey wool around the eyes. (take a small piece of grey wool and roll it between your palms to help make a grey string-like piece for around the eyes.). With a small or medium gauge needle, felt a tiny white dot into the black eye.
There are many kinds of owls. Look at photos of different owls for details and colors to make variations of this fluffy Hooty Owl.