Needle Felting Hooty Owl Tutorial

needle felting owls
Needle Felted Hooty Owls
There are many different kinds of owls, each cuter than the next. (Barn Owl, Screech Owl, Great Horned Owl, Snowy Owl…) 216 species in all! As a needle felting project, these cute birds are easy to make, as a Waldorf style toy, they are fun to play with, find out for yourself!
three little owls
Emili holds the Hooty Owls in nests

Materials:

Wool-I use coarse wool (like Shetland, New Zealand or Corringdale) whenever possible.
beige wool-body, head (base shape), wings
grey wool-fluffy body covering, wings, lines around eyes
black wool-eyes
yellow ochre wool-beak
white wool-face, dots in eyes
acrilon or core wool-nest mold
 
Tools:
Felting needles-medium and heavy gauge
Needle felting handles
sponge-felting surface
 
Note: I have photographed my hand in most of the steps so that you can more easily estimate the sizes of the shapes and quantities of wool.
 
Note: This project can be felted using only one medium felting needle, but I like to use multiple needles (in felting handles) to speed up the process.
mold
nest mold

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.

wool nest
Making the nest

2. Nest: Wrap brown wool around half of the nest mold.

owl's nest
nest on the 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!

wool nest and mold
pull nest 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. 

needle felted nest
finished needle felted owl's nest

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.

handful of wool
use a handful of wool for the owl's body
owl's body
making the owl's body and head
nest and owl body
the owl's body still fits into the nest

  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.)

owl body
use a single needle to felt the head and body sphere's together

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.

making the body and head seamless
cover the body and head to make it seamless

8. Cover the owl’s body and head with a piece of beige wool.

finishing the owl's body
cover the body with more 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.

needle felted base shape
owl base shape

10. The finished, seamless base shape for the hooty owl.

white wool
felt white wool to head

11. Face: Needle felt a “mask” of white wool to the owl’s head. We will add the face details (eyes & beak) later.

wings
owl wings
owl wings
finished needle felted owl wings

 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.

owl's beak
use a wisp of wool for the owl's beak

13. Use a wisp of wool to make the owl’s beak

owl's beak
roll wool to make 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.

owl fluff
felt grey wisps of wool to the base 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.

grey wool
cover the base shape with grey wool
base shape covered with grey wool
base owl shape covered with grey wool wisps

 16. Cover the whole owl base shape (except the face) with this Fluff Technique.

fluff technique
trim the grey wool to make a fluffy covering

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).

owl wings
add wings after the fluff is finished

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).

finished owl body
the body is finished and ready to add face details

19. The finished body is ready; now the face details (eyes, beak) will be added.

owl's beak
felt the owl's beak onto the face

20. Using a medium gague needle, felt the owl’s beak onto the face. Bend the beak slightly downward for a realistic appearance.

owl eyes
felt owl's eyes onto the face

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. 

baby owl
Needle felted Hooty Owl
Hooty Owl in nest
Needle felted Hooty Owl in nest

There are many kinds of owls. Look at photos of different owls for  details and colors to make variations of this fluffy Hooty Owl.

little owls
Kids like owls!
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22 thoughts on “Needle Felting Hooty Owl Tutorial”

  1. I look forward to trying this tutorial! These owls are exquisite. May I sell the owls I make with this tutorial? Thank you for writing.

  2. Hi,
    I’m glad you like my owls! I offer the tutorials for people to do with as they wish. I think it’s very sweet that you’ve asked my permission to sell the owls, be my guest; It’s always nice if you could credit me in some way.
    Sincerely,
    Laura

  3. Thank you for these instructions! Your samples are just darling, and I’m looking forward to making a few owls of my own!

  4. We are in love. My daughter and I are just beginning to felt… we made bracelets. These owls are what we want to make… oh, we want it bad!

  5. I’m glad you like the tutorial and thanks for sharing it with your readers!

  6. I just LOVE your owls !! They are so adorable !, I am going to be making them as soon as my supplies come in the mail, thank you so much !!

  7. Thank you for such an excellent tutorial. I’ve had a great time making lots of little owls. Most of them have ended up in the school where I work, sitting with children and encouraging them to learn.

    [IMG]http://pic80.picturetrail.com/VOL1944/13152549/23879268/404100979.jpg[/IMG]

  8. Love Love the owls I am going to try them on Saturday…. Daddy takes little one out for the day… hurray… mommy can craft
    thank you Denise

  9. Thanks for this. I am going to be teaching free workshops on felting for a community project where we need creatures and elements of woods, sky and a waterfall and this gives me some ideas.

    warmly,

    Erika

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