The Art of Needle Felting and Chimpanzee Tutorial

The Art of Needle Felting and Chimpanzee Tutorial

needle felted art
Chimp with a Pearl Earring
Because the Fairytale Frog  tutorial that I did was so popular, I decided to do another tutorial with the same multi-jointed technique. Feeling a little artsy after I made my chimp, I fashioned him as “art” after a few famous artists. For the above shot, I draped my chimp in the clothing and head covering to mimic Girl with a Pearl Earring, I placed him in front of a black background (like the Vermeer painting) and took his picture. I photo-shopped his eyes to look at the viewer and blurred him a little to look like a painting.
needle felted art
Salvadore Monki

 For Salvadore Monki (after the famous photo of Salvadore Dali), I took Monki’s photo with a needle felted moustache. I photo-shopped his eyes to look like the expressive eyes of Dali in the photo and changed the image from color to black and white. The cropping and the moustache here were key!

needle felting and art
The Chimpanzee Scream

My final piece of chimp art is the Chimpanzee Scream. I created the background with pastels (to look like the famous painting by Edvard Munch, The Scream). I positioned my chimp in the lower right hand corner and took his picture. Voila!

I had a lot of fun recreating these Chimpanzee pieces of art, a little something more to highlight my needle felted work!

fun with needle felting
Emili is monkeying around again!

So now for the tutorial, have fun!

Materials:

*Core wool or poly fiber-fill (pillow stuffing) to make base shapes
*Black wool (for body, head, arms and legs)
*Peach wool (for face, ears and hands)
*Pink wool (for inside of mouth)
*Brown pastel (to color nostrils and ears)
*Pink pastel (inside of mouth)
*Flesh colored pastel (to color the chimp’s lips)
*Doll eyes (I used blinking eyes, regular doll eyes can also be used-see doll eye vendors at the end of this tutorial)
*2 pipe cleaners (lips): each 5.5 inches/14cm each piece)
*Felting needles: fine, medium and heavy gauges
*Needle felting handles (for 4 needles and for 3 needles)
*Sponge for needle felting surface
*Scissors (to cut eye sockets)
*Wire cutters (to cut pipe cleaners)
*Fabric glue (to glue in eyes)
*Peach sewing thread (to wrap the base shapes and sew on the lips)
*Sewing needle (to sew on the lips)
*Embroidery needle (to embroider the finger and toe lines on hands and feet)
*Black embroidery thread (to connect the arms and legs to the body)
*Brown embroidery thread (to embroider finger and toes)
*Doll needle (to attach the body pieces together)

NOTE: I use pastels to lightly color some areas. The areas will fade, but the pastel stains the wool so the base color stays. I use pastels to color some areas rather than felt them with wool when I want a more subtle color or effect, for example the chimp’s lips). You can felt the inside of the mouth pink or use pastels, which ever effect you like best.

Body Pieces:

Head-black: 14″ diameter/36cm diameter
Snout-peach: 10″ diameter/25.5cm diameter
2 ears: (flat felted): 2″ x 2″ / 5cm x 5cm
2 arms: (upper arm, lower arm x2) 7″ long x 5″ diameter for each piece/18cm x 13cm
2 legs: (upper leg, lower leg x2) 7″ long x 5″ diameter for each piece/18cm x 13cm
Body: 8″ long x 13″ dia./20cm long x 33cm dia.-should be an oval that is larger on one end
2 hands: (flat felted) 4″ wide x 5″ long/10cm wide x 13cm long
2 feet: (flat felted) 4″ wide x 5″ long/10cm wide x 13cm long

PDF Pattern pieces for the ears, hands and feet: Hands, Feet and Ears Pattern

NOTE: Each base shape needs to be shaped from core wool or poly fiber-fil and wrapped with sewing thread to keep the shape. Ears, hands and feet should be flat felted. Each shape should be covered and then felted with it’s corresponding wool color then sewn together.

NOTE: When attaching the arms, legs and head to the body, sew 4 to 5 times through each piece to attach it. Wrap each joint with the embroidery thread before knotting it off.

Base Shapes: With sewing thread, wrap the base shapes for the head, snout, body, arms and legs. Cover all the shapes (except the snout) with black wool and needle felt till firm and smooth. Cover half of the snout with flesh colored wool, needle felt till firm and smooth.

chimp needle felting art
1. Bind core wool into base shapes with sewing thread

 

base shapes covered in wool
2. Chimpanzee shapes covered and felted with wool

Ears, hands and feet: Flat felt the ears, hands and feet. For the ears, hands and feet, for each shape, lay out 3 layers of wool , place each layer in the opposite direction. Position the layers into the patterns shapes provided. Using the felting handle for 4 needles felt the shapes flat, turn the shapes over often to keep them from sticking to the sponge. With a single needle, felt around the shapes to smooth them. Needle felt a small amount of black wool onto the tops of the hands and feet and embroider fingers and toes onto each.

3. To flat felt the ears, hands and feet, lay down 3 layers of wool, each layer in an opposite direction.

 

handmade dolls
4. Flat felt the ears, hands and feet with a felting handle holding 4 needles. turn the ear, hand or foot over often so it doesn't stick to the sponge.

 

chimp hands
5. The hands and feet are the same shape and size

 

laleebu blog
6. Needle felt black wool on the tops of the hands and feet. Embroidery three lines (fingers and toes) onto each hand and foot with brown embroidery thread. Be sure to felt the hands and feet in opposite directions by placing the thumbs together on the hands and the feet and then needle felting on the black wool.

Snout (mouth and lips): Cut the snout ball in half, place the peach part onto the head of the monkey. (save the other half of the snout for a future project) With a sewing needle and thread, sew the snout onto the head. Cover the stitches with black wool and felt over the sewing stitches to hide them. Cut the snout in half horizontally to make a mouth. Felt the inside of the mouth with pink wool. Wrap 2 pipe cleaners with flesh colored wool, felt it onto the pipe cleaners, then roll the wool covered pipe cleaners between your hands to keep the wool from coming off. Wrap the lips around the mouth and sew them on with flesh colored thead. Cover the lips with a thin layer of flesh colored wool and with a single felting needle felt over the lips to cover the sewing stitches. The pipe cleaner lips allow you to shape the monkey’s mouth.

chimp muzzle
7. Cut snout-sphere in half. Sew the snout onto the head

 

chimp doll
8. Needle felt 2 half circles for the eye area. Needle felt over the stitches around the snout.

 

needle felting tutorial
9. Chimp head, side view of snout and eye area.

 

needle felted chimp doll
10. Cut the snout in half to make the mouth

 

chimp lips
11. Wrap 2 pipe cleaner with wool, felt on the wool with 1 needle, then roll the wool covered pipe cleaners between your palms.

 

laleebu tutorials
12. Sew the wool covered pipe cleaners (lips) along the mouth.

 

needle felting
13. Cover the stitches and finish the lips by covering them with a thin layer of wool and gently felting the wool down. Felt the inside of the mouth pink.

 

needle felting chimp tutorial
14. The pipe cleaner lips make them posable.

Ears: Place the ears onto the side of the head, facing toward the face and sew them on. Flip them out and use a brown pastel to make a C-shaped line on each ear.

chimpanzee doll
15. Place ears toward the face and sew onto the sides of the head. Felt over the stitches and flip ears back.

 

needle felting as art
16. Finished snout, eye area and ears

Nose: With a single needle, sculpt nostrils in the center of the monkey face.

laura lee burch tutorials
17. Sculpt two indentations for the nostals. To finish them, color and blend with a brown pastel.

Eyes: With scissors, cut slits into the head (pull out a small amount of stuffing/wool) where the eyes will be placed. Put the eyes into the head to make sure they fit snuggly. Make sure the eyes are both “looking” in the same direction. When you are satisfied with the placement of the eyes, take one out and insert fabric glue into the eye socket, replace the eye. Do the same for both eyes. Position and adjust the gaze of the eyes while the glue is still wet. Place black wool on the top and the bottom of the eyes, gently felt down with a single needle to cover the remains of the eye socket.

chimp doll tutorial
18. Cut two eye sockets in the eye area.

 

art doll tutorial
19. Place doll eyes into the eye sockets. Be sure both eyes are looking in the same direction before you glue them in and felt around them to finish.

 

needle felting tutorial
20. To finish the eyes, gently felt flesh colored wool above and below the eyes to cover the exposed eye sockets.

Body: The body shape is an oval, covered with black wool and needle felted till smooth and firm. Sculpt the bottom of the chimp body wider and slightly larger so the doll with sit better.

Arms and Hands: With black embroidery thread and a doll needle, sew the two arm pieces together, then sew the hand onto the end. Do this for both arms. Be sure to sew the arms and hands on in opposite directions so that the thumbs are on the inside once sewn onto the body.

assembling the pieces
21. Sew the arms to the hands.

Legs and Feet: With black embroidery thread and a doll needle, sew the two leg pieces together, then sew the foot onto the end. Do this for both legs. Be sure to sew the legs and feet on in opposite directions so that the thumbs are on the inside once sewn onto the body.

needle felted dolls
22. Fully assembled legs

With black embroidery thread and a doll needle, sew the head onto the body; sew back and forth 4 or 5 times till the head doesn’t wobble. Wrap black wool around the neck and needle felt till smooth and firm.

With black embroidery thread, sew the arms and legs onto the body.

art doll
Fully assebled, needle felted chimpanzee

Link for Eyes:

http://www.glasseyesonline.com/ and www.dollsparts.com

 

 

 

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11 thoughts on “The Art of Needle Felting and Chimpanzee Tutorial”

  1. Wow! Thanx for the brilliant tutorial! I love the way you combine needlefelting with sewing and cutting with scissors. I’m not very good at animals, but when I get the time, I will try your chimp!
    Thanx, Mattie

  2. Amazing! Stumbled upon your site and am quite thrilled I did. Like Mattie, I’m no where near able to make something so elegant but am marking this for a future project.

    Your new fan.

  3. i’m working on this now, i started yesterday and he’s nearly done, just needs arms and hands now! i made some slight adjustments, my version has felted eyes and i added some wisps of peach and tan wool on the belly to look like there is less fur there. i also added a pink bottom (its a gift for my dad, he will definitely appeciate that detail lol) though if i was keeping him i wouldnt have put that in!

    this is my first needle felted project ever, and i’m loving it. your blog is so inspirational!!

  4. I’m so glad you like my site! You should try the chimp tutorial, it’s really not hard, it just has many steps. Happy Holidays:)

  5. Just wondering have you ever used stuffing instead likr for toys or cushion, there’s hardly any stores sell felt, cheers Bec

    p.s amazing work 😀

  6. Absolutely love your work. really inspires me used felt for the first time this weekend. made two little dogs nowhere near as good as yours, but really love needle felting , so much you can do with it.. Thank you for your tutorials .. Brilliant.. Alice

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