Educational and Medical Aides Made by Needle Felting

I do a lot of different commission work in needle felting, it’s usually a doll or a mask or a beloved pet. I’ve made puppets for educational aides in the past but recently I was asked to do a bust of a multi-ethnic young girl; the customer wanted the doll’s mouth to be able to open and close and her tongue to be movable. The customer is a speech therapist who thinks that demonstrating how to move and place your tongue will help her young patients to better follow her instructions. I tried to stay away from the ventriloquist-look as much as possible because I think ventriloquist dolls are scary looking. The very unique thing about this therapy doll is that you can place the tongue in different areas in the mouth to show children more easily how to make specific sounds:)

“Put the tip of your tongue on the bottom of your front teeth.”
Speech therapy aide

From the commentary I’ve received concerning this bust, the speech therapist is onto something!

Bęc Smith I’m a speech pathologist and think this is so cool!

Sabrina Chan That is very cool coming from someone who would have benefited from seeing that as a child.
Laura Burch I’m so happy to hear this!
Cyn Plahuta I agree with Sabrina Chan — I think the speech pathologist would’ve been a lot more effective with me when I was a kid if she’d had something like this. Great idea!
The following photos show the step by step felting process of the Speech Therapy Bust:
 
 

1. Start with the basic shapes of the face. Make half a head so you can easily work with the mouth.
2. Add a layer of felt for the upper lip.
3. Cut a slit for the mouth.
4. Insert/glue dental teeth model. I bought the dental model on Amazon for $11.00.
5. Cut off chin. Make sure the mouth opens and closes easily.
6. Insert/glue eyes. The customer asked for a mixed race bust so I started adding color to the face. I started with the peach wool because I had a lot more of that color.
7. Start adding peach wool to the insides of the mouth area.
More interior mouth shots.
8. Glue the chin to the bottom jaw, making sure the top of the chin (lip) covers the bottom teeth. Add lips.
9. I needle felted a tongue with several wires inside so it moves however you bend it. I made it extra long so that I could glue the back down to the dental sample-between the hinges.
10. I added the rest of the head, starting with poly fiber-fill and I felted wool on top of it.
11. I added a neck and started on the hair.
12. I added the “bust” part of the piece so it had a base to stand.
13. I started adding hair and making facial adjustments. I cut off the sides of the face that overlapped the chin a little.
14. I made the chin smaller.
15. I reshaped the face for a smaller chin area and I made the lips smaller. I added embroidered eye brows for texture and then felted on top of them for color. I also added ears at this point. It was only at this stage that my kids stopped thinking she was scary looking!
16. I filled out her face, added a little color to her cheeks, outlined her eyes with brown and defined the eyes better. I also braided her hair and felted a shirt onto her. She’s cute now!

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1 thought on “Educational and Medical Aides Made by Needle Felting”

  1. Interesting, Laura… As I scrolled down, the images looked pretty creepy and I wondered how you were going to make it better than the regular puppets. When I got to the finished girl, I was so amazed as she really did become cute! You are something else!!! 🙂

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