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! Continue reading “The Art of Needle Felting and Chimpanzee Tutorial”

Why Needle Felted Dolls range from Pricy to Affordable

laura lee burch needle felting
Goldilocks and the three bears

Lately I’ve been making fairy tale dolls, I first started making the dolls with pipe cleaner armatures then progresses to a bigger doll with a needle felted head and body with only pipe cleaner arms and legs. The pipe cleaner dolls (the basic pipe cleaner doll tutorial can be seen here: http://www.lauraleeburch.com/blog/2011/09/beddy-bye-dolls-tutorial-2/  are small and just the right size for small children to play with and they can be made in a reasonable amount of time (half an hour each), making them much cheaper to make and sell. The larger, more detailed dolls take a lot more time (about an hour each to needle felt, plus a half an hour to an hour more if they’re clothed). I think the larger dolls are cuter, but more expensive due to the amount of time it takes to needle felt, then sew the clothes for each one. I love these two types of pipe cleaner dolls because you can’t break them, they’re bendable, soft and made from natural materials (wool is bacterial and fire resistant!)

needle felting dolls
Goldilocks

The larger needle felted dolls have many more details such as glass doll eyes, styled hair and more intricate, sewn clothes. I make the patterns for the doll clothes; I usually end up making a sample piece of clothing first which I make alterations to, then I revise the pattern, cut out the pieces, then sew the doll’s costume. I make the dolls first because I love the needle felting process and I save the sewing for later (when the mood hits me to sew).

Pipe cleaner dolls
Goldilocks & the Three Bears-Pipe Cleaner version

As I first started to make human style animal dolls (The three bears and the three little pigs for example), I struggled with the decision of whether to dress the animals or not. A friend of mine who worked in a Hallmark shop for years once told me that clothed teddy bears that had clothing or costumes sold better than non-clothed teddy bears, so I took that as a piece of important advice from someone who observed teddy bear sales because she used this information to place the bear orders for her very successful Hallmark store. This meant that if the urge to sew doll clothes didn’t come to me as my little animals stood there naked, I’d need to “just do it” and sew some clothes for the dolls. I like to sew, but only when I feel like it, just like cooking. I’ve left the smaller, pipe cleaner dolls unclothed (except Goldilocks of course) so that their price point stays low. I have quite a few more fairy tale dolls finished, just waiting for clothes! Back to work….

 

 

The Three Little Pigs Fairytale Dolls

the three little pigs fairytale dolls
The Three Little Pigs have got the world by the tail!

Things have changed for the Three Little Pigs, fairytale characters extraordinaire, they’ve got the world by the tail these days!  Long ago their nemesis the Big Bad Wolf was caught and jailed for stalking and destruction to private property. The pigs now live together in a posh condo with a doorman to keep out the riff-raff.

laura lee burch needle felting
The flying Piginski Brothers

After the traumatic stalking episode with the Big Bad Wolf, then trying to collect from the insurance companies for the destruction of 2 of their houses, the lawsuit the wolf laid on the pigs for getting hurt on their property and trying to rebuild their lives again, the fairytale gig didn’t suit the pigs anymore.  So, the pigs joined the circus and became the Flying Piginski Brothers, high-wire acrobats!

art dolls
On top of the World!

The Flying Piginski Brother’s Act has become a swine sensation , the pigs are really “on top of the world  now!” Who Knew?!

ADO
The Three Little Pigs 2011

 Moral of the story: Embrace change!

needle felt
The End

Fairytale Footnote*The Three Little Pigs are needle felted from wool, they are posable and they have glass eyes. The pigs range from 6.5″ to 7.5″ tall. I’ve updated their story with a modern twist, but the Three Little Pigs has always been one of my favorite classic fairytales! I guess we all like it when the underdog wins and the bad guy gets what’s coming to him, aka:  karma rules!

The Three Little Pigs
Emili and The Three Little Pigs

Beddy-Bye Dolls Tutorial

Before I go to sleep

 At our house, long gone are the days that I had to lie down with the girls to get them to go to sleep, I would wake up in their bed hours later, in the middle of the night and drag myself to my own bed. Bedtime was an ordeal, but we found that bed time rituals helped settle our girls down and get into the mind-set of going to sleep. At our house, the preparations and rituals include the very important glass of water by the bedside, brushing the teeth, saying prayers, choosing a bed time story that I would read to the girls (several years later, the girls chose a bed time story that they would read to me), tucking in and finally they would give me many, many kisses and I would tip-toe out of their rooms. I made these little Beddy-Bye Dolls with bed time rituals in mind, knowing that children like to pretend with their dolls, acting out the things that happen in their daily lives. 

But we're not sleepy!

These cute and poseable Beddy-Bye dolls are also great for children who are a little older (past toddler-hood). They are sweet and cute and can be used to act out fairy tales and bedtime stories and they’re perfect  just for pretend play.

 Dolls and Kits are available in my shop

sweet dreams

Continue reading “Beddy-Bye Dolls Tutorial”

The Princess & the Pea, Needle Felted Fairytales

laura lee burch needle felting
The princess and the pea, needle felting and sewing fairytales

I’m glad that my in-laws didn’t put me through any weird “quality tests” when they first met me (as the princess’ mother did when she put the pea between the mattresses of the princess- in-question!)

Laura Lee Burch needle felting
She can’t sleep because there are vegetables in her bed!

The princess is one of the needle felted pipe cleaner dolls I’ve been making. I made her dress from part of a beautifully, hand crafted tea towel (I bought it at an antique store in Greenfield, Indiana). The little mattresses are actually very tiny pillows that I sewed from cotton, the pea is needle felted and I made the bed from cardboard, duct tape, felt and dowel rods. The bedposts are needle felted with dowel rods inside to keep them sturdy. The bed came out pretty well, all the dimensions came from measuring the mattresses. It’s pretty strong, although I wouldn’t want a small child to try to sit on it, the way I often see small children trying to use miniature things!   

lauraleeburch needle felting
Is she or is she not a princess?

I like the mixture of sewing and needle felting in this project, the many different pieces of cotton fabrics in the matressess and bed coverings give the piece an interesting look, something visually busier than what results from the solid colors of felted pieces. 

laura lee burch needle felting
Happy princess and her pea.

The first thing my girls did when they saw the princess in her bed was to look for the pea. With small children, I think that a simple game of hide and seek with the pea could be fun.

needle felted pipe cleaner doll
Needle felted, cotton pipe cleaner doll