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….

 

 

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

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Needle Felted Carrot and Bunnies Tutorial

laura lee burch needle felting
Needle felted carrot bag with bunnies inside

The carrot bag is for carrying childhood treasures, be it smooth stones or secret notes or acorns or candies! I’ve included a tutorial for how to make the carrot bag and the four little bunnies that are inside of it; delight and surprise your children with this whimsical bag/toy:) The basics of this tutorial can be applied to any fruit, vegatable or other item of your choosing.

laura lee burch toys
The carrot bag is for girls and boys

 

Waldorf inspired bag/toy
Needle felted bunnies live inside the bag

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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

Needle Felted Finger Puppets Tutorial

finger puppets
The puppy licked my nose!

Finger puppets help bring out the imagination in our children; the imagined worlds and characters of children are fascinating to watch! With this simple tutorial, you can make animals, monsters, aliens, sea creatures, people or whomever your imagination might introduce to you. Adults and children alike,please be careful with the felting needles, as they are very sharp, please supervise your children while felting.

playing with finger puppets
piggy tail

The secret to needle felting is SHAPES! You determine the shapes that make up an object, felt each one and sew and/or felt them together-Voila-easy as pie! I will show you step-by step how to make the frog finger puppet in this tutorial, but there is a shapes guide that can be printed for the cow-pig-rat-frog and dog at the end of the tutorial to help you determine the shapes that make up the other animals.

figer puppets
pig, cow, rat, frog and needle felted finger puppets

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