Thursday, February 16, 2017

Needle Felting Tools - Our Favorites!

Needle felting can be a fun creative outlet, and just like any other craft, the right tools for the job help you create your best work.
This post is to share some of our favorite tools, all of which are available through our Sarafina Fiber Art Website.

In addition to the wool for your project, you will need to have at least two tools: Needle Felting Needles and a Needle Felting Surface which receives the very sharp felting needles.

Needle Felting Needles:

Sara's favorites are the 36 Star, 38 Star and 40 Twist.
The 36 star is the largest size, and strongest needle (it will grab a lot of wool).
The 38 star is the mid size needle, and is our most used for overall felting.
The 40 twist is the smallest size needle, great for tiny details.
2 of each Needle Sampler Pack

Needle Felting Surface:

Sara designed the Stabbit Wabbit to be eco friendly, long lasting, and a nice firm surface.  It has 2" marks for easy measuring of your wool roving.  We recommend using 3 lbs of uncooked rice to fill it. This firm felting surface is what receives the point of the needle as it passes into the wool.

Sarafina's Stabbit Felting Surface
Click here for the Stabbit Wabbit Video.

If you decide that you have become addicted to needle felting, like the rest of us, then you will want to look into further tools that will allow you to accomplish more.  As you hone your skills and develop sculptural techniques, the right tools can save time, create consistency, and make your felting world easier.

Sara uses this pink pen tool to hold either two or three needles. She also takes the extra pink guard off the front of the tool as you see below to allow for deeper penetration of the needles into the wool.

Replacement Needles: We recommend Sarafina Fiber Art Size 38 Star.
Sarafina Pink Pen Tool - 3 Needles

Green Punch Tool:

Sara uses this punch tool with 5 needles. This tool is wonderful when you have a larger flat area to felt.

Replacement Needles: We recommend Sarafina Fiber Art Size 40 Twist.
Sarafina Green Punch Tool - 5 Needles

Zullitool:

The Zullitool is a Sarafina original tool that was designed by Sara to help with making forms and shapes for your sculptural wool project. They are individually crafted by an artist in New York for our shop out of Cherry wood, and coated with several coats of boiled linseed oil for a smooth finish.
Sarafina's Original ZulliTool
Click here for the Zullitool Video

DigitWidget:

The Digit Widget is a Sarafina original tool that was designed by Sara to help you with those teeny toes, fingers, claws, feet, etc to keep their lengths consistent. They are individually crafted by an artist in New York for our shop out of Cherry wood, and coated with several coats of boiled linseed oil for a smooth finish.
Sarafina's Original Tool: DigitWidget


Click here for the Digitwidget Video

Needle Nose Pliers and Wire Cutters:

Don't hurt your fingers trying to bend the end of wire, use these flat edge needle nose pliers to make nice loops and bends. They also have a wire cutter in the back of the jaw of the pliers so you can easily cut your project wire down to the correct length. Two tools in one!
Sarafina Needle Nose Pliers and Wire Cutters


Micro Tip Fiskars Snip Scissors:

These micro tip scissors are made to get into small spaces and works to help you get the detailed edges you need from your fiber. They are a nice compact size that fits easily into your tool tote. There is a slide lock to keep the jaws from opening, and a spring loaded grip so that working with these is easier on your hands.
Sarafina Micro Tip Fiskars Snip Scissors


Seam Ripper:

This round handled seam ripper is a great tool to have on hand to help pull out problem areas of your project. The choice to use a seam ripper will allow the edges of the wool you are removing to have a frayed edge which allows you to blend the seam easier than a sharp edge from scissors would.
Sarafina Seam Ripper: Mistake Fixer

Click here for the Troubleshooting with Wool video.

Ewe Smooth:

This is a Sarafina Original Product: Wool Wax and Hand Healer. It is handy when you are trying to wrap tiny fingers, toes, or snowman noses. It helps smooth and hold the wool into place when it is difficult to get your needle into small places.
Sarafina Original Product: Ewe Smooth

White or Black Beeswax:

Sarafina Beeswax: White or Black

Check out the Tiny Toes Video to see how Sara uses the melted wax to hold the wool in place.

SWAX:


Swax is a Sarafina original product. Sara wanted to create a medium that could be used to both secure and smooth wool.

Swax can be tinted with our Paverpol Powdered Pigments. Alone it is a semi transparent light ochre color. (It will tinge white wool. Perhaps, down the road, we will be able to provide a truly clear version. Also keep in mind when you use blue, it may warm towards green).

You will also need an applicator for the swax. We suggest Colour Shapers for this task.

Check out the How To Use Swax video.

Reference Charts:

These reference charts are hand drawn by Sara to help you make better armatures and shapes by helping you keep your sculpture in the right proportions. These double sided drawings are printed and laminated to withstand lots of handling.
Sarafina Reference Charts


Horse Hair (for whiskers):

We are happy to offer long 2-3' long horse hair for the use of whiskers for your critters. The tail hair comes from local well cared for horses. You will need a needle to thread the hair through your sculpture, then a tiny dab of crazy glue to hold it in place, and a sharp pair of scissors to cut them to the right length.
Sarafina Horse Hair for Whiskers

Sarafina Woodles (Wool Noodles)

Use Sarafina Woodles to attach longer fibers to your needle felting sculptures. We have three colors for your projects: Gray/Brown, Heather, Off-White.
Sarafina Woodles (Wool Noodles)
Check out the Sarafina video: How To Attach Long Fibers Using Woodles.

Sarafina 8" Hand Carders:

As we expanded our Fiber Art horizons, we found that hand carders are a helpful friend when blending small amounts of wool, flicking open lock ends, or smoothing un-carded fiber. We decided to make our own to the standard of quality, aesthetics, and function that we want for our creations.

Our Sarafina Hand Carders are individually crafted by an artist in New York for our shop out of cherry wood and contrasting walnut, and coated Tung oil to accent the wood's beauty. The smooth rounded handle is at a slight angle and incorporated into the body of the carder making it strong as well as comfortable. The body is further rounded for easy rolling motion. The cloth is 70 TPI - a nice weight for the most variety of fibers.

The carder body is 9" x 4" with an 8" x 3" carding cloth. The handle is 5.5".

Sarafina 8" Handmade Cherry Hand Carders

Click here to view the Hand Carding Techniques video.

Canvas Tool Tote:

To carry all of your great needle felting tools, check out our Canvas Tool Tote! This tote measures 12"x9"x6", and has pockets around the sides in 4 different sizes. Each tote comes with your own Sarafina Wooden tag for your name on the back.
Sarafina Canvas Tool Tote

We also have our Tool Tote available bundled with tools:
Tool Tote Basic
Tool Tote Ultimate

We hope this post has a lot of useful information to help you get started on your needle felting venture. Here are some other helpful links to help guide you on your way.

Helpful Sarafina Links:

Sarafina You Tube Video Links
Sarafina Wool Overview Post
Sarafina Wire Overview Post
Sarafina FAQ's Answered
Sarafina Fiber Art Website
Sarafina on Facebook

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