Thursday, February 16, 2017

Using Wire in Needle Felting

Most of Saras needle felted sculptures have armatures built from wire. The armatures give her sculptures flexibility, an accurate skeleton, the ease of being able to wrap wool quickly to begin building shape, and a stable "bone" to keep limbs skinny. The key is finding the right wire for the job...

To get you started on your journey to making needle felted sculptures with wire, please watch these two videos:
Sarafina video on creating Armatures.
And Sarafina video on Troubleshooting for Armatures which helps to answer a lot of common questions that have come up over the years.

The metal wire we carry and recommend has been used by Sara for many years, and we are confident you will enjoy felting with these understructures.

Natural Color Chenille Pipe Cleaners:

Sara likes to use pipe cleaners for small projects such as ornaments and to wrap around the 12 and 14 gauge aluminum armature wire to give the wool something to hold onto.

Sarafina Natural Color Chenille Pipe Cleaners
Sara wrapping a pipe cleaner around the 14 ga armature wire.

Cloth Covered Wire:

Cloth covered wire is very useful with armatures for needle felting as the wool has something to hold onto. We have three different gauges of wire: 22 gauge, 26 gauge, and 32 gauge.

The 22 gauge wire comes in white and brown cloth, and is 18" long. This size wire is good for making small armatures under 6 inches tall. Sara uses this 22 ga wire to make armatures for Basket Bunnies, Birds' legs, mice, ornaments, and more.
Sarafina 22ga Brown Cloth Covered Wire
Sarafina 22ga White Cloth Covered Wire
The 26 gauge wire comes in white cloth, and is 18" long. This size wire is good for making tiny fingers and toes for your small creations: Mice, Chipmunks, Raccoons, Beavers, Chickens, and more.

Sarafina 26ga White Cloth Covered Wire
The 32 gauge wire comes in white cloth, and is 18" long. This is even finer than the 26 ga wire for even smaller tiny fingers and toes for your critter creations.
Sarafina 32ga Cloth Covered Wire

Check out Sarafina's Tiny Fingers Video.
For making tiny fingers and toes, don't forget our Sarafina Original Tool: The DigitWidget!

Aluminum Armature Wire:

The 12 gauge wire is a nice weight for sculptures over 10". Sara uses this gauge for Reindeer, Camels, or other similar size creations.
Sarafina 12ga Aluminum Armature Wire
The 14 gauge wire is a perfect size for sculptures in the 6" to 10" range. This is the wire that Sara uses most often and is great for: ponies, donkeys, goats, sheep, etc.

Sarafina 14ga Aluminum Armature Wire
Sara suggests if you need more structure to your creation, try twisting two lengths of 14 ga wire together, or try a 14 ga and 12 ga twisted together.

Please be aware that the more you bend and work any metal wire, you may reach a point where you have overworked it and it will break from metal fatigue.

The armature wire we carry will stand up better to movement and bending than wire that can be found at a local hardware store, as it has been made specifically for sculptural purposes. 

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 Needle Felting Tools Post
Sarafina FAQ's Answered
Sarafina Fiber Art Website
Sarafina on Facebook

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