You are currently viewing What your needle felting starter kit needs

If you’re looking for a new hobby, there’s a great number of things you can try. However, if you want one that doesn’t require you to buy a bunch of new, expensive tools and is easy to learn, the list gets significantly shorter. Let me recommend you one hobby that fits the bill: needle felting.

Crafting hobbies are great because a lot of them allow you to try them out without investing a lot of money and time in them. It’s especially true for needle felting. It’s one of the most beginner and wallet-friendly crafting hobbies I’ve tried so far.

If you want to know what needle felting is and what supplies you need for it, read on. This little guide will tell you what your needle felting starter kit should contain before you start your newfound hobby.

If you’re into other DIY stuff, here’s an easy, budget-friendly tutorial you might like. But first, read this one. 😉

What is needle felting?

In a nutshell, it’s basically poking wool with a special needle until you get the shape you desire. (You’ll read more about the tools and materials you need below.) It is also referred to as fiber art. If you check out e.g. Instagram or Etsy you’ll see why.

I’d say it’s kind of like sculpting, but much easier. I can’t sculpt with any other material to save my life, but I find it fairly easy to shape the wool with the needle. It’s a lot less messy too! The only thing you have to be cautious about is the sharp needle.

The type of things you can make is endless. You can make tiny figures and key chains (that’s what I do), or you can create huge sculptures too. Some artists make the most beautiful, realistic animals you can imagine, while others create paintings with this technique.

Needle felting. What you'll need to get started. Pinterest pin for a post about a good beginner needle felting starter kit

Why is it good to needle felt?

  1. Like any other crafting hobby, this one’s also great for improving your hand-eye coordination and dexterity. The movements have to be precise and small if you don’t want to hurt yourself with the needle or break it.
  2. It’s a very soothing, relaxing hobby, so it’s a great way to wind down when you’re stressed. When I’m angry and frustrated, aggressively poking a wool ball is quite an effective way to calm down a bit, haha. (Be careful though! You don’t want to poke yourself.)
  3. You can be as creative and imaginative with it as you can.
  4. It’s easy for beginners. After watching a couple of tutorials you can get started right away. You don’t need a course or a teacher to guide you.

I’m sure there are many other things I could list here, these are just off the top of my head. Also, this post is slowly turning into a commercial, which it isn’t, so I’ll stop here. 😀

Is needle felting a cheap hobby?

Needle felting is a low-cost hobby because it doesn’t require any expensive special tools or materials. The tools and materials you do need to buy are easy to come by, if not locally, then online, and they don’t cost much either. Read on to learn what things you need to get started and how you can be even more budget-friendly.

Needle felting starter kit for beginners

The most essential needle felting supplies you’ll need are

  • wool
  • a couple of felting needles
  • a mat

And that’s basically it! Everything else is just extra. Let’s see the details.

Disclosure: I don’t participate in any affiliate programs. I don’t make any money off of the products I recommend in my posts.

The wool

So for my needle felting starter kit, I headed to AliExpress, because that was the cheapest option for me. Where I live needle felting is not a common hobby, so craft stores don’t usually carry the necessary tools. I also live in a small town, which doesn’t help my case. If you have access to them locally, that might be the best option though.

I found a local online store, but it would have been a bit more pricey to start there. As I was just dabbling, I wanted to be as budget-friendly as possible. The only thing I ordered from there was the natural wool because that was more economical that way. Now that I already (sort of) know what I’m doing, when I run out of colors, I will definitely order from a local shop instead.

So as I said, on AliExpress I found a pretty neat needle felting starter kit that contained everything I needed, however, as you can see, the colored wool bags are veeery small. However, in a video by Jazza he mentions some great advice he had been given about how you can be more economical with the colored wool so that it would last longer.

He says that you can make the core of your figure using natural wool, which is cheaper, and then you can use the colored one to cover the surface only. This way only a fraction of the colored wool is needed. The only drawback is that it takes much longer to finish a project this way.

The needle

As I mentioned earlier, you need special needles to able to felt wool. As you can see, these are very long and sharp needles that have little notches on them.

These are necessary because when you needle felt you basically tangle the wool fibers by pushing and pulling them as they get caught on these notches. The more you poke the wool, the more it will tangle, so your figure will become firmer and denser. It also shrinks in the process, so always start bigger.

There are different sizes of needles and they are numbered. Or should be, but mine aren’t, unfortunately. I actually have no idea what kind of needle I’m using. That’s the price you pay for going for the cheapest option, I guess. But oh well, for my current projects, I don’t feel the need to use different needles so it’s fine.

In the kit, I got a wooden holder, which I always use because I think it’s much more comfortable to hold. However, I’ve seen many pros using the needles without a holder, so I guess it’s up to you which one you prefer.

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The mat

needle falting foam mat
It’s quite worn down, I should replace it

For needle felting a mat is absolutely necessary, as the needle will poke through it multiple times. You don’t want to hurt your table and you definitely don’t want to break your needle either.

There are several kinds of mats and cushions you can use. The one in the picture is a piece of foam that also came with the starter kit. It used to have a flat surface, but by now the needles have poked too many holes in it. It’s a great option for beginners as it is inexpensive and easy to find.

Other options I’ve seen others use are wool mats and brushes. In the future, I might give those ones a try too. It’s worth trying out different options to see which one you prefer to work with.

The extra stuff

Finger guards for needle felting

Although I put it in the ‘extra’ section, finger guards for your index finger and thumb are a must for beginners. I’ve avoided many painful moments using these bad boys! I still manage to poke my middle finger once in a while though. 😀

The downside is that you can’t feel much in them, so sometimes it’s easier to work without wearing them.

Later, as you get better at handling the needle, you can ditch them completely, but for beginners, I recommend buying a pair. Mine came with the kit.

I chose a starter kit that contained this nifty little needle felting tool because it seemed very useful. It’s a tool that has seven needles in it. It can come in handy when you’re working on a larger flat surface.

Well, it’s not bad, but I don’t think it speeds up the process as much as I anticipated. The original needles in it are very fine, so maybe if you change them to different ones, it would work better.

Cookie cutters can be used for simple needle felting designs

The last thing I want to mention on this list is cookie cutters. I bought some in different sizes after I saw them being used in tutorial videos.

They are very useful if you want to make things like the ones you can see in the picture. For that purpose I highly recommend them! It’s much easier to create the shape you want with them than by yourself.

They’re definitely not a must though. For other projects, you can do without them easily.

I’m sure there are many other things we could include here, as more elaborate designs might require other tools. However, as we are focusing on beginners now, so for now, I think this list will suffice.

Is needle felting easy?

Altogether yes. But it depends. It is very beginner-friendly, but it can get complicated depending on the project. Elaborate, lifelike figures need experience and expertise.

You also need a steady hand. But I think with practice, even if you don’t have one, you can get there.

The type of figures I make, for example, are very easy. After watching only one or two tutorial videos I could already make a decent figure. I suggest you do the same. There are amazing artists on YouTube with great tutorial videos for beginners.

With my first figure, I didn’t have anything in mind, I just started experimenting with the wool and the needle. In the end, after some trial and error, it became a smiling chocolate chip cookie. 😀

How I came across needle felting

To close things off, let me tell you how I started needle felting.

Honestly, for a long while I’d kept seeing these cute figures, toys, and other stuff here and there but had no clue how they’d been made. I was so intrigued because they looked so cute, but I couldn’t even wrap my head around what material was used and how the shapes were formed.

The problem was that I didn’t know how to search either because I didn’t know the name of the technique. Then I forgot about it.

Then one time, more exactly in April 2022, Jazza, the YouTuber I mentioned earlier, posted the video I linked above on needle felting and I was enlightened! Finally, there was a name for the technique! Based on his video I thought it was not even that difficult, and maybe I could do it too, so then and there I decided to give it a go.

And I’m so glad I did! I’d always thought creating 3D things was just not for me, but now I know I just needed the right medium. Of course, I’m still a beginner and there’s a lot to learn, but it makes me so happy that even as a beginner I can make pretty decent figures. It’s a very fulfilling hobby for me.


So what do you think? Would you give it a go? Let me know in the comments!

If you have already tried it, I’d love to read about your experiences.

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