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I just bought my first set of needles and I plan to start some felting. Going to put a face on a Pachimari.

Needle felting is done by repeatably stabbing felt or roving to tangle fibers. There is risk with those repetitive motions. Now, I have seen tutorials, like this one that created a felted purse, that used a foam pad or brush as a work surface. That seems fine and dandy but what about smaller things?

It is very tempting to pick up the work and use my hands for more control but I am not likely the idea of stabbing myself. Is using the foam pads and/or brushes the only way to accomplish this? If I wanted to make something small like a mushroom...

Mushroom specimens

Image from Pintrest

Even if I am wrong about how to do felting on that scale my question still stands. What safety precautions should I observe while needle felting?

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You might consider a small piece of leather. I've seen leather pot holders that would likely work, but any suitable size piece of suede of sufficient thickness would work.

You could also wear a heavy leather glove on the hand that you're holding the piece you're felting.

(note -- I don't do felting, but I've done plenty of other needlework projects ... including hand-sewing leather, so I know needles don't go easily into it unless it's that thin stuff they use for driving gloves and such)

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  • I had considered gloves but it can be hard sometimes as you can use the tactile feel. Still worth a shot though.
    – Matt
    Jul 12, 2016 at 1:45
  • @Matt : you might still have some feel from some gloves, if they're not overly stiff. I use suede welding gloves instead of pot holders, and you still have feeling in them until they get overheated and stiffen up. (or my brother uses them and melts plastic all over them)
    – Joe
    Jul 12, 2016 at 1:54
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There are a few ways and it depends on the size and shape of the thing you are felting.

If it's something really thin and flat, you can put it between two sheets of plastic. You place the wool in between the plastic, and hold it shut with your hands. Then carefully stab the needle between the folds, aiming at the wool. This is a fairly delicate process, but you can get fairly thin and sharp lines like this. For reference, here is a youtube video on how to make cat ears.

Or you can get a piece of leather. I use leftover veggie tan. Cut out a rectangle about 3 by 6 inches. Bigger, for bigger hands. Then the long side in half, to make a square hotdog. The put it on your non-stabbing hand. With the thumb on one side, and the your four other fingers on the other side. Similar to how you would shape your hand for a sock puppet.

Afterwords, you can mold the sides with water and friction so they curl towards the outside, kind of like a shell. Here is a link to the product by Sarafina, if you don't want to make it yourself.

I also like carefully holding it and just being really careful about how I'm stabbing, so to not hurt myself. I find this better than the finger gloves, because this way I can feel the wool.

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    Hi JenTheMaker, thank you for your answer, and welcome to Arts & Crafts! It is always good practice to relay the information from linked sources to your answer (/question/comment) as much as possible, so that whenever a link is unavailable for whatever reason, your contribution is still useful.
    – Joachim
    Feb 25, 2023 at 9:26
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    @Joachim I updated the answer, I wasn't sure if I should let you know. Or indicate it's been changed. Feb 27, 2023 at 16:46
  • Thank you for the update. It's certainly not necessary to let others know about updates, but it is appreciated :) It has improved the quality of your answer, and votes will reflect that.
    – Joachim
    Feb 27, 2023 at 22:22

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