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Needle Felted Doll: Sugar Plum Fairy

How to make a needle felted ballerina doll and turn her into a sugar plum fairy!
Keyword: felted doll, needle felting, nutcracker

Materials

  • Felting needle
  • Foam In the video I use styrofoam which is NOT recommend, but was all I had at the time of filming. I recommend using a foam block or piece of soft foam instead.
  • Sculpting wire  This wire is quite thick, so if you can only find a slightly thinner wire, that will absolutely work too!
  • Yarn  This won't be seen, but using a color similar to the skin tone you're using makes things easier in case any happens to "peek" out.
  • Skin Tone Wool Roving - 2-3 oz Roving I used the color 'Cookie'
  • Hair Color Wool Roving - 1/8 oz Roving  I used the color 'Brown Bear'
  • Primary Costume Color - 1 oz Roving I used the color 'Mint'
  • Accent Tutu & Ballet Slipper Color - 1 oz Roving  I used the color 'Cherub'
  • Costume Trim/Strap Color - 1/8 oz Roving I used the color 'Cherry Blossom'
  • Sequins and/or Pearls for embellishments (I used gold flower sequins from my son's giant sequin jar and pearls I popped off of sewing pins!)
  • Glitter (Gold or iridescent)
  • Mod Podge 
  • Gold trim for the crown (This is similar to what I used!)
  • Glue
  • Scissors

Instructions

Needle Felted Doll Steps

  • Cut a piece of wire to 30" and fold in half. Starting about 1.5" down from the top fold, twist the wire together for about 4" inches to begin to form the doll's "torso." The remaining pieces of wire will become the legs. Fold the end up slightly on each to form the feet.
  • Cut another piece of wire, about 15" and twist it around the torso you just created. This will form the arms. Fold the end up slightly on each to form the hands.
  • Wrap the entire doll frame with yarn. Begin at the torso and wrap the head, neck, arms, remaining torso and legs until completely covered. NOTE: If you are following the tutorial for the doll's head in the video, you will leave the head unwrapped and skip to step 6.
  • Roll a piece of skin tone roving into a ball that is about the size you'd like the final doll head to be. Use your needle and foam to felt it together, pushing the needle over and over into the ball, until it becomes solid and holds together.
  • Place the ball atop the "head" of your wire frame.
  • Pull a piece of skin tone roving off the skein that is approximately 12". Use another strand to tie a knot around the middle of the roving you just pulled. 
  • Place the knot at the top of the "head" and wrap the roving around the head. Grab a thin strand and wrap that around and around the "neck" of the doll.
  • Use the needle to felt around the neck and around the head to hold in place.
  • Pull a long, thin strand of roving off the skein and wrap it around one arm, starting at the shoulder, working your way down and around the hand. The most important thing here is to not TWIST the roving as you're wrapping, it should remain "flat" as you're wrapping. Use your needle to felt the ends into place, and to felt around the hand. Repeat with the other arm.
  • Now, do the same with the legs. Pull a long, thin strand of roving off the skein and wrap it around one leg, starting at the "hip", working your way down and around the foot. Use your needle to felt the ends into place, and to felt around the foot. Repeat with the other leg.
  • Pull another long thin strand of roving off the skein and wrap the torso, wrapping over the ends of the roving you used to cover the head. Wrap until you have the desired torso size for your doll. Felt together and felt ends in place with the needle.

Turning Your Doll into a Sugar Plum Fairy

  • To create her hair: Wrap a piece of roving diagonally, across one side of her head. Needle felt in place around the front and back of her head. Wrap a second piece on the opposite side of her head and felt in place again. Create a small "ball" of roving by felting it slightly and then felt on top of her head to create her bun.
  • To create the bodice of her costume: Wrap a piece of green roving around her body and needle felt in place. Shape accordingly across the top as desired. Use a small strand of pink to create the detailing along the top of the bodice, and to create straps, needle felting each in place.
  • To create the tutu: Cut a piece of roving 4" long. Needle felt one end to the bodice. Repeat with as many as desired to create as full a tutu as you'd like. Fold the layers up and create additional, contrasting layers underneath using the same method. Trim to desired length (the shorter it is, the better it will stick out like a tutu) and gently pull the ends to "fluff" it.
  • To create the ballet slippers: Pull a small piece of pink roving and wrap it around the foot. Felt in place, shaping as you go to create a ballet slipper shape. Pull another strand and twist it to create the shoes ribbon. Wrap around the leg and felt in place. Repeat on other foot.
  • Embellishment ideas: Trim floral shape sequins to create diamond shape embellishments, or use them in their entirety. I coated with mod podge and sprinkled glitter on each to make them sparkle. Let dry. Then use a strong glue to adhere to the costume. I added a pink "pearl" as a finishing touch. Create a crown out of gold trim and place around her bun.