I’m dabbling with needle felting again with this needle felted duck. Hey! Got any grapes? Let’s see a show of hands for those of you who know the duck song? Don’t know it? Watch the quick video below and you’ll get the inspiration behind this adorable needle felted duck!
Before completing this adorable needle felted VW Beetle, I made this needle felted duck for my husband as a gift and it was huge hit (he might have mentioned it was the best gift ever)! As long as I’ve known him, Hubs always told the duck joke (the Duck Story is actually based on the joke). This project just brought it to life; complete with grapes!
Creative Craft Blog Hop
Incidentally, we’ll have even more craft ideas for you at the end of this post because it’s time for our monthly Creative Craft Hop! Be sure to drop back in throughout the week to visit them all!
Welcome if you’re joining us from Andrea at Design Morsels! Wasn’t her abstract art striking?
We always endeavour to bring you unique craft projects on Birdz of a Feather that you won’t find elsewhere. So if craft projects are your thing, before we get into the tutorial, join us here to get your craft mojo on! Then follow us on Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram to stay in the loop!
As with most of our projects, we always like to have a thrifted/upcyled element. This time we’re incorporating this dusty glass dome we found while thrifting. Better for the dust to land on the glass than our sculpted masterpiece! Once it’s cleaned, it will look as good as new!
Materials for Needle Felting Animals:
[If you’re looking for some of the things we used, we’ve got you covered (disclosure): With the exception of the roving, clicking on the affiliate links in this post means we may receive a commission. But don’t worry, you don’t pay a cent more and it helps us make more unique crafts to share with you! Thanks for helping to support our blog!]
- Dense foam needle felting pad
- Ashford Corriedale roving in Lemon Yellow, Tangerine Orange, Purple Amethyst, Licorice Black, Kiwifruit Green. Also core white for the base.
- Ball chain (I used a thick chain, but you can use a finer one).
- Charm (made with love)
- Pipe cleaner (1)
- Felting needles (I’m using a 38-guage needle for this project)
- Hand carders (optional)
- Glass dome (optional)
Needle Felting Tutorial Tips
- Before starting, have a visual aid to help guide you. I scanned the internet for duck drawings and printed a few out before I started this project.
- For the sake of consistency, work in pairs when you have two of anything (like the wings).
- Make all pieces a bit bigger than you think you will need because the wool will shrink about 30% as it is felted. Don’t make it too big though: you can always add more roving, but you can’t easily take it away.
- I cover my felting pad with a piece of synthetic felt to protect it and give it a bit more longevity from the constant stabbing. Lift your work off the felt frequently to prevent it from sticking.
- Needle felting needles are very sharp. Store any extra needles in a corner of the felt pad so they don’t accidentally roll away. Keep your wool and materials stored safely from children and pets when not in use.
Custom Colour Felt
By the way, I couldn’t find a soft pale yellow for this project, so I made my own! I took equal parts of white and lemon yellow, then pulled them apart and stacked. Keep doing that until the fibres are well blended with no obvious streaks of any one colour in the mix. It helps if you have a pair of hand carders but for such a small amount they are not necessary (and are pricey!).
Needle Felting How To
Base of the needle felted duck
To start, work with the white core wool as the base. Tear off some wool and roll it tightly into a croissant to get the initial shape. Stab it to hold the ends and then all around the perimeter to keep the shape rounded.
Add more core wool to build it up.
Concentrate the wool in the centre as you form the tail into a point.
As a reminder of what I’m aiming for, I often refer back to an inspiration drawing. This one was printed from an online source.
Once happy with the shape, add the yellow on top of the core wool. I couldn’t find a soft yellow roving so I made it by taking equal parts of yellow and the core white. I continually pulled it apart over and over until it blended into the colour I wanted.
Don’t forget to stab the needle all around the perimeter to keep the circular shape. If you just concentrate in one area, you’ll flatten it and that isn’t what you want for the body.
Head and Neck
At this point, I switched over to using my yellow roving for the remainder of the pieces. Form the head by pulling off more roving and rolling it into a tight ball. Stab all around to firm up.
Make a tubular piece for the neck, leaving a fluffy end. Add more wool to build up as you did for the body.
Attach the fluffy end of the neck around the head.
Connect the head/neck to the body made in the previous step. I find using a darning needle helps to attach pieces allowing me to keep my fingers away as I stab with the felting needle.
Due to the fact that the barbs are on the end of the felting needle, you really only need to penetrate the felt about 1/4″ to felt; it doesn’t have to go deep.
Add more wisps of fibre to hide any seams and further shape the neck.
Once you have the shape of the body where you want it, it’s time to add the legs.
Needle Felted Duck Legs
Pipe cleaner provides the structure for the legs and feet.
I cut a piece of 12″ pipe cleaner into 7″ (leg) and two 5″ pieces (toes). I noticed it would be too long for the toes so trimmed another 1/2″ off each piece.
The shorter piece gets twisted around the end of the legs as shown:
This forms the toes.
Grab your orange roving and pull of some thin strands.
Wrap the wire with strands of orange roving until everything is fully covered.
Once the wire form is complete, the next step is defining the webbed toes.
Webbed Feet (aka Waddle Waddle)
Pull some orange roving and put it underneath the first foot. Stab a straight ling alone the outside edges to keep from shifting.
Fold the other side edges towards the middle and stab to secure.
Add a second piece of roving over the top of the foot.
This time, stab along the inside of each toe.
When it’s secured, once again fold the other in toward the centre.
Stab again along the inside, but this time concentrate in the middle section instead of just the edges.
Pull the first foot off the foam, flip it over and felt underneath the foot.
Repeat all steps on the second foot.
The legs are now ready to secure to the body, but I set them aside to complete the beak and grape first!
Attaching the Legs
Use a darning needle or pin to hold the legs in place.
Add some yellow roving spanning between the underbelly and tail. Stab to felt.
Add some additional felt around the legs for support. Add another piece to wrap further down the legs (as shown in next picture).
Build up the belly area with additional yellow roving.
Now onto the beak.
Needle Felted Duck Beak
The beak is made in two parts out of two triangles (an upper and lower piece); one larger and the other smaller.
To form, pull off some roving and place on the foam pad. Stab a triangular shape and fold in the two sides. Stab until felted, leaving the top part fluffy for attachment later.
Add two tiny pieces of black to the upper beak for the air holes.
Bring the two pieces together and felt a line along where I’m holding the two pieces together to attach. Set aside for later.
Pin the beak to the head with the beak pointing up (what you see below will be the underneath of the beak).
Stab in between the pins and then fold the fluffy part toward the beak and felt together. don’t stab too deep; you need the mouth to open.
On the top side of the beak, stab in toward the head to secure. We’ll be further shaping the beak later, but before we do, you’ll need to pad out the head.
Hey! Got any Grapes?
Tightly roll some purple roving into a ball. Stab the needle completely around it to keep the circular shape.
Pull a small amount of green and form into a stem. Keep one end wispy for attachment.
Make a divot in one end of the grape.
Stab in the wispy end.
Continue to felt until firm as shown:
Padding the Head of the Needle Felted Duck
To pad out the head, take some yellow roving as shown and stab a line through the middle.
Fold one side over and lightly stab to secure.
Attach the fold just about where the beak is.
Once secure, fold the piece over the head and down the neck.
Keep it fluffy and stab in lightly along the edges.
Near the side edges of the fold, make two evenly positioned divots for the eyes. You can also test out the grape as I did here! I didn’t care for the squared off shape of the beak (and I wanted to insert the whole grape, not just the stem), so I addressed that after felting the eyes.
Use tiny pieces of black roving to add two dots for the eyes. Ensure the spacing looks even from all directions.
Add two triangles of orange roving from the beak up toward the head as shown. To complete the beak, stab in from the sides into the centre to create a more rounded and compact shape. You can see the difference by referring back to the two previous pictures above.
Here’s how the beak and eye looks from the side. If you wish you can further define the eyes with fine strands of white around the perimeter of each one.
Anyhow, with the face done, we can now complete the wings.
Needle Felted Duck Wings
When making two pieces that should be identical in shape and size – such as the wings – I find it best to work on them side-by-side at the same time.
As you can see below, the piece on the right looks a bit sparse. Working on them together makes it easy to see what you need to do to make them consistent. You shouldn’t be able to see through the wool, so I added more roving to that one before proceeding. Working on the wings together makes it easy to see what you need to do to make them consistent.
Stab a wing shape into the roving and fold in the edges.
Keep adding more roving until you are happy with the shape and size, but be sure to leave one side wispy as show below for attachment to the body.
Bring them together to ensure that the wings are the same shape and make any adjustments needed.
Sit the duck in front of you with it’s back toward you.
Position the wings evenly and pin to temporarily hold.
Turn to the side and place another pin at the opposite end to hold the wing in place. When you’re happy that the placement is even on both sides, felt in the wispy ends. You can also felt along the wing a bit to keep it secure to the body, but for the most part they should remain loose.
Embellishing Your Needle Felted Duck
I added a ball chain with charm that says ‘hand made with love’. I also positioned the grape in his mouth.
Here he is from the back:
If keeping for yourself, you might think about displaying him on some duck tape to further tie in the Duck Story.
Purple (Grape) Duck Tape seems fitting! Or if you’re a fan of the joke, add a hammer :).
For gift giving, anything under glass seems more special. As well as a piece of synthetic grass under the duck, surround with some plastic grapes. You could also needle felt a bunch of grapes if you have that kind of patience! That’s a lot of grapes!
Pin for Later
Are you on Pinterest? If so, pinning is always welcome and appreciated!
Want more fun and crafty fibre ideas to needle felt or crochet? Don’t forget to subscribe!
Crochet for a Cure
We’ve also just launched a pattern shop, where we’re donating 100% of our proceeds to Alzheimer’s. You’ll find patterns, like our Air Planter Pods – great for Mother’s Day – and tooth fairy pillow (shown below), available to purchase as a donation to our Alzheimer’s fundraiser.
Creative Craft Blog Hop
As I mentioned, we’ve got a whole slew of crafts for you to explore. So now I’d like to send you on to see how Lynn at My Family Thyme customizes a pillow cover with the Cricut! Then come back to check out these other creative talents:
- DIY Abstract Art
- Creations Flowering Tea Cup Centerpiece
- Easy and Beautiful Bottle Painting
- Wood Art Gift Cards For Mother’s Day
- Upcycled Spring Door Basket
- Repurposed Old Table
- DIY Mother’s Day Plaque
- DIY Bee Happy Wreath
- Making a Tissue Paper Garland with Tassels
- Painting a Vintage Hutch
- Pottery Barn Inspired Faux Textured Clay Vase DIY