Loved the idea of our needle felted pet fur heart, but want to free-form your own shapes instead? As an easy example that you can then apply to other felting projects, let’s look at how to make needle felted fur balls. Yep! Fur balls! Hehehe… I made these just for fun, but have included ideas for using them in finished projects. Shhh… no one needs to know they’re made with pet fur.
Needle Felting with Pet Fur
Needle Felting with Wool Roving vs. Pet Fur
As shared in our post on how to make a needle felted pet fur heart, there are different options for felting with pet fur depending on the fur type and texture. Woolly fluffy fur works very much like roving. Short and/or wiry haired pets, like our Dalmatians, is a little trickier. Short, wiry, or coarse fur can’t be felted without the help of a better binder, like mixing fur with wool roving. Even, then, it’s visibly kind of furry. Depending on your project, potential options include:
- Use small quantities of fur in the blend;
- Concealing the fur in an outer layer of roving, and/or
- Use complimentary colours so that the fur is less evident (much like my entire wardrobe).
Gathering Pet Fur for Felting
Brushing is an easy way to gather fur from many pets. Depending on your pet and the quantity of fur you want for your project, a single brushing session may be enough, or you might need to gather a fur supply over time. Cleaning your brush off into a container is an easy way to collect fur over time. It’s also a sweet option for a keepsake in its own right. Alternatively, if you pet sees a groomer, you can ask them to save you some fluff from a clipping session.
Making a Needle Felted Balls with Pet Fur
Supplies and Materials
To make similar needle felted balls, you will need a few special supplies, including a felting needle and wool roving in a colour or colours of your choicer.
- Gathered pet fur
- Wool roving
- Needle felting needle(s)
I use a Clover needle felting pen tool and find it very easy to handle, but you can use a plain felting needle or any tool you wish. My roving (love!) is from Ashford, locally produced in New Zealand. You can find wool roving through specialists, large craft stores, or online. Quality wool roving makes a huge difference when crafting. It’s much easier to felt with, and that’s especially helpful if blending the roving with more difficult materials.
Making a Needle Felted Ball with a Pet Fur Ball and Wool Roving Blend
To make your own pet fur balls, you’ll first need to gather a small amount of fur. As noted above, brushing is a great option for many pets. Enjoy some s-paw time and give your pet a good brushing, then collect some fur from the brush. Now it’s crafting time!
Felting with a fur blend fur is exactly the same as felting with wool roving, with the noted issues above. To make a needle felted ball:
- Start with a small amount of roving and fur.
- Roll it (fur to the middle works best for short or wiry fur), then fold the roll into a very rough ball.
- Needle the wool and fur ball, taking care as noted below, turning periodically to ensure that you are pushing the needle in from all around the ball.
- Grow the size of the ball in layers to ensure that the inside is felted firmly as it grows. Add additional wool roving (and/or fur) evenly aroune the outside of the ball for additional size if/as needed and continue felting.
- Once you are happy with the size and have a firm felty ball, you’re done!
✂️ Needle felting is best done on a soft surface, such as a foam pad; however, you can work with care on other surfaces if you prefer. ALWAYS keep track of your fingers (ouch) and enter/exit straight to avoid breaking your needle(s). Every needle action compresses and entwines the wool fibres, slowly turning the loose wool/fur into firm felt. Don’t be intimidated – felting is as simple as repeating that action over and over. It just takes time, patience, and attention to detail. Peppy music is a fun addition and this is very cathartic crafting if you are feeling a bit “stabby”. Haha!
Depending on the size of your balls and the types of fur, you may still have a little bit of a fuzz factor, even if the outer layers are roving. You can trim off any errant furry fuzzies after your craft is finished, if you wish. You can also try some wet work, if you wish.
Optional Wet Work
You can wet the completed balls to work things together even tighter, but I prefer to give that a miss, especially when crafting with fur. If you are wet working, work over a suitable surface with warm soapy water rolling by hand until satisfied, and allow to dry thoroughly before using.
Ideas for Using Homemade Felted Pet Fur Balls
Just for laughs (and to freak my husband out a little – hehe), I string my fur balls onto a homemade necklace, with DIY details below. Admittedly, I didn’t wear it and the furballs later moved into my little collection of pet treasures and mementos along with my clay paw prints and felted fur heart.
If wearing a fur necklace is a little too crazy for you (I must admit, it is a stretch too far even for me. Even if felted balls are presently quite stylish and no one else knows about the fur!), you can easily use the balls for a keychain or other craft. They can also be sliced in half and glued to bases to make cufflinks or pins. Felt balls also make a variety of very cute flower crafts, which is an excellent stealth idea for using and displaying your secret pet fur balls.
Any craft or DIY project that uses standard felt balls can be adapted for your furballs. There are tons of fun and craft ways that you can use your furballs, and once you are comfortable hand felting basic shapes, like these balls, you can move on to creative experiments with forming other shapes. Perhaps even a miniature felted fur figure of your pet. It’s on my someday project list!
Needled Felted Pet Fur Ball Necklace
If you are making a necklace, you can create a variety of balls in colours and sizes to suit your tastes – your imagination is the limit! To string felted balls (fur or normal roving) to make a simple necklace:
- Using a large gauge needle with an eye big enough to thread your cord, string your balls onto cord, taking care to ensure you are passing the needle and cord through the centre.
- Once you have everything threaded, you can center your balls on the cord and tie a loop knot on each side of the ball arrangement to secure (optional) or keep things free moving.
If using cord for a necklace, you can simply tie it to fit as a single strand, or get a little more fancy, if you wish. I did three extra things with my necklace cord:
- Multi-strand braiding: Tie a length of cord around the ball-side the knot securing the felt balls or through the knot itself, giving you three strands of cord to braid. Loop knot all three cords around themselves, swallowing the initial knot, for looks and added security. Braid to the desired length and tie a loop knot to secure. Repeat for the other side.
- Beaded ends: Instead of simply knotting the end of the braid at the desired length, after your end loop knot, string a small bead onto one of the three strands and tie another loop knot using all three strands to secure. Trim excess cord if/as needed.
- Adjustable length end knots: Tie one end of the cord around (not to) the opposite side of the cord. The cord should slide freely though the knot. Repeat with the other side, forming a closed necklace with a loop connection joining the ends. You can slip the cords back and forth as needed, making the loop larger (shorten the necklace) or smaller (lengthen the necklace), to adjust.