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WOOL PAINTING- Monarch Butterfly

I have just discovered and fallen in love with painting with wool.  Look up 'wool painting' on Google images, watch a few Youtube videos and you will see what I mean.  The paintings are amazing!  The style and character in each painting varies widely and it is not as messy as paint.  Wool painting, or needle felting, is the process of punching the fibers into the felt and getting them all tangled up.  That's the brief and simple way of explaining it.  I decided to give it a try and I made a butterfly in just under two hours.   

MATERIALS:  All you need is a sheet of wool felt, felting needles, roving, a foam pad and a pen.

Sketch the image you want to paint onto the sheet of felt.  In my case, I chose to sketch (actually trace this time... and most of the time) a monarch butterfly onto a piece of orange felt.  Orange because the butterfly is mostly orange and the background can be used as one of the colors if desired.  

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Start with the darkest color and work your way lighter.  First, I started with the black outline.

 Next, I filled in the wings with a layer of orange.  

I then added some accents of yellow on the bottom wings and a few dots on the top wings.  

Then I used black again to create the line details on the wings.  

Finally, I added white dots all around the wings and a little dark grey on the body for some extra detail.  It really doesn't have to be in any particular order.  That's the way I did it, and this is how my butterfly turned out.  Try it in a different way and see what changes you get!

TIPS ABOUT NEEDLE FELTING:  These itty bitty needles are sharp!  (Trust me on this one.)  They are also barbed and they do not feel pleasant at all.  So when you need your fingers in there for little details, take it easy and go slow.  When you are punching everything down and going fast- get those fingers out of the way!  Also keep bandaids handy so you don't get blood on your work, just in case.  I used two during my first try at needle felting.  Not bad, right?

Also, keep your needle going in and out of the foam straight.  Add any angles and the needle will break.  I broke my first needle before I realized that.

Last but not least, a little roving can go a long way.  Start with a small amount and keep adding until you get the coverage and look you like.  

Have fun and be creative!

_Puku_