We actually haven’t shared a project using this technique in a couple years. Crazy how the time flies! If you’ve never tried needle felting before, you’ll probably be happy to know that the basics are SUPER simple. You don’t have to have any sewing skills whatsoever—you just need the ability to poke holes and choose colors. That’s seriously all you need! Well, that and supplies, of course. You can get really intricate if you have been needle felting for a while (just type “needle felting” into Pinterest and see all the pretty stuff!).
For this project I’m going to show you the basics of needle felting onto a vintage portrait. This was a perfect project for me to partner with our friends at Canon USA. I love how vibrant I was able to make these old photos of my grandparents by taking a picture of the photo and then printing it with my PIXMA MG7520.
I’ll show you how I used a couple of old photographs of my grandparents to create these whimsical needle felted portraits. These are a little quirky, but I just LOVE how they turned out and I can’t wait to find the perfect spot to display them in my home. I’m thinking about trying to do a similar technique with portraits of my other grandparents too so I have the whole set. 🙂
-fabric transfer sheets + photos you want to use
-plain cotton fabric (I used off white)
-needle felting needle
-foam block or an old cushion
-wool roving in colors that work with your photo
-frames or embroidery hoops to display your project
–Canon PIXMA MG7520 Photo Printer
The most expensive thing about this project is the wool roving. It can add up quick, but you need VERY little for needle felting (see video to understand how much I used). This project cost me about $18 (not including tools).
In the video you can see all the steps I took to complete this project. Simple, right? The only step the video doesn’t show is when I photographed my pictures and then increased the color saturation in Photoshop before printing. Why did I do that? I didn’t want to damage my original photos in any way (and now I have a digital version I can print anytime), and the original photos are quite faded. I wanted the colors to be a little more vibrant to go with my wool roving.
Another note: keep most of your needle felted areas around the outside edges of the image. The felted areas will be raised and textured, so this naturally draws your eye to those areas. But, the subject of the pictures, my grandparents, should be the focal point. So I chose to keep my needle felting around the perimeter so that the design sort of points to the subject instead of distracting the viewer from it. I also let my felt hang off the edges of the image (like the horse’s tail and clouds, etc.) to give it a whimsical feel. 🙂
There are tons of different ways to use this technique, so feel free to get creative! But if you’re a beginner and want to create something fun that you can display, try this out because this is a great project to start with. Thanks for letting me share! xo. Emma
Credits// Author: Emma Chapman. Photography: Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman. Video and Music: Jeremy Larson. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess Actions.