Felting an Octopus, Zebra & Goldfish

step by step tutorial

Materials List

Felting needles

Sturdy foam or wool pad

Wool felt panel cut to size

Wool for your background colors

Wool in a color palette for illustrations


In this lesson, I am working on illustrating pictures for each letter of the alphabet for a children’s book currently underway, with additional images of letters already completed. The still image galleries offer step-by-step still shots of the process of needle felting an octopus, zebra and goldfish. This lesson was created in January 2023.

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Needle Felting an Octopus

Felting the octopus was really fun! If this wasn’t destined for the pages of a book I would totally extend the tentacles beyond the borders of the base layer! I used my carding paddles to blend red, dark blue and purple for the shadows. 

Tip: Click onto the first image and then scroll through the enlarged format, you’re able to see everything much better.

Needle Felting a Goldfish

The goldfish was actually the very first illustration I completed for the alphabet book. This little guy is in my signature style, with the body attached directly to the base layer and built up into a 3D shape, with fin details felted separately and then attached.

Needle Felting a Zebra

This illustration became a car project, completing 95% of it during a 3 hour long drive to New Hampshire to ring in the new year with my family – the exact sort of “drive time activity” that this project was intended for from the very beginning.

And the Felting Continues….

With nearly half the alphabet completed, I look forward to sharing more progress with you on my blog!

Alphabet Book football illustration fiber detail of needle felting artist Hillary Dow
Alphabet Book iris illustration detail by Hillary Dow
Alphabet Book Rainbow Illustration
Alphabet Book dancer illustration by Hillary Dow
Felted square background colors
Alphabet Book Goldfish needle felted Illustration
Hillary Dow Felting Master Class Instructor fiber artist

Meet Your Instructor

Hi, my name is Hillary Dow. I am a mother, wife, outdoor adventurer, author, family chef, marketing professional, felting artist residing in Maine, and oh so many more. I write children’s books illustrated with my wool creations. It is such a thrill to be a part of helping someone develop their skills and CREATE artwork. Thank you for joining me!

Binding Tales Lichendia Hillary Dow

Be sure to join Hillary’s felting community for her monthly felting lesson! Each session includes a core lesson, or simply work on your current project while picking up new techniques and tips! Lessons are sent via email on the Fourth Tuesday of every month. When the month ends, the lesson is converted to a paid lesson on Hillary’s website and added to the Felting Master Class trove of online lessons.

Want even more?
Take your felting to a whole new level! Join the Felting Master Class today! Membership is $200 annually or monthly payments of $16.50.

Felting Master Class illustration detail composition