Needle Felting a Pasture and Flock

step by step tutorial

Materials List

Felting needles

Sturdy foam or wool pad

Prepared base panel of felted wool

Background colors of blues and greens

Reference photos of sheep in a pasture

Natural wool to place sheep in composition

Carder for Part I (if you have one)


Blending a wool batt on a Brother Drum Carder
Welcome to Parts I through III of a series of lessons, each one building on the last. You’re going to join me throughout the process of developing the first illustration of my picture book, Flock of Rock! Thank you for sharing this journey with me.

Felting Master Tip:  The more time and attention you lend to color selection and preparation, the more dynamic your artwork will be. Combine amazing colors with a variety of techniques and the sky is the limit for your creative masterpiece! Here are three examples of colors I’ve been blending for use in my next book, Flock of Rock. To help differentiate the sheep in my story, each member of the band will have one signature article of clothing or an accessory. I think that pink will really pop against the background of the green pasture!


Still Image Gallery

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

Felting the initial background colors

This gallery for Part I includes pictures of placing the initial background sky and pasture colors in place, using the rule of thirds for the composition. Following the rule of thirds is something to keep in mind, so you create balance without cutting your composition in half directly down the middle. To maintain continuity of color I place a large batt across the felted base and tack it in place along the horizon line and corners. With the batts securely attached to the base I turn the piece over and wrap the color around the edges and felt the loose ends of the fiber to the back. This keeps the wool securely in place and also creates a wrapped canvas appearance, with the color flowing right back into the wall when hanging on display. As the final step of the background layer, I use my multi-needle tool to fully felt the background. colors to the base. The more densely this layer is felted, the more variety you can create when adding subsequent layers.

The Importance of Tools

Learn through my mistakes… or at least, through my slow adoption. When I first started needle felting I held my needle directly in my hand, without the aid of a tool securely holding the needle. I do still believe that when you are just beginning your felting journey that’s perfectly fine. I still grab loose needles occasionally myself, as much out of habit as anything else. But the proper use of multi-needle tools and handles that hold a single needle is the kinder way to treat your hard-working hands.

Part 1 Blending Wool on an Electric Carder

This lesson was originally recorded in June 2023.

Part 2 Felting the Pasture Treeline

In this video lesson we add wool shading to the treeline, where the text of the picture book will ultimately be saved and be placed over this area of the illustration.This lesson was originally recorded in September 2023.

Part 3 Character Placement

In this video lesson, we add core wool in the shape and scale of all four characters (sheep) that will be pictures across the two page spread. This lesson was originally recorded in September 2023.

Part 5 White Sheep

In this video lesson, we add the white curly locks and kinky fibers of the white sheep, then her eyes, nose and mouth. This lesson was originally recorded in October 2023.

Still Image Gallery

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

Felting a Sheep with Multitone Fleece

With the addition of sheep to the flock, it’s time to have fun with the variety of colors and textures from one fleece to the next. The still images in this gallery show the process of felting a sheep with a fleece of rich multitone colors, both soft fluffy wool and the curly tips of other fibers. I’m just now figuring out how I’ll create the facial features of the sheep, so for now I am keeping these eyes, nose, and mouth fairly straightforward. The members of the flock may remain in the style, and reserve the more developed, expressive features for Leiona and her bandmates.

Bonus Lesson: Author/Illustrator Process

There are a lot of steps in the process of creating a children’s picture book. In this video I share the inside scoop on what steps have become pivotal to my process. This lesson was originally recorded in September 2023.

Hillary Dow Felting Master Class Instructor fiber artist

Meet Your Instructor

Hi, my name is Hillary Dow. A few of my many hats include mother, wife, outdoor adventurer, author, family chef, marketing professional, felting artist 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

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Felting Master Class illustration detail composition