Meet Benji

Knock first, right, Benji?!

One of my hobbies is making things: sewing, knitting (trying, anyway), collage, and the like. Last Christmas I received some felting tools and supplies as a gift, and decided that Benji the Barger was the perfect first feltie for me to make.

Felting is easier than I expected: it didn’t take me long to get the hang of it, and you see real progress on your projects fast. It’s also more dangerous: those needles are sharp and it’s easy to get overenthusiastic when it’s going well! This is how Benji turned out:

People have asked how I did it, which makes me wish I’d taken pictures along the way. But it’s pretty straightforward. First you make the basic body shapes out of batting or fiberfill. The book I have recommends wool, but I had a lot of cheap polyester fiberfill and it worked fine.  I made the trunk, legs, tail and head as separate pieces. You bunch it together around a pipe cleaner and needle punch it until the fibers are compacted and firm. Then you lay dyed wool roving (fluffy unspun wool, I believe) over the shape and needle punch it in to get the desired color. You can put small pieces or long strands to create colored shapes and patterns. I used plain pipe cleaners for the arms, as only the hands show. Lastly, I stiched the pieces together with strong thread, dressed them, and glued the whole thing to the toilet. Sewing the teeny tiny clothes was one of the hardest tasks! Next time I might try Barbie clothes instead. I made the tiny copy of potty animals by shrinking an image of the entire cover and one interior spread to the correct size, then I printed them and glued them together with some blank pages for heft. Ta-da!

The book that taught me how to do this is Sweet Needle Felts: 25 Projects to Wear, Give, and Hug by Jenn Docherty. I think it’s a great resource for people who are used to crafting but new to felting…it’s important to follow the directions to get a good result.

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