Monday, 4 August 2014

How to make needle felted legs & feet for a sleeping mouse intermediate level

Needle Felted Sleeping Mouse in a Vintage Sugar Bowl by Mrs Plop
Making the legs for my needle felted mice (or any other animal) used to drive me nuts. It took me quite a while to figure out what was the best way to do it for me, and it is one of the most difficult aspects of making a needle felted animal (in my opinion)

Some needle felt artists make legs by using a method where they wrap wool around wire, and that is one way of doing it, which I have done on occasion, but it doesn't give you as much sculptural detail as the method I've shown here.

Learning how to needle felt legs for an animal is quite tricky and it does take lots of practice, but I hope this tutorial will help you, if you choose this method.

Please note, this is a tutorial for those at intermediate level.

If you're looking for a needle felting kit, I currently offer two kits, one for beginners and one for advanced beginner or intermediate level (although a complete beginner bought this kit and wrote to me to tell me she found it easy to use and was very happy with the mouse she made)

My needle felting kits fox or mouse, can be found in my Etsy shop:
Orange & white fox, needle felting kit for beginners - make your own 'Frankie' Fox 
 Mouse with flower posy - make your own 'Maisie' Mouse

Both kits include free tutorial support from myself. Not just relating to these kits, but to any aspect of your needle felting journey :)

Frankie Fox Needle Felting Kit
Maisie Mouse Needle Felting Kit

Now onto the tutorial!

Love Mrs Plop xx

Step 1 - making a leg
Wrap a piece of wool around a cocktail stick. You can use a skewer or something similar, but I use cocktail sticks because they are the right width for me. (Although sometimes they can break, so be careful!) When you're wrapping your wool around the stick, try to keep the wool as even as possible, and wrap it around tightly, and then rub it between your hands vigorously. The friction will cause the wool to part felt. In the photo below, you can see that the wool is thicker at one end, but that doesn't matter because you won't need all of it, and I use the thicker part to make the main base of the leg.

Step 2
You can just slide the wool off the cocktail stick, and it will hold its part-felted shape. You can then take your felting needle and felt it as normal, until you are happy with the shape. I do felt legs in a gung-ho manner :) because you want them to be as firm as possible. So prepare to do a lot of needle felting on the legs. This particular leg is going to be a back leg, so I have made it quite long. But even if you wanted a front leg and your tube shaped felted piece is too long, it doesn't matter, because you can shorten it later. You should end up with something like this...

Step 3 - making a foot
Next you can add your feet. Take another piece of wool and fold it in half so that it's doubled over. You'll need to practice with the amount of wool you need. You may find that at first you use too much or too little, but that's something that will come right with time and practice.
When your wool is folded over, shape it with your felting needle into a sort of oblong shape but with edges that fan out slightly at the top. If you are at intermediate level, you'll know that when you felt wool to attach a felted piece to another felted piece, you'll need to leave some of the wool at the end un-felted, as that is the only way the two pieces will felt together. But you may be reading this post as a beginner. It's better to have more unfelted wool to attach to another piece than not enough! You can always pull some of the wool off if there is too much.

(See photo below. But please note, always felt on a foam mat! I've just used the background below for the purposes of the photo)

Then choose three points along your edge, at about the same distance from eachother and felt your oblong shape by poking and shaping the wool in one place on the oblong shape to make toes. Then do the same on the other two points that you've chosen. It will look like three little triangular shapes, as below...

Step 4
Felt and shape the foot onto the leg, as below. Hold the unfelted wool tightly onto the leg, making sure the foot piece and the leg piece are as close as possible, otherwise you'll get a section of the leg that has a bend in it. If that does happens though, you can always strengthen that section by felting in more wool.

Now to add the furry part of the leg. Take some of the wool that you want to make up the fur of your mouse, and double it over in the same way that you did with the foot. Felt it into the leg, all the way around at whatever point you choose, depending on how much of the pink part of the leg you want showing. I usually use quite a thick wad of wool for this part, because you obviously want the leg to get thicker as you felt upwards to form a thigh shape.

Step 5
Now you have your outer fur felted onto your inner pink leg. Felt it enough so that it holds but make sure you can move the wool so that you can cut off some the inner pink tube leg to the length you want, so that it looks the right length on your mouse.

Then, holding it firmly against the body of your mouse, just felt it in, you can just pull off any excess wool that you don't want.

Eeeek that looks a bit brutal doesn't it?!
When you've felted the wool in, you can then add more wool over the top and shape it to make more of a thigh shape...

You can use the same method to add the tail, and bottom :) Adding those also gives a lot more definition to the legs, but I will go into that in another tutorial.


  1. Fantastic tutorial Catherine! That's going on our pinterest board for sure.

    1. Thanks so much Lyn! It's the first proper tutorial I've written, so I'm really pleased you said that! :)

  2. I am thrilled to have found your tutorial regarding felting feet for mice. I have been going crazy trying to find this help! I'm a beginner and so happy that you posted this help! Thank you so much!!!

    1. I'm so pleased to have been able to help Becky!
      Thank you for your comment :)
      Happy felting! Love Mrs Plop x

  3. So glad to have had the chance to read your tutorial; this looks so do-able! I don't like clay feet much on the softness of felt, and struggle with wrapping and felting tiny toes. Thank you for your blog!

    1. You're very welcome! Thank you for your comment. I'm pleased my tutorial has helped you!

  4. Excellent tutorial. This has helped me enormously. Thank you.

  5. Hi Cynthia, thank you for your comment. I'm glad it has helped you. Happy felting! :)