How to Make a Needle Felted Dala Horse
A Dala Horse is a traditional Swedish hand crafted decoration often carved out of wood. The horses originated as toys for children, and have become an iconic and well known visual decoration over the years. Read the tutorial below to find out how you can transform the polystyrene rocking horse base into a Dala Horse using needle felting techniques. A modern, Scandinavian decoration for your home this Christmas.
Red Roving » x 2
Picture of Dala Horse for reference
1. Take a small amount of red roving and felt around the body of the horse. Use small amounts at a time laying in the same direction for a neater finish. It’s easier to add more than take it off.
2. Carefully stab downwards in straight motions so as not to break the needle. Do not stab to hard. Felt the ears on your mat.
3. Take 2 pieces that are the same size, fold over into a square then fold the corners into the middle and felt a few more times to secure.
4. Leave the bottom edge fluffy as this is needed to felt the ears in place.
5. Flip the ears over and using the needle shape using your picture for reference then felt in place on the head.
6. Using the white roving take long strands and roll between the palms of your hands into long sausages. Place over the harness of the horse felt into place.
7. Using your picture as a reference felt the harness around the eye area. Do this both sides. If your strands are too long just cut to size and felt the ends in.
8. For the mane using the navy first felt a section at a time you can use the name printed on the neck for guidance.
9. Then using a small amount of blue roving felt that alongside the navy. Add a highlight of white on top of the blue. Continue till both sides of the mane are covered.
10. Outline the saddle and harness at the front of the horse with navy roving rolled into long sausages. Felt into place. Make an extra piece of harness the same way under the belly of the horse.
11. Fill in harness and saddle with small amounts of white roving, it’s a bit tricky under the belly but use small pokes with the needle so as not to break it.
12. Felt the tail using the same colours and technique as the mane. No red roving needed as that is the neck of the horse.
13. Add detail to the saddle by taking small pieces of the blue wool and felting 3 circles on either side. Use the needle to shape the outside edge. Felt more blue circles into the harness as well.
14. Make a red sausage of roving using the same rolling technique and cut small lengths and felt inbetween the blue circles. Do the same on the saddle both sides. Create a middle for the saddle by outlining in navy saddle shape using long sausages and felting into place. Trim with scissors of too long. Fill inside smaller saddle with light blue roving.
15. Add a large navy circle in the middle and 4 smaller ones to finish the pattern. Felt the rockets in the same red as the horse.
16. Optional, use red sticky backed felt on the bottom of the rocker.
17. Decorate the tree and presents under the horse in the same