How to Make a Needle Felted Rocking Horse
Transform your polystyrene rocking horse base into a gorgeous, needle felted rocking horse by following the fantastic tutorial below by needle felting expert Ann Brown. Choose the colouring of your horse, from chestnut browns to dappled grey with the vast range of wool roving colours available online and in store at Hobbycraft.
Brown Roving » x 2
10mm Toy eyes » x 2
1. Take small amounts of Brown roving and felt around the body using small straight downward strokes to adhere the wool to the form. The needles are very sharp. Take small pieces of roving at a time laying in the direction you want the fur to lay for a neater finish. Cover both sides of the horse. Make the ears by taking 2 small pieces of brown roving the same size. Fold into a square and on a mat felt them a few times then turn over and do the other side.
2. Then fold the 2 top corners into the middle and felt into a blunt point. Have a picture of a horse for reference. Leave the base of the ears fluffy as this will felt them to the head over the ear shapes already there.
3. Place a small section of brown roving over the muzzle to add length and to create nostrils. Felt into place and felt continually in the nostrils to make an indent.
4. Using your picture for reference insert the toy eyes ( you can felt them if you don’t have plastic eyes ) either side of the head. Using small scissors poke a hole where the eye will sit, cover the shaft of the eye with blue and insert into place.
5. Using small sausages of brown roving (made by rolling the roving between the palms of your hands) create an eyelid by gently felting a small section of the sausage over the eye. Cut of any excess and felt the ends in. Keep poking the needle around the eye to give it definition. For a more realistic look.
6. Surround the plastic eye with a few strands of black the white along the bottom. Harness and Saddle: Using long strands of red roving not too thick lay onto harness shape and felt into place. Do all the red first both sides.
7. Fill in the saddle middle with green roving. Laying down in the same direction for a neater finish.
8. Using the yellow roving make long slim sausages and felt the braiding detail on the harness and saddle. Also add two circles of yellow to the face harness by poking the wool into place then twirling the needle in the wool and poking down into the center. Do this on both sides.
9. Cover the rockers with the same brown as the horse you could mix other browns in if you have them for a wood effect. Run a strand of light brown around the middle and felt into place. Tree : Using small pieces of green roving felt into place on both sides carefully felting in the detail. Any white showing just keep adding small pieces of roving and felt in. You won’t see the join.
Ball: Use the grooves on the ball as your guide felt first with small amounts of White them alternate with small amounts of blue.
10. Present: Felt the present first with small pieces of red roving folded into squares to fit the shapes do both sides. For the ribbon use a long strand of yellow wool and follow the grooves felt into place.
11. Create two bows by rolling a long strand into a sausage and tying into a bow and felt onto the present by poking in the middle of the bow one in each side.
12. Optional: tree lights. If you have small amounts of different coloured roving make a thin sausage of green for the wire then add bulb shapes in the colour of your choice. Or just felt dots as baubles. Optional: Holly on the saddle, felt a large red dot in the center of the saddle then make two leaf shapes in green draping down either side and using a darker green make the veins with a few strands of roving.
13. Mane and Tail: Do this last as it will just get tangled up with continually turning the horse to felt different elements into place. Felt fat segments of black roving into the tail shape. When no polystyrene is showing felt extra segments into it to give body and a flowing look, only felt the top ends leaving the bottom free.
14. Mane: This is where your horse comes to life. Take small but fat pieces of roving and felt to the top of the head between the ears and eyes to create the fetlock. Your horse picture will help you with placement.
15. Come down one side of the mane only (the side you want it to lay) the other side felt brown. Cover all the mane grooves in black till no white showing through. Like with the tail overlay small sections of black roving felting only the top section so it hangs free till the length and fullness of the mane are achieved to your liking. Arrange on the face to desired effect.