Monday, 8 April 2013

Making Totoro!

Say "Hello" to Totoro!

Before I showed you how I created the little white Chibi Totoro in my first attempt at Needle Felting!
Well I have just finished my attempt at making Totoro himself, wanna know how I did it?

Sure you do, here's how:

As I'd planned for Totoro to be much larger than the little white fella I decided to experiment with using a cheaper core fibre as a base to felt in top of, there by saving money on the more expensive coloured felting wool!
Here I used Polyester fibre, that's your plain old teady bear stuffing! As polyester has very short fibres and is quite loosely compacted I felt I needed to start with a fairly small/manageable amount and roll it in my hands a bit first to begin the felting process, and then poke at it with a 32G needle used to heavy shaping. I used two needles at the same time to make the felting process quicker! You can add more rolled balls of fibre to build up the pear shape of Totoro's body but try not to work the polyester fibre too much, just enough that it holds the shape, as we'll be adding the grey felting wool on top which will continue to felt the fibres beneath.

Next you get a mid grey coloured felting wool and layer it on top of the white core fibre and felt away! Try and work the surface evenly and add more grey wool where necessary to cover up any places where the white shows through. Keep going until Totoro's body is completely covered.

Totoro's ear, arms and tail can be made straight out of the felting wool. As with when I made Chibi Totoro, you simply snip off a bit of wool, roll it loosely to make the rough shape/size you need and start  poking with the needle.

For the ears you need to make little tear drop shapes, leaving the largest end unworked to be felted to the main body. For this less heavy duty task I used 38G and 40G needles.

Same method again for the arms, using a larger amounts of wool and shaping them into flat bottomed tear shapes... kinda like little slugs... leaving the ends to attach to the body unworked. You can also begin to shape the body a little more here and there, defining the head and cheeks a little.

And once more, the same thing for the tail. You want to aim for a sort of fat round tear drop shape. I also continued shaping his body further by adding a little sausage of wool to his head to make a snout!

All that remains now is to add the details!
Now, grab a small-ish ball of cream wool, just enough to cover the circle of his belly. You can tease it out fairly thinly as you only need enough to just cover the grey. I started poking carefully around the top edge of the cream circle with a 40G needle first, just to define the shape, then felted my way down, always making sure the felt the edges carefully first. If you've any excess wool when you reach the bottom just snip it off and complete the circle. You can add small bits of cream anywhere where grey shows through or where the circle outline is a bit wobbly.

Next you want to get your grey wool back and make the markings on his belly. You want to snip off only a short length and tease out seven thin strips, you don't need very much at all. I started with the middle upside-down V shape in the top row, poking around the outline of the shape (aim for a sort of boomerang) snip off the excess and then fill in the middle. With the central shape done you can gauge better where to place the other two markings on the top row, and then the bottom row of four just underneath.

Lastly roll out a small black upside-down triangle for his nose and two small balls of white for eyes and felt them on in the same way as the other details, for these though you might want to use a very fine 42G needle as it can be quite fiddly.
Then poke repeatedly in the centre of his eyes to make a small hole to place beads for his pupils. I sewed his eyes in then added a dab of glue.

And there you have it! 
But now I'm going to have to complete the set and make the blue Chuu Totoro!! Look out for that one and more in the future!


  1. Aarrgghh that's adorable! I love the side view! He's perfect!

    1. :D Thanks Dani!!!
      I'm really itching to take these guys out (once I've done the blue one) and take pics of them in the park!

  2. So when can I pick up mine :D

    1. Haha! I've only as of yet done one needle felted commission - a felt recreation of a friend's comic character.
      It was a proper challenge but I might be persuaded to take felting commissions... ;)

  3. Replies
    1. Cheers Dimitri! I hope you like the other felted figures I've blogged up since too! :)

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks Vernon! If you like this you'll like the other needle felted creations I've done!