I have been doing quite a bit of felting lately. I have been making some larger art pieces using a wet felting method and then adding detail and embellishing with needle felting. I find it to be quite strenuous on my hands and thought that I should investigate electric needle felting and embellishing machines. My budget doesn’t quite allow me to spend a huge amount of money right now, and also lack of storage and table space for yet another sewing machine led me to look at smaller hand held alternatives. I did some research but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of options available. I did find a Simplicity hand held needle felting machine that I hoped might work. I looked on YouTube and read reviews but again, didn’t find a lot of helpful information about this product.
But then I thought it might be worth a try. It seems like a simple enough tool – it holds 6 felting needles that go up and down. Needle felting is as easy as that, so this might work. It is portable and you can use it by needle felting onto a foam backing the same way as in single needle felting which is what I was looking for.
I ordered it and it arrived promptly as Amazon products always do. The box contains the hot pink needle felting machine, a pair of tweezers and a small Alan key for undoing screws when you need to replace needles. It doesn’t come with replacement needles so I recommend that you order some extras at the same time.
I first tested the needle felting tool on a piece of wet felted fabric that I had made some time ago and now use for testing new bits of felting techniques. The machine is quite simple to operate. Place the needle head on the area you want to needle felt and press down. This activates the motor and the felting needles move up and down on the fabric, similarly to when you are needle felting by hand. There is a clear plastic guard around the needle so that you can avoid getting your fingers acupunctured.
The On/Off switch is conveniently located on the top of the handle so you can easily turn the motor on and off as you pick up the tool to felt. I recommend that you switch this to the OFF position every time you put the machine down, to avoid accidentally turning it on if you press on it in error.
I am planning on using this electric needle felter on my larger felt art pieces so wanted to give it a good test run to see how it works before I use it on my other work.
I decided to see if it could be used to make a flat piece of felt from wool roving.
I laid out a thin layer of wool roving onto the felting foam vertically from top to bottom.
Then I laid a second layer horizontally above the first layer.
The third layer was again placed vertically.
I began to needle felt across the piece, gently pressing down and lifting the needle felter up to move to the next section.
I turned the piece over and felted the other side.
Then turned it over again and refelted with the needle felter.
I repeated this a few times until I got an even finish across the piece.
Then I added some additional bits of green merino wool to create the grasses in the picture.
To make the flowers, I used hand spun wool yarn and shaped these into a flower shape and lightly needle felted over these before placing them onto the picture. I continued to use the felter to fix these in place.
Though Simplicity really should have come up with a better colour than hot pink, I think this is a good product and I would recommend it if you are wanting to do some small needle felting work. Because it is a hand held piece of equipment I would think it doesn’t have a very powerful motor so would not be able to handle larger pieces of work. It seems to get a bit warm during use, so could possibly overheat if used for too long at a time. I recommend using it for about 15-20 minutes at a time and then turning it off to cool down. By then your hands should have a rest as well.