Needle Felting
How to make a
little Bernese
Mountain Dog
sculpture in a few
easy steps!
The History of Needle Felting
Needle felting is a centuries-old craft, developed
by ancient peoples to create fabric using animal
fur for their dwellings clothing and footwear.
Felted fabrics are created by washing wool or fur
and agitating it, enabling its fibers to bond.
A Yurt
Ancient and present day yurts are made of felted fleece and fur.
Felted fabrics
are created
by washing
wool or fur
and agitating
it, enabling
its fibers to
Needle felting, made
popular in the
decorative industry in
the late 1800’s, uses a
special barbed needle
to enmesh fibers,
allowing the needle
felter to sculpt,
interestingly, by
adding to, rather than
taking away mass.
What is needed to needle felt
Proportionate amounts of
Berner fur or wool roving in
• black
• white
• and rust.
Fur should come from a
clean dog but should not be
washed before using.
Felting punch tool
Punch tool has
needles and is
used when
making larger
Clover Needle Felting Tool
Article 8900
Felting Needles
Clover Fine weight felting needles - Article 8905
and Heavy weight felting needles – Article 8906
Needles have
very sharp
barbs that are
used to
enmesh fibers.
A styrofoam palette and/or a foam
mat to absorb the punching
Baling wire (mild steel) and wire cutter
for standing Berner armatures
Rocaille beads or glass eyes
and beads to make a collar if desired
Beads can be
wired or sewn
into eye
4 mm glass eyes
Available from
Sharp scissors for
trimming ears
and feathering edges.
And a model or a
Sculpting the Berner
• Before starting to work
with the fur it is
necessary to stretch it
and to pull out any
clumps and knots.
• Begin the BMD sculpture
by rolling a handful of fur
in between your palms.
• The agitation of the fur
will cause the fur to stick
together, or start to felt
• Keep rolling until the ball
starts to stay together,
then, using the felting
needle begin to stick the
ball on all sides. (The five
needle felting punch can
be used at this time)
• The ball will begin to
• As the ball becomes solid
begin to shape into the
Berner sitting body.
• Use the same method
to roll a smaller ball
that will become the
head of the sitting
• For a standing BMD the
rolled body is made in
similarly, but shaped
with a nice tuck-up.
• Roll two tubes for the
front legs and felt these
tightly so the BMD will
have some strength
• For a standing Berner it
is necessary to roll the
fur over wire and felt
tightly around leaving
enough wire at both
ends for foot platform
and penetrating wire
into body core. Create
four legs in this fashion.
• For sitting Berner roll
and sculpt rear legs in a
sitting position creating
some bulk in the upper
legs where they will be
attached to body.
• Leave some un-felted
fur at edges of all body
parts so that pieces can
be attached.
Assembling the BMD
• Some sculptors find it
simpler to add colors to
the body before
assembling its parts. This
is a matter of choice.
• In this BMD, white fur
was added to the head
before attaching it to the
body. White fur was
added to the chest after
the head was attached.
• When feathering is
desired (on a leg or tail) it
is easier to add colors and
feathers before
• Attach smaller parts of the
body to the larger core.
• Embed wires of any wired
parts into body. They will
stay in place.
• Continue to attach body
parts by felting the loose
ends of fur into the body.
This should be done tightly
to create a firm and
condensed area at
attachment point.
• More fur can always be
added to round out
attachment point.
Detailing the Berner
• Because felting needles
are so fine, it is possible
to create wonderful
• Felters can make each
Berner’s individual
facial and coat
characteristics right
down to freckles, Swiss
kisses and whimsical
• Add white fur to face and
then, working carefully,
sculpt the nose by adding
black fur. (Some crafters
prefer to purchase plastic
• Add rust in appropriate
places on face.
• To create a lip line, roll
black fur into a very thin
cord and felt into place.
• Add eyebrows of rust
fur and then create eyes
with either brown
rocaille beads or
purchased glass eyes.
• Eyes and beads may be
wired, sewn or glued in.
• Ears are created by
felting very thin pieces
and trimming them into
triangular shaped ear
• Create two and attach
them to the head.
• Complete Berner
Sculpture by adding any
feathering desired to
body, hindquarters and
About the felter
Lori Friedli, MSLIS, is relatively new to the world of Berners. She
is an information professional by trade and an animal lover,
reader and crafts person by passion! She has four resident pets,
two Bernese Mountain dogs and two cats (all who have modeled
and loaned their fur for felting).
Lori and her husband André have created a doggie social
network, Bernese Mountain Dogs of Greater New York
(BMDGNY), and devote a lot of their time to Berner exercise,
education and just plain fun! Website link:
In the Berner University package you will find a disc with a
Microsoft Word version of this presentation. The complete
PowerPoint presentation, as you have seen in this class can be
found at the BMDGNY site:
Kiss your Berners every day!

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