We heart pets. Animals are such rewarding companions. They are loyal, and they are cute! I am the owner of a very smooth-coated boxer, but I have a lot of love for long-haired dogs, especially ones with fluffy tails, like Sugar here.
But that hair! It gets everywhere. I’ve seen it floating around like snowdrifts under the couch, and of course it gets on every piece of clothing in the house! Grooming your dog is the best way to keep the hair from finding its way into your wardrobe permanently.
The hair that you remove from the dog when you brush her can be put to crafty use! It can be felted, just like sheep’s wool. Well, not exactly like wool, but close enough! Don’t let the soft fibers go to waste. Use some pipe cleaners and a felting needle to create a replica of your pet, made from her fur!
Foam work surface
Small bits of black and brown wool
Note: If you’ve never needle felted before, give it a try! Check out this video I made showing how easy it is.
Harvest the fur: Brush your dog well, and collect all the fibers. You will need more than just a handful of hair. Pick the bits of dirt and debris out and save all the fur in a plastic bag. Add to it every time you brush the dog. When you have about 5 large, dense handfuls of hair, you are ready.
Step 1: Cut 7″ of pipe cleaner, and bend the first inch into a looped head, and then bend the other end into a tail. Cut 2 more pieces of pipe cleaner for the legs, make them 3.5″ each, and then fold them in half.
Step 2: Wrap the leg pieces around the body piece. You should have a 3D stick figure made of pipe cleaner with a head, 4 legs, and a tail. Make sure all the legs are the same length, and that the replica can stand on its own.
Step 3: Begin to add the fur. Start with one of the front legs. Take a pinch of dog fur, and wrap it around the pipe cleaner. The fibers on the pipe cleaner will grip the dog hairs. Pinch the hair tightly, and then press the tip of the felting needle into the hair. Gently push the needle into the fur over and over until it begins to stick to itself. Keep needling the fur, until it covers the pipe cleaner and adheres to the leg. Cover all 4 legs.
Step 4: Form the torso. Take several pinches of dog fur, and align them. Wrap the pipe cleaner part of the torso with the fur, and needle it into place. Press the needle over and over again, all around the dog’s belly. To add shape, change the direction of the needle. First push it one way, then the other. You will be surprised at how much definition you can create with the needle. Push the sides belly fur into the front and back legs with the needle, to create an even body for the dog. If you want a bigger belly, add more fur in small pinches.
Step 5: Create the head. Overlap several pinches of dog fur, and then wrap them around the pipe cleaner head. This is the tough, creative part. I recommend leaving the fur loose, and then staring at the half-made dog. Stare and stare, and stare. Here is what happens when you look at the dog: you will find that the features begin to appear. This is a loose ball of fluff, wrapped around a pipe cleaner, but I promise that you will start thinking it looks like your dog! When you have the suggestion of a face, use your fingers to work it into shape. Pinch the nose out, tug the ears out. Push the fur into the shape of the dog’s head as much as you can.
Step 6: After you have used your fingers to form the dog’s head, begin to needle it. Gently push the tip of the felting needle into the fur. Sculpt the head by changing the angle of the needle, and by focusing your needling in specific areas. Use the needle to pick out the ears, and to define the nose.
Step 7: Now, add features. This doggy is a Samoyed mix, so I gave her black eyes and a little brown nose made of wool. Use only a tiny bit of fibers to create the features. Roll them up into lint balls in your fingers, then attach them with the felting needle.
Step 8: After the face has been created, add the tail hair. The dog that I replicated has a long fluffy tail, so I exaggerated that feature to give it plenty of resemblance. Lay pinches of the fur on both sides of the pipe cleaner tail. Needle the fur until it is firmly attached. In this case, I left the hair fluffy and loose, to mimic the actual dog.