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How to create a basic dog shape

How to create a basic dog shape in needle felting


Meet Tobia and his Mini-Me

The basic dog shape is usually, head, neck body, four legs (2 front, 2 back) and tail. When I make dogs to look like peoples dogs, I usually start with the head as there is a lot of work invovled in getting the face looking like the dog. Once  I have the head done, it determines the size of the body.

If it is a large model, it will need an armature to give it strength, to support the weight of the materials and so it stands or sits up.

Example of armature wire

For this tutorial I will show you how to make a general dog shape with no armature, I will start with the body.


Take some core wool, tear off a reasonable size and start to roll it up into a solid tube shape.

Keep it rolled as tight as possible

Once it is almost the size you want the body, start stabbing it with the needle felting needle. Make sure you work on a foam mat or felting brush. If you needle hits something hard it may break. If it hits you, it will hurt. Keep you fingers (and any other part of your body) clear of the needle while working.

A 32 guage, triangluar needle with three barbs will make your core wool felt together quickly.

Remember as you work the wool, it will shrink in size as it felts together, so add more wool by wrapping and rolling it with core wool.

Keep working unti the wool is fairly hard and felted together. Don't make it too hard or you won't be able to add more wool or a colour. 

Over felted wool starts to disintegrate. It does take practice.

Try and make sure you keep one end as the head end, leave some loose fibres so you can attach the head. The other end should be rounded as this is the bottom and the tail can be attached later.

Next take some small amounts of wool and roll in to thin tubes the make the legs, then start stabbing the wool so make them tightly felted so they are strong.

Make four of these. If they are not the same length, they can be cut down but try to make them the same thickness.

One end is the paw, so make it rounded by folding the wool over and felting  any excess fibes to the leg, then leave the other end fluffy. This will be used to join the front legs to the body.

The back legs use a bit more fluff and need to be shaped, see photo below.

Try and get the back legs the same size (the left on is smaller than the right in my photo) so I will add wool or wool can be added as they are worked onto the body to make them the same size.

My dog will be standing, it is was to be sitting, the legs would be more bent.

Attach the legs, remembering proportions. If you can't work out proportion, have a look at some photos and work out the distance between the back and front legs and also the body length. 

Different breeds are different sizes. A Pug is very different in proportion to a Grey hound although the limbs should be in the same place, basically one leg in each corner.

Roll some wool like you did for the legs but this will make the tail, so it needs to taper at one end and have some fluff to attch at the other.

It can be trimmed to make it neat.

Splay the fluffy end out so it can be put on your felt dogs bottom, hold in place and work the felt with the needle so it attaches.

Your dog should stand up. 

There is your dogs body, sorry bit scarey but next time I will show you how to make the head.

The head takes a bit of work and there are things to consider like eyes, ears and the nose.

See you for the next needle felting blog.