Friday, February 10, 2012

Needle felted dogs

Time for a tutorial!

Have you ever wanted to create a companion for one of your dolls, but struggled to find the right size dog or cat? I'm going to show you how to create a dog to scale, with good proportions. The same rules will apply when creating any miniature animal.

Start with a profile picture of the dog; if it shows the dog in motion, so much the better. I find these images in magazines and online, or you can use a photo of your own pet. Now calculate the size of your pet. You might use a proportional scale, which calculates relative size in a flash. These can be found at art supply stores. Or, do it intuitively. If your golden retriever's head comes to your thigh when he's standing, then the mini retriever will reach the thigh of your doll.

Resize the picture using a photocopier. Now take two pipe cleaners. Bend a tiny amount under at one end of each pipe cleaner. Lay it on the picture and measure the front foot. Bend the wire at 90 degrees and bend the second wire to match. Now measure the wire up to the shoulder. Don't go right to the top, since the skeleton is inside the flesh of the animal. So, leave room for the muscles on top of the wire skeleton. Make another bend, to add some shoulder width to the frame. Bend again, where the spine begins. Bend the second wire to match, and then twist the two together along the spine, measuring against the picture and ending just before the tail. Bend out the hips as you did the shoulders and then bend down and measure the legs. I follow the curve of the back legs, and then bend the foot. Finish the foot by bending under the ends as I did at the start. Cut off the excess wire.

Now take another pipe cleaner and measure the head size. Bend it back on itself, then bend and measure the neck. Place this against the shoulders and twist it around the spine. The other end will be the tail. Measure this and bend under the end, cutting off the excess.

Lay it on the picture to check the size again, and then adjust it so your dog stands by itself. Not so hard! Now you are ready to build the rest of the animal, which I will cover in my next post.

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