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Needle felted posable Octavia by SnowFox102 Needle felted posable Octavia by SnowFox102
Oh Jazz, you're such a charmer. I don't think Octavia is into the same kind of music as you, though.

Octavia is roughly 6" tall at the ears, and very posable thanks to an armature made of slightly heavier wire than I've used before. Her coat is needle felted from soft, hand dyed Merino wool, and her mane and tail are hand dyed Suri alpaca locks. The individual locks are slightly different shades, giving her a subtle variation that I like. It's rather frizzy in these pics, because it's very fine, and this is the South, where humidity rarely drops below 50%.
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:iconcopper-bloom:
Copper-Bloom Featured By Owner May 24, 2015  Student Artisan Crafter
This is fantastic! I love her little bowtie :D (Big Grin) I want to get into needle felting. Unfortunately, I have to order the wool online, and I have no idea how much to order. About how much does it take to make a plushie of this size? Thanks :)
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:iconhorserat:
horserat Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2014
Let me just say, this little Octavia is spectacular!!
I'm new at needle felting, and I've been trying to get into posable figures with a wire armature. I was just wondering what technique you used to create the eyes and cutie mark. Are they painted?
And if you have any tips on how to attach the hair, that would be great too! :)
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:iconladytemeraire:
LadyTemeraire Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Eeeee, she looks amazing! Nice work! :D
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:iconsnowfox102:
SnowFox102 Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
Thanks! :D
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:iconanotherclichejrocker:
anotherclichejrocker Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
that came out super cute!!
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:icontigerlily0705:
TigerLily0705 Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
She looks amazing! Great work! :)
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:iconsnowfox102:
SnowFox102 Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
Thanks! :D
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:iconhalf-unicorn:
half-unicorn Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I LOVE her!!!!!!!!! :D
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:iconsnowfox102:
SnowFox102 Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
Thanks! :D
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:iconhalf-unicorn:
half-unicorn Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You're very welcome :D
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:iconponyvillain:
PonyVillain Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2013
That's awesome. I particularly like how you did her hair :)
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:iconsnowfox102:
SnowFox102 Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
Thanks, glad you like how she turned out! :D
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:iconotherunicorn:
otherunicorn Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013
very nice!
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:iconsnowfox102:
SnowFox102 Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
Thanks! :3
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:iconthe-pink-dragon:
the-pink-dragon Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Wow, she looks amazing! Very smoothly felted, and amazing job on her cutie mark and eyes! Did the variations in her hair come from two different batches of dyed wool, or did you somehow manage that all at once?
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:iconsnowfox102:
SnowFox102 Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
Thank you! :D The variations in her hair came from different batches of dye, yes. After dyeing some of the locks, I decided I wanted more, and gave them a short dip in black dye, whereas the first ones were a mix of a cold grey and black. The black-only locks are a slightly warmer color, while the grey ones are a little lighter and a cooler shade. It's pretty subtle but I think it worked out well, even if it wasn't intentional. :)
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:iconthe-pink-dragon:
the-pink-dragon Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Yeah, it looks really nice. :)

I've been considering dyeing my own wool because I always seem to have way too much or way too little of the color I need. If you don't mind me asking, what kind of dye do you use, and do you just dip the wool in the dye, and sit it out to dry? I really have no experience with dyeing anything at all, but I figured it would be useful to learn.

Oh, and one more thing, to get variations in the intensity of the color, do you water down the dye, or leave it the same and soak the wool for less time?
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:iconsnowfox102:
SnowFox102 Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
I recommend doing your own dye work if you do a lot of needle felting and have the time and materials to do it. It's not hard at all, and materials are easy to come by.

I'll link to a couple of dye tutorials that helped me at the end of this post, but first I'll answer your questions. I use a combination of food safe dyes (which includes food coloring liquids, and powdered drink mixes like Kool-Aid) and commercial all-purpose dyes (primarily RIT brand as it's the most common in the US) and I have used commercial "pro" acid dyes. I favor food dyes because they're safest to handle, and cheap. They're a little more finicky though, and I never use food coloring to make purple or black (and grey by extension), because those colors separate too easily to make it worth while.

Your other questions are best answered in the tutorials I'm linking to. The main thing you need to remember is that all animal fibers are protein based, which means they can be dyed with acid dye. If you use food coloring liquid or commercial dyes, you have to add acid (I use white vinegar) and heat it, then rinse out the dye. Controlling the intensity of the color just comes with practice. You can water down the dye or soak it longer, but generally the idea is to use just the right amount of dye. But different dyes have different concentrations, so it's not really an exact science. Replicating a color between dye baths is virtually impossible for that reason, you have to dye enough for a project all at once. It's better to over estimate than under estimate. I still do that sometimes, and I get "dud" dye baths sometimes too. I set the dud wool aside and use it for other things, like cat toys and core wool.

Here's some tutorials:
A good introduction to how to dye protein based fibers
Using Kool-Aid and a microwave
Another Kool-Aid tutorial
A whole site dedicated to food color dye, with formulas
Any tutorial about dyeing wool yarn will work for unspun fiber. :)
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:iconthe-pink-dragon:
the-pink-dragon Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Thank you so much for all the advice and tutorials! I think I'll definitely try the kool-aid microwave one first, it seems pretty easy! I'm going to look into some RIT dyes as well, because I need some grey for a Discord I'm working on. Can you microwave the RIT or liquid dyes as well, or does that only work for food based dyes?
One more question, when you said you gave the second batch of grey in Octavia's hair a "quick dip" did that mean that you put it in the dye, but didn't heat it for very long?
I am very excited about trying this, it seems like it would be so helpful to get the color I want in a night, rather than waiting a week for it to be shipped to me! Thank you so much again for all the help!
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:iconsnowfox102:
SnowFox102 Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
You're welcome, I'm glad to help. :D Getting the colors I need quickly is part of why I started doing my own dye work. The other reason being that I usually only need a small amount of a color, so I don't want an entire ounce of it. :P

I often use the microwave to heat my dye, it doesn't matter what kind of dye it is. You do want to be careful with dyes that aren't food safe though, make sure they don't come in contact with food surfaces. Some of them contain heavy metals (especially turquoisey blues, those usually contain copper) and none of them are good for you. I have several glass jars and an old crock pot that I use exclusively for dye work.

Another tip that I forgot to mention: Dye is usually sold as a powder, and when you mix it with water the dust gets everywhere. Even Kool-Aid is bad to inhale, but the others are worse. What I do is take an empty plastic bottle, fill it part way with water, and carefully pour the powdered dye into that (I use a funnel, that keeps the dust from floating around), then top it off with water. It makes it easier to take out the right amount of dye (dyes are extremely concentrated) and it limits the amount of dust I'm exposed to. RIT sells some of their colors in liquid form, and some of their colors only come in liquid, but I don't like those. They cost more, and they're more concentrated than my water bottle method which leads to more oversaturation, and the bottles tend to leak. BTW if you want to try "professional" acid dye, you can get a couple of kinds from Dharma Trading and Paradise Fibers. And while they're expensive Greener Shades is a line of dye that doesn't contain heavy metals, so it's a bit more "green". You can find it on Etsy. BTW, check out my box full of dye! :P

As for my quick dip comment, what I did was place the fiber in the dye for one or two minutes. I usually heat the fiber in the dye for one to two minute increments until I get the shade I want. Different fibers have different requirements, though. Wool takes dye very fast, while the Suri alpaca I use for hair takes longer.

One more thing: Remember that blue requires more heat, acid, and time, while red requires less. That's why purple and black are harder to achieve. The red absorbs first, leaving the blue behind, so you have to wait and/or apply more heat and acid for the blue to absorb. This is less of a problem with the commercial dyes, which is why I use those for purple and black.

Also, don't get sucked into the commercial brands' bragging about color fastness. Everything fades if you leave it in the sun, and things that aren't clothing don't need to be dry clean safe. :P I only use commercial brands over food coloring for colors that separate (purple and black), or are hard to get otherwise (turquoise, some browns). There's not really a big difference between common RIT and fancy pants Lanaset when it comes to needle felting. If you like the color, use it. :)
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:iconthe-pink-dragon:
the-pink-dragon Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Yeah, I think I'm going to try getting a hold of some glass jars for my dyeing, so no one can complain about me using all the small casserole dishes :) I hadn't considered mixing the powder with water and keeping it in a bottle. Me and my mom were discussing how we could store powder left over from RIT packages if I didn't use it all. But I guess the bottle thing would solve that! I assume you just pour out how much you think you need into the water you're dyeing the wool in? Damn, that's really freaking smart! Glad you mentioned it, because I probably wouldn't had thought of it :P

I didn't know that blue and red dye take such different amounts of heat and time to absorb. But it makes sense that kool-aid would be kind of difficult to get purple with.

And thanks for the warning about the expensive dye. I guess that since I'm making ponies and sculptures, nothing of mine needs to be able to be dry cleaned! I would get suckered in with the color fastness though, so I'm glad you said that. I think for now I'll just stick to Kool-aid and RIT until I feel like I need something different.

I am super excited to try this, and once again I don't think I'd be able to understand what to do if it weren't for your advice! Thanks so much, and I'll definitely let you know how my first dyeing excursion goes! :D
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:iconsnowfox102:
SnowFox102 Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
Yep, just pour out a little bit. For really small dye baths or pale colors, I use a medicine dropper to draw up just a little bit of dye. Remember that all dyes, including Kool-Aid, are concentrated to some degree. Experiment with small tufts of wool at first to see how things work. :) For example, a packet of Kool-Aid will dye a around 1/2 to 3/4 of an ounce of wool to a bright shade. I never use an entire packet. :P It's also good to learn how much dye it takes to get a particular shade an also "exhaust" the dye bath, which means that all the color has been absorbed into the wool leaving clear liquid behind. Exhausting the dye means you're not wasting anything, though most of the time I'm trying to get a specific color so I end up with some color left in the dye bath. But learning the amounts is helpful to at least reduce waste.
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(1 Reply)
:iconhinata-teh-lefty:
Hinata-teh-Lefty Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013  Student Photographer
Wow, wonderful job~!
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:iconsnowfox102:
SnowFox102 Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
Thanks! :D
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