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Tutorial: Wire Jig Armatures by SnowFox102 Tutorial: Wire Jig Armatures by SnowFox102
I've had a couple people ask me about how I make armatures for my needle felted figures, so I put together a simple tutorial. It's not pretty, but I hope it gets the point across. :) This method basically uses a cork board as a wire jig. I've not heard of anyone else using this method, so I figured I'd share, since I find it very helpful. All my armatures are made with this method. The smaller armature in the last picture went on to become Fluttershy, and the other one was supposed to be Phere but I broke it later. XD
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:icontreiale:
Treiale Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for the tutorial! I have needle felted quite a few things but I have never attempted to wire anything. I think I will give it a go very soon!
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:iconmayebony:
MayEbony Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so much for this fantastic tutorial *and* all of the incredibly helpful advice you've given to everyone in the comments below (yes, I read them all!).  I have roving, and I have a leather finger and thumb protection 'glove'.  Just waiting very impatiently for the needles to arrive :iconshakestickplz: LOL
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:iconapache-cat:
apache-cat Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2013  Student Artisan Crafter
Most wire I've tried will snap after being bent in the same place a few times. Will using armature wire and twisting it like this stop that from happening? Or will twisting regular wire work?
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:iconsnowfox102:
SnowFox102 Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
All wire will break if you bend it enough. Twisting the wire doesn't make it less likely to break so much as it becomes harder to bend, which makes it hold a pose better. I always recommend hardware wire, such as picture hanging wire, over everything else because it's very strong. Floral wire is good too. You can easily compare the quality of different kinds of wire by rapidly bending a section back and forth until it either breaks or becomes too hot to touch. Thinner wire will break more easily of course, but for a very thin wire the picture hanging wire in this post is quite strong.
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:iconwildfire1990:
wildfire1990 Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I have another question..How do you felt around the wire? is the felt somehow attached then added on to?
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:iconsnowfox102:
SnowFox102 Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
It's kind of hard for me to explain, but fairly easy to do. When I can, I'll make a video or something showing how to do it, but until then I'll describe it. What I do is gently pull a bit of wool so that it's a long strip (Look up "pre-drafting" in spinning terms, there are lots of videos about it. It's the same technique.) Then I carefully wrap the wool strip around the wire. Keep it close to the wire, but don't pull so hard that the strip breaks. I just wrap a couple of inches at a time. Hold the felting needle parallel to the wire, and poke the wool a few times, going all around the wire. You can also roll it between your fingers after it starts to felt to firm it up and shrink it down against the wire. Once you have that first little bit, it becomes much easier to add more on top. It does take a little practice to know how much wool to use and such, but it's not as hard as it sounds. :) I've also heard that some people apply that first layer of wool by coating the wire in glue and just gluing some wool on.
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:iconwildfire1990:
wildfire1990 Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you so very much for all of your wisdom regarding this amazing art! I went to my local craft store and picked up all the stuff I needed to get started. The result was a tiny little panda.:) It's odd looking, I need a lot of practice and probably won't get as good as you, haha. If it's not too much to ask though, would you mind looking at my panda and see if you have any recommendations on how to improve my technique? [link]
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:iconsnowfox102:
SnowFox102 Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
Reminds me of my first feltie! :D [link] I think it's great, and you can only improve from here. Practice, and you can make anything! The only recommendation I have is to try different fibers, and get a star needle if you can. Different fibers behave in different ways, and the ones sold at craft stores are often of poor quality and are harder to felt. Personally I prefer a fine Merino, other people like the coarser Corriedale. Different needles give different results too. I always reccomend a 38 gauge star because it felts faster than a triangle (which is what craft stores usually have) and is useful across a broad variety of fiber types and felt densities. I just recently got some spiral needles, which felt even faster than stars of the same gauge, but they start having trouble getting through more quickly than the stars, so I only use them at the beginning of shaping and switch to a star to tighten everything up. The spirals are also less efficient on tiny details or working near an armature because the barbs are more spaced out than the stars.
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:iconwildfire1990:
wildfire1990 Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
That's great info, thank you so much! I'm going to browse around online for some different fibers, and a star needle. I really appreciate your time, and advice, thank you! :D
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:iconsnowfox102:
SnowFox102 Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
You're welcome! :)
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