top of page

How to make... A Small Ball Bird Tutorial

A fun project for needle felting a small round bird.

One of my favourite things to make are these super cute little birds. The are especially adorable when you make a few from some different coloured wool. But if you only have one colour of wool, that's fine too - you can keep the little chickee company yourself until you make him some friends!


  • Barbed needle felting needle.

  • Felting pad.

  • Carded wool for the inside - I like to use the least processed wool for the inside and keep the soft dyed wool for decoration. I have a stock of low-processed wool from fresh-recipe-subscription packaging, but you can use any undyed wool.

  • White wool for the belly.

  • Coloured wool for the body of the bird.

  • Very small amount of yellow wool for the beak.

  • Two tiny glass eyes, or a bit of black wool.

Make ball shape.

We start this project by making the inside shape of the bird, which is a ball. Balls are a useful shape to learn as you can scale up or down depending on your project, from needle-felted beads, to other little animals, garlands and Christmas decorations.

Take a piece of wool, and roll tightly from one end, and fold the sides in before continuing to roll and fold in the sides. I don't normally, but have weighed the wool and it was 4grams. I like to use a long piece of my low-process wool, as its easier to roll up into a ball. The tighter you roll, the less you will have to stab later! You may find, especially if you are making a larger ball, to stab a little as you are rolling it up. This helps to secure it so it doesn't spring undone.

Once it is a ball like shape use your needle to create firmness and to smooth out the shape. Don't do too much work at this point, as you will do more smoothing as you add the colour.

Colour the ball in coloured wool.

To colour the bird, start with the white wool belly. Take a small amount of white wool about the size of the ball. It needs to be fairly thick to ensure that it will cover the neutral tone underneath, but you can add more layers if the coverage is not to your liking.

Place the wool on your ball and stab in a circle, creating the shape of colour you want. Stab in the middle of the circle evenly to attach and smooth. There will be excess around the outside of your circle, which I fold inwards to give another layer, or you can choose to trim it off with scissors. (Keep it for another project.)

Colour choices - covering the bird.

These birds can really be any colour! I have picked a bright orange, but pretty much make one every time I get a new colour. Again tear off a square shape of wool just larger than the ball, which when wrapped will cover the non-white parts.

Stab to secure and smooth. Then either fold over the edges or trim off the excess.

Follow the line between the white and orange, stabbing as you go to create a nice distinctive line.

Shape from Ball to Bird.

Now you have your ball with a white belly. I like to give the bird a bit of definition around the head. So pinch your ball to create a slightly more conical shape at the top.

Then stab in a curved line from the 'shoulders' of the bird towards his back. Stab a little above the line to create definition and the impression of the top of a wing.

Making the tail.

Take another piece of wool the same colour as the body and fold it into three to create a small rectangle. Stab the centre of this shape and leave the ends for now.

Take one end and fold over to create a round shape and stab to secure and smooth.

If you are feeling brave, or have finger shields, hold the tail between your thumb and finger and slowly stab at the sides of the tail to neaten it up and shape. Be very careful when doing this as it is very easy to stab yourself.

Attaching the tail.

Attach the tail using the raw edge of the tail that you have left. Position the tail in the middle of the back close to the base so it helps him stand up.

The raw edge should be running under the base. Stab at the raw edge to attach to the base, working your way up only so far as to ensure that it sits right.


I make the beaks using a small amount of yellow wool. This part is quite fiddly, so make sure you are somewhere with good lighting to avoid stabbing your fingers! Make a tiny flat-ish ball by folding the wool over, and pinching with the other thumb and finger. When you get to the size that look about right, hold the end with one hand and stab to secure. You should end up with a little tadpole shape.

Cut off the end, leaving you with enough wool to attach. Concentrate your stabs to the base and top of the beak to help shape it as you secure it.

Attaching eyes.

You can either use a tiny amount of black wool to make the eyes by rolling into a ball between your thumb and finger, and securing or alternatively use some very small glass eyes on pegs that you can buy online or at craft shops. For the glass eyes, you need to make a hole with your needle. I actually have an old blunt needle which helps to create hole without compacting things further. Just repeatedly stab in the same place, until a little hole forms. Simply pop the eye in a use something hard to push it it - like the end of a pencil.

Stand him up!

If his base is a little round, then stab away at the centre of the base, testing until he can stand freely without toppling over.

Finished - relax.

Sit back with pride at your creation and admire your handiwork! Perhaps with a nice cup of tea.

Let me know how you got on with this tutorial, and perhaps you could tag me in any Instagram posts of the final article. I would love to see your creations.

What colour did you choose?

13 views0 comments
bottom of page