In this video, I will show you how to make a kokeshi doll jewelry box via needle felting.
This project is one of my more complex needle felting projects. I’m reluctant to provide time estimates because it really depends on the type of instrument that you use. I used a felting “tool”, a felting pen, and a felting needle. The felting tool has five needles (it’s the green and yellow tool that I use in the video). The pink felting pen has three needles, and it’s what I typically use for my projects. Both of these are made by Clover. I like using the felting tool to make flat pieces. It’s really good at speeding up the needle felting process. However, I haven’t done any specific tests to measure how much more efficient it is than the felting pen.
1. First create the kimono base. Using 6 grams of light blue wool, create a rectangle that is about 10 x 4 inches long. Create another identical rectangle that is 10 x 4 inches long, but add a bright pink stripe going down the center (lengthwise) using about 1 gram of pink wool. This will become the sash (obi in Japanese). To make it more interesting, you can add a design to the kimono. I added flowers.
2. Create a bow using about 1.5 grams of pink wool. Set aside a small bit of pink wool for the center of the bow. Then felt the remaining pink wool into a small rectangle. Once you have felted a rectangle, pinch the middle of the rectangle and felt it so it stays in that position. Then take the small bit of wool that you set aside and felt it flat on the mat. Once that piece starts to mat together, wrap it around the center of your bow and felt it into place.
4. Assemble the kimono base. Attach the two 10 x 4 inch blue pieces together, positioning the piece with the pink stripe on the outside. Layer the inner piece so that it sticks out a little bit higher than the outer piece. Felt them together so that the ends are joined.
5. Create a base for the kimono. Pull apart pieces of blue wool and layer them on top of one another in all different directions. Ultimately you want your piece to at least have a 3 inch diameter circle in the center, with tufts of wool sticking out all around. Then attach the base to the sides. I tacked on the base to the sides, then stuffed a sponge and a hand towel inside the cup so that I would have something to absorb the impact of the felting needle.
6. Make the face using about 5 grams of flesh colored wool. Felt a rectangle piece measuring about 2.5 x 5 inches.
8. Take approximately 2 grams of black wool and give your kokeshi doll some bangs.
9. Take about 5 g of black wool and felt it into a rectangle. I forgot to measure my piece, but it should be at least 4 x 9 inches long. (figure in about 1 inch overlap when attaching the face and hair on each side).
10. Attach the hair to the face by folding the black wool under and then felting it into place. Define the edges of the hair with a felting needle.
11. Give your kokeshi doll a smile and poke holes for the eyes.
12. Using the same technique you did for the bottom of the kimono, attach the top of the doll’s head.
13. I added 2 buns to my kokeshi doll, but you can give her a single bun. Take about 2 grams of black wool and felt it loosely into a round ball. Then add a strip of blue or pink wool to the bottom to create a hair accessory. Attach the buns to your doll’s head via needle felting.
14. Glue on the eyes. I used real blush to give my kokeshi doll rosy cheeks.
16 g light blue wool (6 g for each piece of the base, 1 g for hair bow, 3 g for top)
4 g pink wool (1.5 g for bow, 1 g for sash, 0.5 g for flowers, 1 g for hair)
4 g peach wool for face
14 g black wool (2 g for bangs, 5 g for sides of hair, 3 g for top, 2 g each for buns)
2 eye pins
Time required: a few hours… Head over to This American Life and listen to a few episodes while you felt. Or your other favorite podcast…
Difficulty Level: Intermediate