How to Make Needle-Felted Penguins

Trust us, you'll want to craft several of these adorable felted friends. Pose them on your mantel for a too-stinkin'-cute holiday vignette, or give these wooly penguins as heartwarming presents - if you can part with them!


  • 4-inch square of 2-inch-thick foam rubber or needle-felting mat
  • Wool roving: black, ivory, orange, red, and mint
  • 38-gauge multipurpose felting needle
  • Sewing thread: cream
  • Toothpick
  • Acrylic paint: red and white
  • Artist's brush
  • 1x1 1/2-inch decorative label sticker
  • Fine-tip permanent black marker


1. Pull off a 2.5-inch-long tuft of black roving, a 1-inch-long tuft of ivory roving, and a 1-inch-long tuft of orange roving, and roll each tuft into a ball.

2. Place the black roving ball on a foam rubber mat, and use a felting needle to poke the shape repeatedly while turning, creating a dense, compact ball for the penguin body.

3. Position the ivory roving ball on top of the black needle-felted ball. Shape the ivory roving into a heart and needle-felt it to the black ball, keeping the heart-shaped edges distinct.

4. Roll and needle-felt a tiny tuft of orange roving into a small tube for a nose. Taper one end of the tube to a point, and needle-felt the unfinished end of the nose to the penguin's face, attaching it firmly.

5 With wet fingertips, roll two tiny tufts of black roving into very small balls for eyes, and needle-felt the eyes to the penguin's face. 

6. Pull off two half-inch-long tufts of black roving, and form them into two wings by rolling and needle-felting the fibers into teardrop shapes. Needle-felt one wing to each side of the penguin body, attaching them firmly.

7. Roll and needle-felt two tiny orange roving tufts into flat oval shapes for feet. Needle-felt each foot to the bottom of the penguin, attaching them firmly.

8. Roll a small tuft of red roving into a ball, and needle-felt it into a triangle shape. Needle-felt the red hat shape onto the penguin's head. To create trimming for the hat, roll a half-inch-long tuft of ivory roving into a tube, and wrap the tube around the hat bottom, needle-felting it to attach. Create a tuft for the hat by rolling a 3/4-inch-long tuft of ivory roving into a dense ball and hand-stitching it to the tip of the hat with cream sewing thread.

9. Shape a half-inch-long tuft of mint roving into a heart, and needle-felt the shape until dense. Position the heart against the inside of one of the penguin's wings, and needle-felt it in place.

10. Paint a toothpick white, and allow it to dry. Paint red diagonal stripes on the toothpick, and allow it to dry once more. On a label sticker, write "North Pole" and attach it to the top of the toothpick. Position the sign against the penguin's other wing, and hold the sign in place by positioning the label's sticky backing against the penguin's hat.


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