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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Dog Hair, Dog Hair - Everywhere!

Is your house like my house?  I find dog hair everywhere!  And often in the most unlikely places!
Well, I have finally found a use for all that sheltie hair - my next craft used sheltie hair to create a little mini-me of Treasure!  I am learning the craft of needle felting wool.  I made a couple dog ornaments out of wool, and then tried my luck at making a white sheltie ornament out of Treasure's hair.  I think it turned out really nice - what do you think?
You will need wool roving, or a ziploc bag full of your dog's undercoat hair (the fluffy stuff that comes out when you comb or brush her), a needle felting needle (has little barbs on it), a foam block, and a dog breed silhouette cookie cutter (or other shape). 
Put your cookie cutter on top of the foam block.  The foam will protect your surface and will keep the needle from breaking if it hits the hard surface underneath too many times!  Fill the cookie cutter full of the dog hair, packing it in as much as you can.  Begin to poke the hair with the needle and continue until you notice the hair starting to stick together better and stay in the cutter.
The one above has been needled a little bit but is still fluffy.  Continue to needle the fur - it takes a while - until it becomes more compact.  Keep it inside the cutter until it is firm enough and thick enough to hold its shape on its own.  Keeping the hair inside the cutter, turn it over and needle from the other side as well.  You can see the difference in the top picture where the hair is still fluffy and separate and the bottom that has been well-needled and is firm and compact inside the cutter.
When you are satisfied that your ornament is completely compact all around, pop it out of the cutter.  Needle any parts that need a bit of tidying up to shape it as you wish - but watch your fingers!!  That barbed needle does hurt!  Below you can see the Treasure ornament just popped out of the cutter, and the two Lab ornaments I made from wool. 
For the Labs, or other short-haired dogs, you can trim the long hairs that stick out with small scissors to help them look more stream-lined.  I didn't try the Labs with dog fur because I didn't have the right colors of dogs to donate hair!  If anyone tries this with Lab undercoat, please let me know.  I'd love to see how they turn out! 
For Treasure's, I needed to add long hair.  As much as a smooth-coated sheltie would be nice at times, a sheltie with short hair looks a bit silly.  So I carefully needled more dog fur onto the outside of the dog shape, but just didn't needle it all the way in, so it stayed fluffy and long.  The parts that needed shorter hair, I kept short.  The long hair I just added a bit at a time and needled it into the shape I wanted. 

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