What Size Felting Needles Do I Need?

What Size Felting Needles Do I Need?

If you want to try needle felting, what is the best overall size needle you should get? Felting needles come in various gauges (sizes), are made of carbon steel, and have barbs on the side. Wool fibers are grabbed by barbs and pulled through to bond to adjacent fibers. Needle gauges are best described as fine, medium, and large. The larger the gauge, the thinner the needle body. A 42 gauge is a very fine needle ideal for delicate, detailed work but very fragile and tends to break if not handled properly. Honestly, I have never worked with a 42-gauge needle. 36 and 38 gauges are all-purpose needles and work well on all wool types, even the finest merino wool. A 32 gauge is a thicker needle and is best on coarse wool, but it can require a lot of hard jabbing to bond the fibers together. 

Needle Sizes and Their Uses

32G The coarse needle felts faster and does not break easily but tends to leave visible holes on the surface. They are generally used for coarse fibers and attaching pieces in the initial shaping stage.

36G The medium/thick needle serves a similar function as a 32G needle but leaves smaller holes on the surface. Suitable for the initial shaping stage for medium fiber and can be used for attaching pieces.

38G The medium/fine needle is the most commonly used. It is excellent for further shaping and tightening work.

40G The fine needle is best for felting fine details, such as finishing and refining small holes on the surface to make it smooth.

42G The ultra-fine needle is excellent for extra details. It leaves tiny holes and is perfect for rooting doll hair or whisker or adding additional details.

Needle felting using fine wool yarn to accent holiday ornament.
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