Needle felted animals are lovely and the key things with getting you’re animal ‘right’ is to get the details right.
Paws have always annoyed me but after many attempts, I finally feel I’ve got a good technique for making a generic paw which can then be sculpted and shaped using the felting needle into a dog, cat, hare, rabbit, etc.
I’ve always made the paws in one piece and then added detailing for the toes, etc. but I’ve found that if I make the piece as per the image below, I get a more defined foot.
This is just step 1 and I know it looks a bit strange. Basically take your wool and divide it into five sections, three large ones and two slightly smaller ones to the outside. Start to needle felt the ‘toes’ and join all five together where the leg would start.
Keep needle felting into the seperate toes and then start to join them together, felting and shaping the paw inwards. Add some darker fibre inbetween the toes and keep working and shaping your paw. At this point you need to decide what type of paw you’re making.
Best idea is to have a look at the anatomy and good images of your animal and there are some ideas on these great sites – wolf/dog or cats, dog, birds, etc. and hares (the Hare Whisperer has some lovely hare pictures)
This will eventually be a hare paw so the narrower and the two side toes sit further back like the left hand image – if it was a cat, it would be stubbier (right hand image) , a dog would be wider with more space between toes, etc…
I think it already has the appearance of an animal foot and this technique has worked so much better than my previous attempts.