One Animal Crossing: New Horizons player’s adorable needle felts have recently received plenty of love.
Angela, who goes by FluffyFelts on Reddit and Instagram and FluffyNeedleFelts on Etsy, discovered needle felting around two months ago. After seeing badfelt‘s cute creations, she felt inspired to take on a hobby she had never even heard of before.
“I follow an Animal Crossing group on Facebook,” she tells Fanbyte. “One day, someone [badfelts] posted their first-ever attempt at needle felting. It was the cutest, fuzziest little Roald! I thought it was so adorable, I had to know how he was made.”
That’s when she took to YouTube to watch several tutorials and beginner videos on the art of needle felting. “I’ve never felt like I was good at any kind of art before, but I felt like I really understood the process just by watching it,” she says. This motivated her to buy a starter kit online. As she excitedly waited for her kit, she would draw designs for the needle felts she wanted to make in anticipation.
Drawing is how FluffyFelts starts her process. “It really helps me visualize what I want to do! If I’m making an Animal Crossing character, I’ll look up reference images first and then draw my own version to adapt it better to needle felting,” she says. “I’ll change small details if I have to so they either show up better or give the felt an overall cuter appearance!”
Once she picks the wool colors that best match the design she’s trying to make, she begins on the core. She likens the process more to sculpting than sewing. “Needle felting works by taking loose wool and forming it into shapes with a felting needle,” she explains. “The felting needle is barbed on the tip, so when you poke it into the wool, it tangles some of the fibers together, and eventually it will hold its shape and become denser the more you poke it!”
The average creation takes her approximately three or four hours, but she might take longer if it’s something she’s never done before. She’s meticulous and dedicated to making the details as best as she can, so the time she spends on a single needle felt varies by size and level of detail. She also makes sure to take plenty of stretching breaks in between her work sessions.
“The most challenging felts for me are the ones I’ve made duplicates of,” she elaborates. “They’re handmade and there are no patterns in needle felting, so of course they all come out a little different and unique! But I’m always afraid someone will be disappointed because the one they ordered didn’t come out looking exactly like the one they saw in the picture, so it can be a struggle when I’m being too much of a perfectionist about it! I do my best to make them as close as possible though, and I’m sure people are understanding of that!”
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Although Angela describes it as a tedious process, it’s also one that relaxes her and eases her anxiety. “I’ve always struggled with anxiety and it really helps me get out of my head and gives me something positive to focus on,” she says.
If she had to pick the needle felt she’s most proud of, it would be her Stella one. “She was my first Animal Crossing needle felt and people loved her,” she says. “She got a very good response everywhere I posted her, and that gave me the confidence to open my Etsy store and commissions because so many people said they’d love to buy one!” As of the writing of this article, her Stella needle felt post has over 7,200 upvotes on Reddit. Her second most-upvoted needle felt is Apple, which has over 4,000 upvotes. Creations like Dom and Roald have also gotten plenty of attention, showing how much people are loving her needle felts. And if you look at her Etsy store, you’ll see that dozens of people have her needle felts in their carts.
“New Horizons is the first Animal Crossing game I’ve played. I didn’t even have a Switch when it came out, and because of the quarantine, the regular Switch was sold out everywhere,” she tells me. She bought a Switch Lite just to play it. When her sister got the game as well, they started to play together all the time. “I live in a different state than my family which can be hard, so it was actually really nice for us to be able to hang out together on each other’s islands! It felt like we were close to each other again!”
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It’s that feeling of connection that largely motivates her to keep needle felting. “I love seeing everyone’s responses to my work, everyone is so nice,” FluffyFelts says. “I read every comment I get, it makes me so happy to know my stuff makes other people happy!”
“One of the first things I made was a little mushroom with a happy face, and someone commented on it saying, ‘Your cute little mushroom made me happy in this ugly hateful world. Thank you.’ I saved a screenshot of it and I still almost cry every time I think about it! It always blows my mind when people thank me for creating something. I can’t believe it but I appreciate it so much and every nice comment really means a lot to me.”
Along with the heartwarming interactions she gets out of posting her art, the most satisfying thing about needle felting to her is the sense of accomplishment she gets. “I love finishing up commissions, it helps me feel productive and I love when something turns out how I envisioned it,” she says. “I also love it when people send me pictures of my felts when they receive them, it’s so fun seeing them in their new homes!”
She would be happy if anyone out there looked at her needle felts and felt inspired to take up the hobby, just like she did a few months ago. “I think it’s such a fun, relaxing, creative outlet! Starter kits don’t cost too much either, so if you’re interested in needle felting I would watch a few videos on it to get a general idea of how it works, and jump right in!”
You can give a new home to an adorable Animal Crossing needle felt, whether it’s a custom sheep villager or any custom villager you’d like, by checking out Angela’s Etsy shop.