Basic Head and Arms using Flexible Steel Wire

Our new Flexible Steel Wire is perfect for making little figures as you can achieve much more delicate results than with pipe cleaners. We recommend using Australian Merino batts as they will provide a smooth finish.  You will also need other batts and tops of your choice to complete your figure (this tutorial is just to get you started) but you can watch our free video How to Make a Wire Armature Figure using Flexible Steel Wire on our YouTube channel!

You will need:

- skin-toned Australian Merino batts of your choice (such as Flesh Pink or Milk Chocolate)
- Flexible Steel Wire
- #40 fine felting needle & mat
- batts/tops/curls/fibres of your choice to complete the figure and decorate it.

Head: take a wispy strand of Flesh Pink batts and wrap the end of a 45cm Flexible Steel Wire, about 1cm in. Keep the wool flat like a ribbon and work close to the wire to make a tight wrap.

Then bend the end in by 0.5-1cm to trap the wool.

Continue to wrap over the bent end of the wire to begin building up bulk.

Once you have created a small ball, use your fine needle to felt the wool down with shallow stabs, keeping the round shape. You also have to stab the wool where the wire comes out - mind the wire as you do so!

Continue to wrap the ball shape by building flat layers,  then felting them down. Do this until your ball shape is about 2.5 cm in diameter. Your finished ball should be felted down firmly.

Cut 16cm off the end of the wire (for the next step) then put the head to one side for now.

Arms: take the 16cm length you just cut off. As before wrap the end, bend it in and cover the bend, but this time continue wrapping along the length of the wire. It is important to keep the wool tight, flat and thin.

Continue along the arm wire until just under half way, so the wrapped area will be 6cm long, including the hand. You will have to add more layers... this by going back over the covered area with the same wool strand, or start again at the hand. Either way, ensure the additional layers are wound around in the same direction as those underneath.

Repeat at the other end. The thickness of the hands should be slightly larger than the arm: 0.5-0.6cm for the hands, 0.3-0.4cm for the arms. Keep about 2cm of wire uncovered in the centre.

Take the arms and twist these once around the main wire where the head is attached. Use pliers to tighten the wrap.

Push the arms up so they are positioned right underneath the head.

You can make legs in a similar way to the arms, using a 15-19cm length of wire: wrap them with wool, but this time you can cover the whole length as you will wrap the ‘spine’ wire of the body around the centre of the legs to attach.

This creates a stick figure that you can build up with wool and decorate further to your liking - have fun creating little figures!

You can also find lots of video tutorials and Live Streams on our YouTube channel!