Saturday, December 28, 2013

Polar Bear Tutorial Part 1 (making the wire frame)

     This is the first needle felting tutorial I have ever made so please let me know if anything is unclear.  During this first part I will show you how I made the wire frame for these polar bears.

Needle felt polar bear

     The large polar bear is the one that is being used as the example, but the baby was made in the same way.  Because they have wire frames they are pose-able which adds a fun dimension to them as sculptures.  Please keep in mind that the steps I show are not concrete and are only the way I happened to get from the beginning to the end.  There are many ways that one could have gotten to the same place.  Well, lets begin....

First I gathered the things I will be using:  paper, pencil, eraser, ruler, wire, and wire cutters.  The wire I used is 20 gauge galvanized steel wire that I got at the hardware store.  Lots of people use jewelry wire or pipe cleaners, but I think that this steel wire is stronger and a whole lot cheaper.

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Next, I found some source material to make sketches.  I used a mammal guide book and a natural geographic kids magazine to draw some generalized polar bears.  



This is the sketch I came up with.   


This is the sketch with my wire frame pieces.
After making the initial drawing I cut a length of wire to make the 'skull' and 'spine.' It needs to be twice the length that fits inside the drawing.  Twist the wire to make the 'spine,' leaving a loop to mimic the skull.  By laying it over your drawing you can predict how large you sculpture will be and also be confident that the proportions will be correct.  Next I cut a piece of wire for the back legs.  This wire needs to be four times the length of one leg, plus a little extra for the twisting.  Bend it in half, which is where it will meet the 'spine.'  Make a loop (which will be the foot) on each side and twist the wire back up toward the spine.  Next you can attach it to the spine by twisting it around the spine several times in the spot where your drawing indicates the attachment should be.  The front legs are made using the same process.

needle felt bear tutorial
This is the wire frame I came up with for my polar bear.  Good luck, and until next time!

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