Who doesn’t love a bunny rabbit? My children always oooh and aaaah when they see them at the petting farm and pick them up right away. Sometimes we see bunnies hiding in the bushes next to the house and sneaking around in the garden and it always delights the children. I noticed long ago that children, my own included, like to play make-believe games with a mama and baby theme. With the imagination of a child, these toy rabbits will start to talk, the mama will remind the baby bunnies not to forget their carrot snacks for school, and she will tuck them into bed at night and maybe even read them their favorite bedtime story, the Tale of Peter Rabbit.
Wool cream (body, head, tail, ears, feet), pink (inside ears, detail of nose and mouth) and black wool (eyes). Use a coarse wool like Shetland.
Felting needle handles (for more productive felting)
Sponge (work surface)
Doll needle (for sewing shapes together)
Sewing thread (binding base shapes and sewing shapes together)
Embroidery needle (for adding a nose)
Pink embroidery thread (nose)
Poly fiberfill or core wool (used to form base shapes)
Body: oval; 5.5″ long x 10.5″ dia. at the largest point
Head: oval; 2.5″ long x 4.5″ dia.
Feet: oval; 2″ long x 3″ dia.
Upper lip: sphere; 2″ x 2″
Cheeks: sphere; 4″ x 4″
Nose: flat oval; 1″
Forehead: flat oval; 1.5″
Ears: long, flat ovals; 3″
Tail: tuft of wool; 2″ long
The rabbits are formed by combining several different shapes together. The mama rabbit’s head contains the most shapes, while the baby rabbits are made with only one oval for the head and two long ovals for the ears. The mama rabbit head can also be made simply if preferred.
I recommend the use of needle handles; it makes felting more fun! I learned to felt with one needle, but felting is a time-consuming craft, so why not felt more productively by using handles that hold three, four, ten, or even twenty needles! One felting needle alone is good for adding details, like eyes or attaching small pieces together on a face (for example attaching a nose to a face.)
I’ve included my hand in many of the instruction photos as a visual aide, so the scale of the piece is easier to understand.
Remember, rabbits come in all colors, so be creative in your wool color choices.
Mama Bunny and Three Babies
For the Body
Use a large handful of poly fiberfill or core wool for the rabbit body.
Bind the oval base body shape with sewing thread. The back (hindquarters) of the rabbit’s body should be larger than the front.
Cover the oval body shape with cream wool and needle felt until smooth and firm.
For the Head
Repeat steps 1-3, but make the head oval much smaller than the body oval. Make sure the head is proportional to the body.
For the Upper Lip
Form two small balls and felt until smooth and firm.
Below you can see the completed head and upper lip spheres.
NOTE: Form large shapes from poly fiber-fill or core wool, wrapped with sewing thread. Small shapes (for example the upper lip spheres) are easier to make by rolling wool into a ball and felting till firm; skip the binding with thread step for small shapes.
For the Face
Sew the upper lip spheres to the front of the rabbit’s head. Cover the spheres with a thin layer of wool (felt until smooth) to seamlessly blend the upper lip shapes into the head shape. To form the jaw, roll a small oval shape and felt it under the upper lip.
For the Nose
Take a small piece of wool and fold it into an oval shape, leave one end of the oval “raw” or unfelted so it is easier to felt it to the head. Felt until smooth. For baby rabbits, embroider a pink V shape for the nose.
Felt the nose piece onto the head, above the upper lip spheres.
For the Cheeks
Form two spheres for the cheeks (larger than the spheres for the upper lip.)
Felt the cheeks to the back of the rabbit face. Cover the cheeks with a thin layer of wool to seamlessly blend them into the head.
For the Forehead
Form an oval with one end unfelted (the forehead shape is similar to the nose shape, but larger) for the forehead.
Felt the forehead flap to the top of the head.
Cover the forehead piece with a thin layer of wool to seamlessly blend the forehead to the head.
For the Ears
Fold a small piece of wool lengthwise several times, then fold in half. Felt until firm. Felt the top until pointy, leaving the bottom of ears unfelted. Make two shapes like this.
Fold one side of each ear at the bottom and felt until the fold stays. Place the ears, folded sides facing together, at the top of the head.
With a needle and thread, sew and then felt the ears to the top of the head.
Details for the Head
Felt pink inside the ears and on the nose. Felt small black eyes into the sides of the head.
For the Tail
Fold a short piece of wool in two, at the fold, felt it into the bunny bum. Trim with scissors to make a “powder puff” tail.
For the Feet
Fold wool to form a pair of ovals, leaving one end unfelted. Felt the feet to the front of the bunny. Felt the unfelted part of the feet, under the body.
Sew the finished head onto the body and felt around the head to secure it.
To make the baby bunnies, make the bunny as above but omit the extra pieces for the face, using only a single oval and the ears.
Enjoy welcoming this sweet new bunny family to your home in honor of spring!
Lauralee Burch is an artist and mother of three girls. She makes handmade needlefelted and sewn toys and dolls. An important quality in every item she makes is how it feels. She uses natural, healthy materials such as cotton and wool, and makes items that children will delight in holding. For her, handmade toys are like touchable pieces of art. They are contemporary heirlooms that will (she hopes!) be passed on to siblings, relatives and friends. Like classic fairy tales, her toys are meant to delight both young and old. You can find Lauralee either at her space, or on Facebook.