needle felted catkin tutorial

photo source
Salix discolor (aka: American Willow or catkin)

Note:  for the sake of this post I am going to refer to these branches at "catkins".  I can only imagine what kind of spam I would receive if I called them by their more common name! 

  I absolutely adore catkin branches but was getting a bit tired of the disappointment that I felt when the catkin's buds eventually fell off. :o(

 Enter needlefelting....!
I now have year round branches that look so realistic that most of the people that I have shown (or given them to, they make a perfect gift!) thought they were real!

Here's how to make some of your own...
First, head outside to your nearest cedar tree to pick up some fallen branches/sticks.  I find these look the closest to the willow and they have "bumps" to attach the catkins to.  They are usually fairly straight as well.

You will also need grey and brown roving, a needle felting needle (I used a 40 gauge fine), a foam mat to work on and a hot glue gun.

 To needlefelt a catkin pull of a small bit of grey roving and wrap it into a small cocoon shaped oval ball.

Place the ball on the foam and poke with the needle repeatedly until it firms up and doesn't come unraveled.  It helps to roll the ball around as you are poking it with the needle so that all sides are felted and the ball doesn't become stuck to the foam pad.  Occasionally roll the ball in your fingers to flatten down the fibres.

Shape it further by poking one end more and compressing the fibres until it is roughly egg shaped.

Then take a tiny wisp of brown roving and roll it between your fingers until it resembles a grain of rice.

 Place it on the rounder end and poke with the needle to attach to the grey catkin. (this only takes a few pokes)

 Make as many catkins as you have "bumps" on your branch in a variety of sizes. (1/2" - 3/4" in length)

 Glue the first catkin on the top of the branch as shown with a TINY drop of hot glue.

 Glue on the remaining catkins with the brown bit facing in towards the branch.

 Continue gluing catkins all the way down the branch.  I usually leave the last few bumps bare as they are not seen when placed in a vase.

These branches are perfect to add to a nature table or a small bouquet tied with a wide ribbon makes a cherished gift!  Please let me know if you try making some!
~ joey ~ 



  1. Joey...I am with you on this...I love pu~ oops, catkins :) This is very clever! I always want them to stick around longer than they do, and I appreciate you showed how long before they show up in my neighbourhood so I have some time to make them. Thanks!
    xo Jules

  2. You're so funny Jules! Don't you go making me any spam now! ;o)
    Once you get a rhythm going with the rolling of the catkins, they make up pretty quickly. I just keep popping them into a tin until it looks like I have enough to make up a few stems and then seeing some finished ones keeps me wanting to make more...and more! ;o)
    ~ joey ~

  3. Thanks joey for the neat tutorial ♥ Please stop by and leave a comment :)

  4. Good evening!

    My name is Anastasia, I am the author of the blog I love your creativity! =) Can I translate some of your needle felting tutorials into Russian and post on my blog with a link to your site or page in social networks?

    Thanks in advance.
    Sincerely, Anastasia.


I really enjoy reading your thoughts and ideas about the posts that I write here. It's nice to just say hi too!
~ joey ~