What is The Google Doodle Today and How is it Made?
The Google Doodle Today Celebrates Mother's Day, But What Is It?
The heartwarming Google Doodle today shows two hands, the hands of a mother and child. Together they connect, they learn, they wash, and they plant. It is very endearing, but how was the Doodle made? These hands are needle felted wool. We do not know who the artist of the Doodle is, but we applaud their very touching work and fine craftsmanship.
Needle felting is the craft of creating handmade felt from sheep's wool. The process uses wool from sheep that has often been carded into wool batts or combed into a sliver or top (think of a long strand of yarn if you untwisted it and made it straight).
Crafters use tiny needles, called felting needles which have one way barbs on the tips. Wool fibers also have one way barbs on them. When the needles are poked into the wool, they cause the fibers to entangle and mat together, creating felt. The fibers will stay locked together because the barbs on the wool only go one direction, just like zip ties you get from the hardware store. If you have ever shrunken a woolen sweater by putting it in the washing machine, you now know why you could not stretch it back to its original size!
Needle felting can create 2D picture or 3D shapes like the hands in the Google Doodle today. We were thrilled to see the craft of needle felting featured on the Google Doodle today. It is especially fun to see it featured on Mother's Day, because felting is such a fun craft to share with your family. Children as young as 6 can needle felt with adult supervision, but wet felting is safer for the very young ones because it does not require sharp needles.
Wet felting a fabric that can be cut into a shape is a really fun way to explore wet felting with small children. Check out our links below for video tutorials and explore the pictures to choose your first felting project.
The process of needle felting was created by industry as a way to create handmade felt without the use of water and intensive labor. Felt is the oldest known textile. You might think of felt as the stuff you buy in the craft store, and while that is called "felt", it is often made of acrylics, polyester and even plastics. Felt is traditionally made with sheep's wool through a process of layering the fibers, compressing them, and agitating them to cause them to entangle and mat together, creating felt.
The felting needle was designed my industry to create large sheets of felt through a punching process. David and Eleanor Stanwood began experimenting with single felting needles in the 1980's to sculpt basic shapes from wool. They shared it with a friend, who shared it with a friend, who...well, you get the idea. We know this because Living Felt founder, Marie Spaulding asked a small group North American feltmakers in the early 2000's about the beginnings of needle felting. It was still relatively new at that time, and groups about felting or needle felting were few and far between. That is why seeing today's Google Doodle gives us such a thrill.
Free Resources and Beginner Needle Felting Kits
If you would like to more about the craft needle felting, and would like to try making your own ideas out of wool, check out these free resources.
Living Felt has a ton of free videos you can explore on how to needle felt. Most are designed teach absolute beginners how to needle felt.
- You can also download a free guide on the basic tools needed to get started needle felting:
- Check out this video that also explains the basic tools for needle felting
- Browse our selection of beginner needle felting kits here
If the doll hands in the Google Doodle inspired you, check out our detailed free video tutorials on needle felting a doll.
- The kit for needle felting dolls like those shown in the free class are here