Tap Dancing Sheep! Felted sheep!

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February 4, 2020 by kittynh

I am known as the “Gnome Lady” from the abundance of felted gnomes I make each year for the Cheshire County Historical Society Museum Shop.

However, it was suggested to me by the fabulous Harrisville Design Centershop that I try making some sheep.  That would “stand up”.  I buy almost all the wool I use from Harrisville Design so I was “I could try making a sheep!”.


Why just gnomes? Trying the sheep suggestion.

The first attempts were sheep, and lovely, but they didn’t STAND up.  They could stand, but they were very delicate and even a light breeze could knock them off a table. Also my husband thought they looked like pigs.  I then went to the exciting world of online crafting ideas, and found sheep on nails.


Early attempts, which are FINE, and the nail sheep feet

That is sheep with nails for the legs and feet.  Most seemed to use finishing nails for floors.  Those are fine but a bit too big for what I wanted to create.  I visited a favorite “junk” store and found nails galore at very good prices.  I now have a bag full of nails of all sized, and after much trial and error found I liked these small size nails.  I could make big sheep or little sheep, and the sheep could stand fairly well.

The problem is that I glue the feet in place the day before I finish up the sheep.  I want the nails to be in place and dry before I begin felting.  What seems to happen is I can get three of the nails to sit nicely and one is always wonky.


Headless sheep, do the feet the day before so the glue can dry

This makes for a sheep that is sturdy and has enough heft that it will stay in place, but mine also seem to tap dance.  The nails just tap around a bit as my sheep stand on three legs, not four. The extra leg is just for tap dancing.

Directions are very easy. Make a basic body and poke in some holes for the nails.  Then put them in place and glue.  I also often glue extra wool around the nails to help they stay in place.


Then it is add a head and throw on whatever wool you want for a coat.  I’ve added some flowers to some sheep, bells to others, wreaths for a very rustic look.  No two sheep are ever the same as I’m incapable of making two of the same. (this is why most shops that sell crafted items would never take my work.  It’s all different and selling items is easier if they are the same).


However, much like gnomes, these sheep are easy to do, and seem to sell well.  For my needs, which is donation, they are perfect.  Also they tap dance.


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