Author Archive for Michelle Miller



03
Dec
15

The Haunted Mansion’s Hatbox Ghost

Run Red Run Needle Felted Hatbox Ghost

Welcome, Feltish Mortals <—ha! Fans of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion might recognize my latest felted ghoul. It’s the mysterious Hatbox Ghost, a long-rumored-but-rarely-seen denizen of the creepy old attic in that classic attraction.
Run Red Run Needle Felted Hatbox Ghost

The ghost recently returned to the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, and I wanted to celebrate by creating this tribute. This time I decided to go beyond the felted figure and build a cobwebbed attic corner for him to haunt as well.

Run Red Run Needle Felted Hatbox Ghost

There are more photos of the finished piece in my gallery, but if you’re interested in how I brought this happy haunt to the life (er…afterlife), I’ve posted a pretty comprehensive step-by-step below. It’s a pretty massive “ghost post” so settle into your doom buggy and let me guide you through my process.

I started with a wire armature to give the ghost stability and make him posable. As the wire was covered with core wool he started taking shape — like some kind of weird monster or a Picasso.

Run Red Run Needle Felted Hatbox Ghost WIP

I slid the Haunted Mansion Story & Song CD into the player to set the mood, and began adding the blue wool for his skin and clothes.

Run Red Run Needle Felted Hatbox Ghost WIP

To get the colors I wanted for this I had to order a wool that I don’t normally use and it was a little tougher to work with.  It took longer to felt and ended up a little fuzzier than I like, but the colors were perfect for a felted ghost.

Run Red Run Needle Felted Hatbox Ghost WIP

I got most of the body done before starting on his creepy face.

Run Red Run Needle Felted Hatbox Ghost WIP

The ghost, his hatbox and top hat. Some parts and pieces coming together.

Run Red Run Needle Felted Hatbox Ghost WIP

As I mentioned earlier, I wanted an environment for the ghost to haunt, so I asked some friends to help me put together the attic set. I wasn’t aiming for an exact duplicate of the Haunted Mansion attic, just something that evoked that same feeling of creepy clutter.

Run Red Run Needle Felted Hatbox Ghost WIP Attic

A friend (who, unlike me, knows what he’s doing with woodworking tools) cut strips of wood to replicate the look of vintage roof lattice. Then we stained the wood (three different colors to add depth) and glued it all together.

Run Red Run Needle Felted Hatbox Ghost WIP Attic

We also collected and built props to create the perfect haunt. Papier-mache boxes were bought and fashioned into hat boxes and a suitcase. We painted them and used craft foam to give the suitcase some old-timey straps and a handle.

Run Red Run Needle Felted Hatbox Ghost Props

We also rummaged through craft store shelves to find tiny antique-looking frames. I found some images of the actual portraits that collect dust in the Haunted Mansion’s attic, printed them to size, and slipped them into the frames. A few trunks (one with a Barbie wedding dress hanging out) and curious objects (like that rusty birdcage) festooned with some leftover Halloween cobwebs and the attic scene is done. Check my gallery for more photos of the finished piece.

Run Red Run Needle Felted Hatbox Ghost Attic

I love the Haunted Mansion ride, and the story behind this grim, grinning ghost fascinates me, so this project was so much fun to felt!  I’m really glad he’s reclaimed his space in the ride at Disneyland. I’d love to see him in person. They say they always have room for one more soul at the Mansion. I should make my final arrangements for that trip soon. I hear the ghosts are dying to have me…

Run Red Run Needle Felted Hatbox Ghost

 

01
Nov
15

Dracula And His Sons! (Blah Blah Blah)

Run Red Run Needle Felting Class

We had a fangtastic time in the Halloween Needle Felting class making these little bloodsuckers! A small class, but that gave me more one-on-one time with the students. There were some old friends back for more as well as some new students trying it out for the first time. As usual, we laughed, we learned, we poked our fingers with needles, and we felted some fun vampires….a great way to celebrate the holiday. My next class at Sweetwater will be in March, and I’ll post the details when I have them.

Run Red Run Needle Felting Class

27
Sep
15

Needle Felting Workshop!

VampireFelts 

Hands down, autumn is my favorite time of year. The smell of leaves, pumpkin spice everything, and Halloween, my favorite holiday! Plus, an upcoming Needle Felting workshop at Sweetwater Center for the Arts!

Keeping Halloween in mind (and my fondness for mysteries and monsters), we are going to felt up some cute and spooky vampires!

Join me Wednesday, October 28, 2015 form 6:30 to 9:30 PM and learn basic needle felting techniques. Space is limited, so sign up now at the Sweetwater website here.

 

 

20
Jul
15

Pepino and the Peps!

Run Red Run Needle Felted Christmas Mouse

This was a fun (and daunting) commission. The client had a vintage Christmas ornament that was a cherished heirloom in her family. She had no way of deciding which of her four adult children would get the ornament, so she came up with a unique solution: having me recreate the figure, Pepino the Christmas Mouse, four times. (only 3 shown in photo alongside the original).

It was fun, but as each of the felties is a unique, hand-crafted item, it was a challenge to try to match the original as closely as possible four separate times. Another hurdle was finding a company that supplied wool in the colors I needed to match the original Pepino. There are a lot of reds in the world, and finding just the right one was a bit of trial and error. And, as you can see, the green of the original Pepino (and even the pink inside the ears) faded to grey over time, so the client and I agreed it would be nice to bring those parts back to their original, festive colors.

Run Red Run Needle Felted Christmas Mouse

In the end, the client was very happy with the outcome. No word yet on how her brilliant solution went over with her children. I like to keep in mind that my client commissioned me to recreate four Pepinos and worked with me over a period of months to nail down all the exacting details — and that kind of effort and care seems like something I’d cherish even more than the original store-bought item. I hope the kids agree!

For a little backstory on Pepino: The client named the mouse after a song by Lou Monte, Pepino the Italian Mouse.

11
Jun
15

Mike and Mindy Commission

Run Red Run Needle Felted Mike and MindyJon Esparza, creator of the webcomics Mike and Mindy, Bubble Fox, and Peppertown, commissioned me to sculpt his characters, Mike and Mindy, in glorious 3-D form.  These two have a lot of fun together and get into some crazy situations. You can laugh along with Mike and Mindy and all of Jon’s comics over at jonscrazystuff.blogspot.com, read a few of his comics below, and see more shots of these wacky kids in the gallery.

Jon EsparzaJon EsparzaIt was great working with Jon. He tells me he’s thrilled to see his characters in 3-D. These 8-inch Mike and Mindy figures represent the third time I’ve been commissioned to recreate comic characters (Bigfoot and Scout from Untold Tales of Bigfoot and Lope from The Graveyard Gang being the other two).

Run Red Run Needle Felted Mike and Mindy

Mike and Mindy going home

 

05
Jun
15

A “Beary” Fun Class!

 

Run Red Run Needle Felted Bear

I taught another needle felting class at Sweetwater Center for the Arts this month. Like last time, we went over basic needle felting techniques. But this time, instead of an owl, the class made a bear.

The students did a wonderful job sculpting the wool into cute little bears. The class was filled with mostly first-timers (and one repeat student) and I love how they each added their unique spin on the project.

I hope to teach another class in the near future. As soon as I know all the details, I’ll post them here.

Run Red Run Needle Felted Bear Class

 

Run Red Run Needle Felted Bear Class

 

 

 

25
Apr
15

Upcoming Needle Felting Class

That’s right! For those of you who couldn’t make the first workshop (or if you took the first workshop and want more exposure), there’s a second workshop at Sweetwater Arts Center on Friday, May 29th at 6:30PM. We’ll be making a bear, more cartoony than realistic, entirely out of wool!  You can check out Sweetwater at http://www.sweetwaterartcenter.org for registration details. Hope to see you there!

 

 




LEARN TO NEEDLE FELT!

CLICK HERE to contact me for details about needle felting classes for groups and individuals!

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