There are a lot of hands-on, do-it-yourself people in the motorcycle community. If you’re the type of person who enjoys both sport bikes and handicrafts, then you may already be familiar with Yamaha Motors’ detailed handicraft project series—and particularly, the R1M projects.
In April, 2021, Yamaha came out of the gate strong with its needle-felted R1M face mask pattern. Later that same year, Team Blue moved on to the noble needlecraft of knitting, with a very cool R1M muffler that you can wrap around your neck when you get cold. As a bonus, the R1M muffler pattern even comes with a zippered pouch inside the collector, so you could easily stash small items inside—such as your felted R1M face mask!
Fast-forward to November, 2022, and Yamaha just made its R1M handicraft collection a trilogy. This time, it’s back to needle-felting, and the project is a 1:1-scale R1M front brake caliper that can also be used as a smartphone holder. (We’d imagine it would work pretty well for other, similarly-sized items you may want to hold on your desk or table, as well.)
Gallery: Yamaha R1M Needle Felted Brake Caliper Project
If you haven’t looked at a set of Yamaha’s handicraft instructions before, they’re both very visual and also very detailed. Clear photos, written instructions, and videos for each step are on Yamaha’s YouTube channel to show you the way. There are also handy templates that you can print out to aid in your completion of the project.
For those unfamiliar with needle felting, it’s a craft that usually involves wool, which you stab repeatedly with special needles in order to cause it to bind together into an object of varying degrees of solidity. Stab it a lot, and it will become very solid. Stab it less than that, and you can achieve different degrees of firmness to suit your project. (If you’ve ever accidentally put a wool sweater through the wash and had it shrink and stiffen, you may have accidentally felted your first object before even trying to control the process as a project.)
Yamaha’s instructions are written so that even beginners can follow them pretty easily. You’ll still need to get supplies for yourself—and you’ll definitely want a thick piece of foam to stab your wool into while you’re working.
Felting needles are quite sharp, and can also break easily if you twist them or pull them out of the foam at an angle, so you may want to plan and practice accordingly until you get the hang of it. Usually, they’re sold in amounts that are greater than one, so you’ll probably have at least a backup or two around if you end up breaking one. Just be sure to collect the broken piece and dispose of it properly, because you definitely don’t want anyone stepping on it later.
If you’re an absolute beginner, you may also want to get yourself a couple of needle felting thimbles, which are usually made of leather. One goes on the thumb and one goes on the forefinger of your non-dominant hand, since that’s usually the one you’ll use to hold the wool on the foam as you stab it with the felting needle. These will (hopefully) prevent you from accidentally jabbing yourself with the very pointy felting needle—at least, until you get the hang of the action. After that, it’s up to your preference if you want to continue using them, but I’d definitely recommend starting out with them if you can.
As I write this, it’s already December 7, 2022—so, depending on what kind of time you have available, you could theoretically get this project done for the holidays. If you have someone on your list that’s difficult to find a gift for, we can just about guarantee that they won’t be expecting this! Happy felting, and Yamaha, if you’re reading this, please never stop making motorcycle-related craft patterns that make us happy in our hearts.