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This is a step by step tutorial on how to create a needle felted animal mask. Each step contains photographs and specific details that a student would need to know to successfully complete the project.
I usually give this assignment as the final unit assignment on needle felting. Previously students would have created small one inch needle felted animals and a small sculpture to gain experience with the craft.
Needle felting is a fun and relaxing craft activity! It involves a barbed needle that tangles roving wool. As the wool is tangled, it becomes firmer. In my course, we use needle felting to create sculptural works. Many of my students find it quite meditative once they get into a groove. It's also very easy to pick up! Some of my students with no prior art background got really into it!
This file contains the following:
- Step by step with instructions with photos on how to create an animal mask (the instructions shows the creation of a fox mask).
- Safety reminders and tips/tricks for needle felting.
- A sample project with rubrics (so you can see what I did with it).
As I teach in Ontario, the rubrics are modeled after the Ontario visual arts curriculum.
Although I have taught needle felting to senior high school students, it is a suitable activity for younger grades as well. I selected four days for this sculptural project, but the length of time will be largely dictated by the complexity of the project.
Needle felting can get expensive, so I try to substitute materials when possible:
- Instead of buying a class set of needle felting pads, I use kitchen sponges.
- Armature materials can vary depending on the project itself. I used cardboard because it's free and readily available. However you can use pre-made plastic or plaster masks.
- Another alternative to cardboard are sponges! If you have access to a lot of sponges, you can simply create a mask out of it in place of the cardboard. This will allow you to skip a step. I like the cardboard step however as that extra step allows my students to really think about what they're working on.
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