Felt Masks

Term: 2 Year: 2006

Felt Masks 4
Felt Masks 3
Felt Masks 2
Felt Masks 1
Felt Masks 5

Session 1

  • The unit of work began with a discussion about the history of felt making. 
  • Using the book, “How to Make Felt” by Anne Belgrave, we looked at the pictures of how felt is used
    in Central Asia to give students an idea of the importance felt played in the lives of Nomads. We also discussed
    how felt is used today.
  • Students were given individual copies of pictures and information, which was pasted into their Art Journals

Session 2

  • In an experimental piece, each child learnt how the felting process worked. 
  • On top of an A3 piece of shade cloth, the students placed 3 fine layers of wool tops. Each layer runs 90 degrees
    to the other.
  • They experimented with other wools and threads, placing these on as a final layer.
  • A piece of netting was placed on top to hold the pre felt in place and warm soapy water was applied. The
    students then gently rubbed the wool tops in a circular motion, this helps to bind the fibres together. The students
    checked how they were going by lifting the netting a little. When the fibres were bound together really well,
    the netting was lifted and a piece of sheeting was placed underneath the shade cloth and pre felt. The whole
    lot was rolled up and excess water and suds squeezed out into a bucket.
  • The students then had whacked their rolled up piece on the table. This assists with the shrinking process. They
    unrolled their pre felt, turned it 90 degrees and rolled their work and took the felt, rolled it into a ball
    and threw it on the table, again assisting with the shrinking process.
  • The piece of felt was rinsed and left to dry.
  • We looked at their felt and discussed the results – why some were thinner than others, why some of the
    threads on the final layer were able to bind with the wool tops and others didn’t and so.

I usually have 1 hour lessons but arranged 2 hours for this felting session. I was very glad I did! The students
were particularly enthusiastic and I found many of the boys produced excellent results.

Session 3

Animal and horror masks were the chosen topics.  Horror masks really inspired the boys!!!

  • Photos of felt masks made at a workshop and books on animals were used to assist students in the design of their
  • In their Art Journals, students sketched their mask and used colour to indicate the colour wool tops they would
    like to use.  They listed materials required to decorate their felt mask.

Session 4

  • Another 2 hour lesson was required. Steps as for Session 2 were followed. 
  • Students used extra wool tops, threads and fibres that would bind into their felt as a final layer to enhance
    their mask.
  • When their piece of felt was made, it was dipped into a solution of PVA and water(50/50) and placed over a face
    mould (I used cardboard moulds covered in Gladwrap).
  • They then continued to pain their mask with this solution of another layer or two.
  • During the following day I continued to give each mask another 2 coats of PVA and water to make sure they would
    be nice and firm.

Session 5

  • Students were provided with a vast array of materials to complete the final decorations on their mask. This
    took most of the students a couple of weeks.

Materials: Wool tops, shade cloth, netting, warm soapy water, velvet soap for extra lather if needed,
sheeting, face mould, 50/50 solution PVA & water, wool, threads a& fibres, feathers, pom poms, pipe cleaners,
wire, wire mesh, springs, material, beads, sequins and whatever else you can come up with. 


Balnarring Primary School