Needle Felted Halloween Masks

Needle felted cow mask

 Animals are often the subject matter of the art that I make. I have a definite affinity for barnyard animals because they were like playmates of mine growing up in Greenfield, Indiana. I played with the horses and cows specifically, we didn’t really have any “next door” neighbors, but we did have cows and horses next door. Our house sat on a hill in the middle of a cow pasture, my parents actually bought the land from a cattle farmer and built the house right in the middle of one of his fields.  My brother and sister and I learned many life lessons living in the middle of a Pasteur. When we saw the cows “doing it” out the kitchen window, my mom would tell us they were fighting or dancing and then shoo us away from the window. My sister leaned to lick her nose with her tongue like the cows next door and I saw my first “hoo-ha” proudly displayed on the little pony in the field next to our house and I was extremely surprised how small a real boy’s “hoo-ha” was compared to that horse!  

moo

 I saw “my” cows every morning and evening as the school bus drove us noisy farm kids through the countryside, back and forth to school. My grandpa Perkinson raised Charlette cattle on our farm outside Madison, Indiana. My brother, sister and I often accompanied my grandpa to cattle auctions and were privy to many conversations about “cow matters” between my grandpa and the other cattle farmers.

old photo of my grandfather's cows

My favorite bovine memory was one, snowy, winter morning as we were watching for the school bus out of our frosty living room window and a cow (from the field next door) walked up to the window and pushed his big pink nose against the glass to look in at us. ” The cow  is looking in the window at us!” I yelled at my mother. She didn’t really believe what I was saying till she came into the living room and saw our big white neighbor staring in. The snow had drifted so high the night before that the cows were able to walk “over” the fence and into our yard. The whole herd was in our front yard using our fir trees and shrubs to scratch their bellies. The farmer had to replace all of our trees and shrubs.   

Needle felted Horse mask

 I used to groom and ride the horse next door, which is no small feat since the horse was wild. I rode her bareback around the field until she decided that I should get off! As I was riding her through the field, I knew I had overstayed my welcome when she came to a screeching halt and refused to move any more, I dismounted and she trotted away.   

My friend Suger, I'm 9 years old

 I remember trying to get on the horse, jumping off the fence, missing her back and landing on the other side of her. Some of my best childhood memories are of myself and that horse. In a needle felting frenzy, I needle felted barnyard animal masks for Halloween for the last six days straight, the whole time remembering my childhood and the (mostly) four legged friends that I shared it with. I had pet ducks growing up (two legged friends) but I found a bird mask is weird looking with the eyes in the front. I lined all the masks with cotton gingham so they’re not scratchy when you put them on. I think my family and I will go as farm animals this year for Halloween! More masks to come…..

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6 thoughts on “Needle Felted Halloween Masks”

  1. I have a ridiculous question…I am VERY new to needle felting and was wondering how long it should be taking for me to felt a small ball about 1 inch in diameter. I am using a single needle and feel like I might be doing something wrong because it is taking a really long time. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

  2. Hi Becky,
    Oh that’s not such a silly question! If you take a “fluff” of wool (not packed together at all) and try to felt this with one needle it could take 20 minutes or so to get a 1″ dia. ball. I have a little different approach (time saving). I would bind together the wool in a ball shape with sewing thread. I wrap the thread around the wool till it’s firm. If I want a larger ball, I cover the first ball with another layer of wool and wrap it with thread again till it’s firm. When the ball is the size I want, I wrap one more layer around the ball and needle felt it. This technique should take 5 to 10 minutes. If you are needle felting with a fine (small) needle, it may also take much longer. Medium needles are my favorite, they felt wool much faster and you can “see” the progress. See my tutorial (in the right side bar): Needle felting a Halloween Jack-o-lantern for photos showing the wraping of the wool with thread. http://www.lauraleeburch.com/blog/2010/10/needle-felted-jack-o-lantern-tutorial/ . Good luck, let me know if this helps.
    Sincerely,
    Laura

  3. THANKS! I’m going to need some more tools, that’s for sure:) I’ll try your method this evening. I’m trying to make a river fairy play set for my daughter for Christmas and there was just no way I was going to get it finished at the rate I was going!

  4. Hi there, I am also rather new to this and wonder what “acrilon” is? tried to google it and your site came up!

    What can I use as core wool or acrilon? I’m looking for something that I can later pull out again (like you do with the pumpkins)

    thanks
    Rem

  5. Hi,
    Acrilon is poly fiber-fill or stuffing; you can find it in small bags at your local craft store. Core wool is wool that is less expensive than the shetland, merino, corringdale (felting wools), it is also used to stuff toys, pillow, dolls etc. You can use either one in a needle felting project where you want to pull out the core or center of the project later. Good luck and have fun felting!
    Laura

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