Oh deery my indeed! This little woodland creature couldn’t get any cuter. And this blog post couldn’t come any later. We are in solid birthday mode around here and this post features what I created for LAST year’s birthday party. I’m not ashamed. Besides I think these adorable masks were worth the wait.
The theme for the Missus’ birthday was “Woodland Animals” (this year she continues the animal theme only this year it is “party animals”…you can see the difference). We had planned to take the kids to the park to play, drink apple cider and have cake. The weather thought that was a bad idea and so we transformed our living room into…a living room that now allowed woodland animals to play in it.
Instead of sending our creature friends home with bags of candy, I embroidered and sewed these adorable felt masks to give to each guest. The fox is my favourite. When I finished the first fox mask I had the most incredible crafter high! We kept the animals local and added some skunks, bears, owls, deer and a chipmunk to the mix.
It all started with this prototype. The bear. I based it on this paper mask that I bought at Michael’s.
I simply traced the outline onto some freezer paper, ironed that onto some felt and away we went. Oh, and I altered the shape of the eyes from oval to round. Don’t do that. The result is still cute (see below) but….
But the kids…they can’t see that well when they are like that.
Fun to wear but hard to attack. So oval eye holes it was from then on…
So here is what you’re gonna need to make a cute creature yourself:
- A template. Get one like the one above or free hand your own. There are also many template available for free online (google “felt masks”…you’ll see).
- Heat n’ Bond. I purchased mine at Fabricland:
- Freezer Paper. I couldn’t find any in Canada at the time (although I’ve heard others have had luck). This may be one item I am willing to cross boarder shop for and I buy a few rolls at a time when I’m in the states.
- Sharp scissors
- A marker for tracing the pattern onto the freezer paper and heat n’ bond
- Some embroidery thread in a variety of colours (it is really up to you)
- 1/2 inch elastic
- Felt in various colours (grey, black and beige for the racoon)
- A sewing machine with a needle that can handle layers of felt
- Thread for sewing machine
- An iron and an ironing board
Now, let’s get started!
1. First make a template. I traced the bear mask onto a piece of paper with marker. Then I modified it free-hand to make the different animals. Below is the start of the racoon mask:
2. Now that you have your new mask design just the way you want it, it is time to get out your freezer paper. Lay it over your paper animal and trace. For a racoon you need to trace and cut out a few separate pieces: (1. and 2.) the outside shape of the mask (3.) the racoon mask (4.)the snout (5. and 6.) two triangle shapes for inside the ears and (7.) the nose.
3. Lay the two mask outlines onto a piece of felt with the shiny side of the freezer paper down. Use your iron to set them in place.4. With the freezer paper now “stuck” to the felt, cut out both pieces. Peel the freezer paper off the felt and set aside (you can reuse this several times for other masks). Set the felt aside as well.
5. Next lay the freezer paper cut outs for the racoon mask, the ear triangles and the nose on to the black felt, iron and cut them out. Peel the freezer paper off and set pieces aside.
6. Repeat the process with the snout piece and a beige scrap of felt.
7. Next take out your Heat N’ Bond. Lay it over your original paper design and trace out all of the same pieces that you did with the freezer paper. The Heat N’ Bond is similar to freezer paper in that it has a shiny side. Lay the shiny side down onto the corresponding piece of felt and iron. When you peel the Heat N’ Bond off you will see the shiny bit has transferred to the felt (sorry only good pic of this is from the fox mask in the making):
8. Now you can start ironing your pieces into place on one of the grey pieces of felt. I placed the racoon mask on first, shiny side down and ironed it in place. Then the snout, the nose and the ears. I placed the nose midway down the snout instead of up near the mask to give it a 3D effect.
9. Next I used my sewing machine to sew around the mask, the ears and the snout securing them in place. This is probably not necessary if you want to keep it simple. It will add to the longevity of the mask though.
9. I used black embroidery thread to outline and hold the nose in place (three layers would be too thick for most sewing machines). Then, using a running stitch, I embroidered a line from the nose to the chin. I think it adds a touch of whimsy to the masks.
10. Now, remember how I told you I did this project last year? Yes, well, that means I don’t have a picture of the next step. Sorry! It is pretty simple though…take your elastic and cut a length that is sized to fit your child’s head. Pin one end to the back of the mask on each side and sew into place:
11. Once you have the elastic in place, set the whole piece aside. Iron Heat N’ Bond onto the second grey piece of felt. Peel it off. Lay this piece of felt shiny side up on the ironing board. Lay the top piece of the mask with the elastic attached on top. Take care to ensure the elastic is not between the layers at all. Iron until the two pieces are fused together.
12. The last step is to sew around the entire outline of the mask and your done! Or if you’re like me, you’ve only just begun! It was super fun “inventing” each animal mask and adding details here and there.