Introduction: Yarn Suspended Sculpture : Silhouette

"What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others." - Pericles

I try and express through art what I can't do it justice through words, and with so many Covid time capsule worksheets going around for the kids to fill out, I wanted to freeze their silhouette and represent the experience of our family, school and community working together.

We made one out of each of our kids and hung them all together in the playroom.


For the Face Mold:

  • Plaster bandage
  • Vaseline
  • Water
  • 3 Bowls
  • Wide headband
  • Someone willing to be molded

For the Sculpture:

  • Yarn
  • Mod Podge
  • Chopsticks
  • Bowl
  • Water
  • Something to lean the mask against while drying
  • Polyurethane Spray Sealant
  • Cutting knife
  • Tweezers

For Mounting:

  • Yarn
  • Frame
  • Super glue
  • Hot glue gun
  • 12 gauge Galvanized Wire

Step 1: Create the Bandage Plaster Mold

  1. To prep for making the face mold, cut 1" x 1" squares and 2" x 1" rectangles into separate bowls and place water in a third bowl.
  2. Cover the ears and hair with a large headband and rub a fair amount of vaseline on the face especially the hair line and eyebrows. Have your model lie on a surface face up.
  3. Place the bandage pieces one by one by dipping it in the water first, and then smoothing out the plaster with your finger once its on the face. Repeat until the whole face is covered with various layers of plaster bandage.
  4. Check that there are no weak spots left by pressing the areas lightly as they dry.

I left the eyes, mouth and nose open because my models were kids and I didn't want them to accidentally eat or have plaster in their eyes; but you can easily cover these as well if you like.

I found a tutorial dedicated to this specific step on Instructables by Lusm (except skip step 4 since we don't need the outside surface)

Step 2: Place the Yarn in the Mold

  1. First prep the inside of the mold by rubbing it with vaseline so that the Mod Podge doesn't stick.
  2. In a bowl, mix 3/4 part Mod Podge and 1/4 part water. Dip about 1 yard of yarn and stir soak it in well. Take it out with the chop sticks and let it drip a little into the bowl and then plop it into your mold. Press it down and open up the yarn to accommodate well to the face imprint. Repeat this until the whole mask is covered and make sure your yarn pieces overlap each other at various points to strengthen the sculpture.

Since I didn't cover the eyes, mouth and nose, I just let the yarn droop in those openings to form eyeballs and lips.

Prop the mold on something so that the excess Mod Podge drips out of the sculpture and dries evenly. This is important or you will end up with blobs of Mod Podge in the center of the face. I placed it on a small clay pot on an angle.

Step 3: Remove Imperfections

Once it is completely dry, remove the sculpture carefully from the mold. It's going to be a little bit flexible, that is ok, you can always put it back into the mold and press down to reform as long as it wasn't completely bent out of shape.

With a cutting knife and tweezers, remove any imperfections of Mod Podge and fuzz. *this is where I wished I used a less fuzzier yarn * but patience payed off and the process turned out to be quite de-stressing.

Place it back in the mold when you are done and press down to make sure it is set in properly inside.

Step 4: Spray Polyurethane Sealant

While in the mold, spray the sealant onto the yarn. Give it a good 3 coats and let dry between each coat. When you finish, your yarn silhouette should be stiffer and keep its shape.

Step 5: Mount to the Frame

  1. Bend the wire into an oval that is about 1" less than the sculptures edge. Have the wire come down to the center and back at a 90 degree angle and leave 10" of straight wire. Place it on the sculpture inside the mold and adjust the circle so that most of it touches the sculpture. My oval had to be bent down on one side to nest properly into it.
  2. Wrap yarn around the wire.
  3. Glue the yarn wrapped wire on the sculpture first with crazy glue, then with hot glue
  4. Puncture a hole on the frame and pass the straight part of the wire through it until your sculpture is at your desired height on the frame.
  5. Fold the back of the wire into a circle on the top side of the frame and hot glue it.

Step 6: Display

Yarn Speed Challenge

Participated in the
Yarn Speed Challenge