Penguin playtime: How to make a felt rockhopper mask

Eastern rockhopper penguins might be declining in number, but they’re no less loved by  NZ Life & Leisure, NZ Lifestyle Block and thisNZlife. The cute characters are our top pick for Forest & Bird’s Bird of the Year competition: Te Manu Rongonui o Te Tau – and your kids can play along with this easy-to-make dress-up mask.

Words and photos: Rebecca Needham


Rockhopper Mask_template
Black, yellow and orange felt
Yellow and black thread
Sewing machine (or you could hand sew it, or use a hot glue gun – NB kids should be supervised using a hot glue gun)
Approximately 30cm elastic


STEP 1: Print out the template onto A4 paper, then cut out the individual pieces.

STEP 2: Lay the pieces on top of the felt and pin them in place.

STEP 3: Carefully cut around the paper, then remove it and the pins.

STEP 4: Lay the yellow and orange pieces of felt on top of the black piece and pin to secure.

STEP 5: Place the yellow thread in your sewing machine and set a straight stitch. Sew the yellow pieces of felt to the black base, about 3mm from the edge, then do the same for the orange beak.

STEP 6: Cut the elastic to a length that will fit around your child’s head. Pin it in place on the back of the mask, just below the yellow felt.

STEP 7: Change your sewing machine thread to black and sew the elastic in place, sewing back and forth a few times to ensure it’s secure.

More stories you might like:
Water Cooler: Battle for the birds, GLOW review, Waterview tunnel, Home Work exhibition


You can do your bit to help the endangered Rockhopper penguins by casting a vote for them in Forest & Bird’s Bird of the Year competition here (Voting runs from October 28- November 10 2019)

Forest and Bird

Bird of the Year is an annual competition run by Forest & Bird. New Zealanders are asked to vote for their favourite bird at Make a donation to help save New Zealand’s threatened and endangered birds here.

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