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Lesson Plans

plaster mask...long version

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Bunki Kramer (
Wed, 8 Apr 1998 22:03:24 -0700

I'm a real lover of this project.....not so much for the fact of creating a
mask piece, but because it's an ample opportunity to learn about human
nature and teach trust among peers. There is so much more to learn here.
Although I understand the use of a generic plastic mold to speed things
along, I would rather my students make individual mask reproductions of
their individual faces so they do take on diff. shapes. We're obviously all
not the same in facial features, thank goodness.

We start with 2 videos and several reproductions, discussing various types
and ornaments. I also have a mask display that remains yr.-round in the
artroom of bought masks and some children samples.

I have made templates out of tagboard the same size as the finished mask
face and the kids use these to outline and then "design" their mask they
will be making on a piece of white drawing paper coloring with Berol color
pencils. These will later be displayed alongside their finished masks.

I have soda boxes (from the food ladies) and kids turn them upside down,
make a wad of newspaper (one full sheet) in the shape of an face-sized oval
and taped to the box. We spritz water on this and add a full sheet of syran
(sp.?) over the top and taped around the sides. Now we have a working area
for our mask.

I tape a piece of paper to blackboard and for a week time period, they may
sign up with two other people in the class to become a team of 3. A warning
is given to remind them to "not pick your best friend, but rather someone
you can trust".
Once teams are formed, I give TWO demonstrations. First day is a mask on a
student covering the eyes while I "talk" them through the demo and second
day I do one on student with eyes opened and they "talk" ME through it.
First time I tried it with 2 demos, I thought it might get boring for them.
Trust me...1/2 of them don't get it the first time around. They are
responsible to see that their "partner" is listening as they will be the
victim otherwise.

(We use vasoline but my kids rather like to use makes their faces
so soft. I do have a generic plastic face in the room if anyone wants to
use it but I haven't had a "taker" on it yet within the last 7 yrs.)

I also demo that after the mask is in place, one person must stay with the
model and must touch them continuously (like hand on knee, arm, sholder,
body against leg, etc) so the "blinded" model will feel more comfortable
and the second person can clean up.

Strips are precut for each mask by me. Each student gets a small plastic
bag with ....five 5" strips (folded and goes around the entire outside of
the face) 5x1" strip (to go down the nose)
....28 - 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 squares (to fill in rest of face)
(these strips are put on in this order also)

I cut extras for larger faces or accidents.

Team of is model
(rotates) is dipper (and stays with model throughout) is applier (and cleans up the table)

Masks stay on face for 10-15 minutes...depends on the weather. Most of our
mask time is due to working up face with celluclay additions. They may NOT
retain the oval shape of the face...they must change it by additions. They
are then covered with small torn pieces of paper toweling and liquid
starch. Then gessoed. We use tempera and I spray varnish for protection.
Embellishments are added with glue gun and white glue.

This last mask unit, I had them do the inside of the mask also so they
could be hung up with thread and it would spin slowly and you would see two
diff. faces with one mask. The inside and the outside had to be diff.

I purchase plaster gauze through a hospital supply buyer (a woman who is
the purchaser for a large hospital in our town). I can get it for $5.80/box
instead of buying it at a hospital supply store for $35-$40 a box. Check
around with your local hospital purchasers.

I've also been fortunate to have the principal come in to join us in our
maskmaking. He usually becomes a team member in the room and allows his
face to be covered in plaster. He also applies to his other members' faces.
I "pay him back" by finishing his mask for him personally. Two other
faculty members have also joined us at one time.

I can get 15-16 masks out of one box of 12 rolls of 1 1/2". I usually get 3
boxes and have some left over.

I do these masks with 7th-8th grade ART I students (semester class). I
personally think this unit is terrific and meaningful in so many ways.

Bunki Kramer
Los Cerros Middle School
968 Blemer Rd.
Danville, California 94526

  • Maybe reply: Charlotte Griswold: "Re: plaster mask...long version"
  • Maybe reply: Mcracker: "Re: plaster mask...long version"