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On Sat, 17 Aug 1996 mamjam wrote:
> Charlotte Griswold asked:
> >>Mark, I want to know more about your masks. Did you stuff the paper
> >>bags with newspapers while you were working? Was the glue used instead
> >>of the cornstarch type glop that I have used...as the sole adhesive????
> >> How long did it take to dry?
> FULL HEAD MASKS:
> The masks we make from brown paper bags use white glue is the sole adhesive
> except for a couple pieces of masking tape to begin. It takes about 5
> sessions with 5th graders before they are ready to decorate. This is a
> rough outline of how we make them. If it is around Halloween, remind the
> students not to wear the full head masks near the street, as reduced
> visability may be a hazzard.
> 1. Use a strip of dry brown paper bag (about 1" wide , long enough to make
> a head band). Fold the bag strips ahead of time. With full strength white
> glue to attach the ends together, making sure it's not too a snug fit
> around the head above the eyebrows, like a hat band (two fingers should fit
> inside the band). Use masking tape to hold it until the glue dries, but
> remove it because tape left on the inside of the head band will be an
> irritant when worn.
> 2. Using more folded strips of dry brown bag (again about 1" wide with
> folded hems for strength) and white glue attach another band from above one
> ear, over the top of the head to above the other ear. Repeat, from the
> forehead to the back, diagonally both ways until you have a brown paper hat
> like a skull cap.
> 3. Use the same method as above to make a slightly LOOSE chin strap,
> forward of the ears. Now you have a base on which to build the full head
> 4. With tape and glue, foam core, milk cartons, etc, fashion an armature
> roughing out the desired mask shape, and attach it to the base. We used
> scissors and exacto knives, making the armature as close as possible to the
> finished shape. Geometry anyone? (The snout on my lion is made of foam
> core, while one student made an African looking mask with the bottom corner
> of a gallon plastic milk carton, another made an alien looking thing with
> mat board scraps and paper towel tubes.)
> 5. In about a liter of water in a bowl, add three to five tablespoons of
> white glue and mix it up. Dip torn strips of brown paper bags into the
> mixture, use two fingers to squeege excess mixture off, then apply the
> strips to the armature. Don't soak the strips. After dipping, try to make
> each strip as dry as possible. For structural strength criss cross the
> multiple layers as in paper mache. This is the step which takes the most
> time and patience. My 5th graders had a hard time smoothing the edges of
> each strip. To make slight ridges and bumps like eyebrows and cheek
> bulges, small wads of paper towels were applied and covered with brown
> paper strips. The students and I used fiber oatmeal cans (covered with wax
> paper to prevent serious sticking) as kind of a hat stand for working and
> drying, but some of those styrofoam wig stands would be ideal.
> 6. Try the damp mask on the artist's real head frequently, because
> trimming around the chin might be necessary to fit it on and off. Make
> sure the eye sockets, edges, mouth holes, etc. are smooth by binding all
> edges with narrow strips of brown paper dampened in the white glue mixture.
> The raw edges of the paper strips could be sharp when dry.
> 7. With 45 minute classes, by the time the masks got just about too soggy
> to work it was clean up time. They dried enough for further work over
> night on the shelf, although I made my sample mask in one day, with
> frequent stops in the 125 degree oven to speed drying. When dry, decorate
> as appropriate. Paint might be desired but isn't required because the
> brown paper looks like old wood when dry. For another effect, try a final
> layer of colored tissue or white paper towels or strips from colored
> magazine pictures or even handmade paper. My lion had a raffia mane and
> Model Magic teeth.
> Have fun. If you have further questions feel free to email me again.
> (Mark Alexander)mamjam
> Lakeville, Connecticut, USA