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Lesson Plans

paper mache cardboard masks......

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Bunki Kramer (
Sun, 21 Jun 1998 10:10:25 -0700

Hi, Brenda..........

>The subject is>to make large african tribal masks. My workshops will be 4
>2hr. sessions. ( 1>session per week) This will allow drying time between
>the stages.

>From start to finish, 4 two-hr. sessions isn't a whole lot of time. I've
done something like this awhile back and they worked well. You should get
lots of variety just by the fact that you're not limiting the size to the
actual face. I started this project by having kids take a full sheet of
newspaper, folding it, cutting out a shape (1/2 the mask shape), cutting
out space for eyes, mouth, etc. and, when opened, you have a symetrical
mask shape.

I'd have exacto knives, serated kitchen knives (which cut cardboard really
well), scissors, and free matboard...which you can get from art framer
stores... for the exacto cutting handy. You should also give them some time
and instruction on the different folds, diff. cutting techniques, curling
,etc., and precut cardboard to make small samples. This step is important
and saves you much time having to discuss this with each student
separately. It will also give them more ideas to work with.

>I really see these masks being large, 18'' to 21/2' for a hight dimention .

Your size is really ambitious with your time limit. You might want to think
about cutting it down to 12" or 18". Just a thought. You should try one
first and time yourself. I good teacher would generally do this to find out
all the kinks before the kids do and to have it as a sample.

>What would be a good support?

You can paper mache right on top of the cardboard base and additions...I've
used liguid starch straight from the bottle for the mache and newspaper
strips. The second layer could be just paper toweling. You could also use
gesso on top to smooth out the layers and provide a nice base for painting
but it's not absolutely necessary.

>How>do you get the kids to be the designers, or get them to plan in
>advance. (when>they are working on their masks features)

Half the fun (and especially if it's a summer camp setting) is designing as
you go because you learn the limits of the material. Precutting with the
newspaper and scissors is another designing feature.

>I am having trouble figuring out a>support system for the mache. I thought
>of using chicken wire with paper pulp....

We've just built up with pieces of cardboard but you might consider using
aluminum foil for lightweight stuffing if you wanted more demension or
rounded, sculptural quality. Keep it simple. Adding a hard-to-handle medium
like chicken wire might slow down your limited timeframe. (You'll need
gloves for kids using chicken wire...and bandaids.)

>How should I space out the class in terms of stages: Macheing , sanding,
>painting collaging ( I have some really nice hand made papers that could be
>used as a finished surface) and finally sealling- what to do with early
>finishers. Is the time aloted enough time?

I'd "think" stages like this...learning technique of material, macheing, drying
(maybe outside to speed up the time), painting, embellishment. Early
finishers come with the territory when teaching art. You'll ALWAYS have
'em. Use this time for embellishment like painting, feathers, ribbon,
raffia, poking holes around the edges and adding straw, glitter, jewels,
blah, blah. I wouldn't worry about sealing unless you had time. A spray
varnish would work nicely...and fast.

One of my kids did a fabulously large mask this way and covered it entirely
with diff. kinds of feathers in patterns. I begged and pleaded with him to
let me keep it...but it wasn't meant to be, drats!


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

  • Maybe reply: croberts: "Re: paper mache cardboard masks......"