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Lesson Plans

Re: Paper Mache Masks

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Maggie White (mwhite)
Mon, 22 Jun 1998 06:31:31 -0700


> I just got hired to do a specialty workshop at a summer camp. The subject is
> to make large african tribal masks. My workshops will be 4 2hr. sessions. ( 1
> session per week) <snip>
> I really see these masks being large, 18'' to 21/2' for a hight dimention .
> What would be a good support? <snip> How do you go about getting a variety
> of results, I would imagine the students who are truly intrested will want to
> do the most eloborate masks, What to do with the ones who won't try?

Hi, Brenda,

You've gotten a lot of good advice so far. Here's my two cents' worth:

My students make masks based on specific themes relating to themselves,
their families, or community. We look at many examples of historical
masks for inspiration. They like the deeply carved wooden masks in

Some start with a large cardboard cutout, then score it lengthwise on the
front to give it a slight curve. Tape a couple of pieces of masking tape
across the concave side of the curve (the back of the mask) so it will
hold its shape with the paper mache. They can use hacksaw blades to
easily carve styrofoam shapes to similate the carving on a mask. Do this
over a trash can--the styro pellets get everywhere. I collect the styro
packing wedges used to package computers. Elmer's works fine to glue
these in place. They can then paper mache over the whole thing for
uniformity, and add shell macaroni (which can be colored in advance),
feathers, beans, beads, etc.

Heavy duty tin foil can be colored with markers or spray painted gold for
beautiful effects. The markers give it a Mardi Gras look, the gold an
ancient Mycenaean look.

Good luck.