Animal Masks

Time Frame: 3- 45 minute sessions
Grade Level: 4th grade
Materials: plaster wrap, mask molds/forms, water, tub for water, acrylic paint, paintbrushes, knickknacks for eyes and hair

I would like to give a special shout out to The Dreaming Zebra Foundation. This organization donated the mask forms and plaster wrap to my art students. Without their help, we wouldn't have been able to afford these materials. Thank you Dreaming Zebra!
My fourth graders absolutely loved this project. I must say that I have never seen them so engaged in anything. Because I only had one set of mask molds, I had to rotate the classes so that one class made masks each week. The first classes that got to do it told all the rest of the classes. Thus, they came to art begging for it to be their turn to make the masks.

Basically, all you have to do is wet the plaster wrap with water and lightly squeeze some of the water out. I told the students to use their pointer and middle fingers to make scissors and run them along the wrap. It is very important to warn them not to squeeze all of the water out or they will lose the plaster. Then, they just put the plaster wrap into a mask mold. We used animal mask forms or molds. It takes 4 layers of plaster wrap. 3 layers creates a mask that is too thin, 5 layers is slightly too thick! 
It takes a couple of days for it to dry completely. You will think it is dry by the next morning, and the packaging will say it dries in only hours. BUT my advice is to wait for at least two nights. You will need to pop the dried mask out of the mold like ice from ice trays, and it is harder if the mask is still damp. You can see how I labeled a sheet of paper for the masks. You can't put names on them while they are wet (obviously). This method worked great for us because we had to take the masks to another room to dry. The paper also made it easier for the students to carry.

These masks are still in the molds. You can see that you have to put the plaster inside the mold, not on top.

I do not recommend letting the students remove the masks from the molds. It can be tricky, so it is best if an adult does it. 

Use acrylic paint to paint the masks and add details with knickknacks such as sequins, buttons, yarn, or ribbon.


 Copyright 2012 Amanda Koonlaba-There's a Party in the Art Room