How to Make South American Papier-Mache Masks

Written by kelly sundstrom
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How to Make South American Papier-Mache Masks
You can make a beautiful South American mask out of papier-mache. (the mask image by Deborah Durbin from

In South America, there are many festivals and carnivals that are filled with people wearing costumes and masks. If you are teaching students about South America, it can be exciting for them to make a South American mask out of papier-mache. Once all of the students have finished their masks, you can even put on a small mock carnival that will allow students to appreciate and celebrate South American culture.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Balloon
  • Pot
  • Flour
  • Water
  • Newspaper
  • Paper tube
  • Scissors
  • Pin
  • Acrylic paint
  • Elastic
  • Hot glue gun
  • Hot glue stick

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  1. 1

    Blow up a medium balloon and tie a knot in the end.

  2. 2

    Cut a paper towel tube down its length with scissors.

  3. 3

    Curl the paper tube into a funnel shape and tape it so that it does not unravel.

  4. 4

    Tape the funnel to the middle of the balloon.

  5. 5

    Pour 4 cups of flour and 2 cups of water into a pot.

  6. 6

    Heat the mixture until it bubbles, then remove it from the heat.

  7. 7

    Allow the mixture to cool completely.

  8. 8

    Tear pieces of newspaper into long strips.

  9. 9

    Dip the strips into the cooled flour mixture and cover half of the balloon with the soaked strips. Make sure to cover half of the balloon vertically including the paper towel funnel.

  10. 10

    Apply at least six layers of papier-mache strips.

  11. 11

    Allow the papier-mache to dry completely onto the balloon.

  12. 12

    Pop the balloon with a pin.

  13. 13

    Trim around the mask to cut off any rough edges.

  14. 14

    Cut two eye holes above the funnel nose piece with scissors.

  15. 15

    Paint the mask with colourful acrylic paint.

  16. 16

    Allow the paint to dry completely.

  17. 17

    Hot glue an 8-inch piece of elastic onto the back of the mask.

  18. 18

    Allow the hot glue to cool completely before wearing the South American mask.

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