Children can develop creative skills, artistic style and imagination through building animal paper mache masks such as a bull mask. Starting from a source image for inspiration, your child can design and build a mask that fits his preferences of colour, shape and decoration. Adult supervision and guidance are recommended. Prepare supplies ahead of time to allow your child to move smoothly through each step of the mask-making process.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Unbleached flour
- Heat-proof spoon
- Milk jug
- Source image
- Aluminium foil
- Masking tape
- Newspaper strips (1 inch by 6 inch)
- White printer paper strips (1 inch by 6 inch)
- Acrylic paints
- Elastic band
Mix the paper mache paste in the pot. Use one part flour to five parts water. Stir the mixture and place on the stove. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat, and let the mixture simmer for three minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of salt to prevent the mixture from moulding. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature before using the mixture on the mask.
Cut the milk jug in half (top to bottom) with the scissors. You can keep the handle as part of the nose for the mask or use the blank back side of the milk jug.
Hold the milk jug to your child's face, and mark where a good location for eye holes and a mouth hole would be with a marker. Cut holes for the eyes and mouth using the scissors.
Help the child form two horn shapes and two ears out of clay. Refer to your source image for intended shape and size in proportion to the mask size. Cover the horns and ears with aluminium foil. Cover the foil with masking tape. Carefully remove the clay from inside the foil and tape. Stuff crumpled pieces of newspaper inside the horns and ears in place of the removed clay. Tape the horns and ears to the milk jug in the desired location.
Have your child dip a newspaper strip in the cooled paper mache paste. Wipe off the excess mixture on the strip with your fingers. Place the strip horizontally onto the milk jug near the top. Cover the milk jug completely with horizontal strips of newspaper. Remember to cover the horns and ears with newspaper. Avoid covering the eyes and mouth holes. Allow this first layer of newspaper to dry completely.
Have your child apply a second layer of newspaper strips but in a vertical manner. Cover the milk jug completely with vertical strips of newspaper. Avoid covering over the eyes and mouth holes. Allow this second layer of newspaper to dry completely.
Have the child apply a third layer of newspaper strips but in a horizontal manner. Cover the milk jug completely with horizontal strips of newspaper. Again avoid covering the eyes and mouth holes. Allow this third layer of newspaper to dry completely. Apply a final layer with the white printer paper in a vertical manner. Allow the final layer to dry completely.
Have the child paint and decorate the bull mask to her liking using acrylic paints and paintbrushes. Remind her to look at the source image for inspiration. Allow the mask to dry. Have your child hold the mask up to her face. Mark with a marker the location of the child's ears near the sides of the mask. Cut two small holes on either side of the mask where marked. Insert the elastic band in the holes, and tie it to the mask to help secure the mask to the child's face.
Tips and warnings
- Put the paste in the refrigerator while each layer is drying. To reuse the mixture, microwave the paste in a microwaveable-safe bowl for one minute.
- Remove the mask from the child's face before cutting.
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