Paper Mache Masks with Phillip Martin
Lesson Plan
Learner Outcomes:
Understand that color can be opaque and transparent
Appreciate that texture is used to enhance realism
Appreciate that texture is used to enhance aesthetics
Combine different media and explore ways to create surfaces
Explore the different qualities and applications of material in an inventive and imaginative way
Relate and form to function and combine elements of form, shape, color, mass, texture (appreciate form should follow function)
Sustain a chosen form from concept to creation
Paper mache mixture
Variety of recycled items
Masking tape, lots of it!
Stapler and staples
Acrylic Paint
Clear acrylic spray
Opaque, Transparent, Texture, Media, Form, Shape, Color, Mass

In this project, students select a mask from any culture they desire that they will replicate with paper mache. It must reflect a specific culture instead of simply being a Halloween or decorative mask. They may entirely replicate a mask or a mask as inspiration to create their own mask. The mask is to be made in such a way that it will fit the face of the artist making it.

This step works best with kids working in groups of two. Initial construction of the mask is made using strips of heavy paper (cereal boxes cut in strips work very well). Wrap strips loosely around the face from chin to crown. Tape or staple the strips together. Then, use other strips going across the forehead, chin, and nose until a rough covering of the face is created. Since staples are used to connect paper to the outer edge, be sure to cover the staples with masking tape to protect the face from scratching. Using cardboard strips, toilet paper rolls, and whatever other recycled supplies are available, add the detail to the mask with masking tape to give it the necessary authenticity.

When this stage is completed, the mask is ready for paper mache. It is very important to get a smooth surface. If there are wrinkles when the paper mache is applied wet, they will certainly be there when the mask is dry.

Helpful hint: Be sure to mix up the paper mache solution a day in advance so it gets thick. If it is too thick, just add water and shake it up in a tupperware dish (with the lid sealed.)

Helpful hint: If the mask no longer fits after the paper mache is applied, there is an easy solution. Cut a two inch slit at the top of the forehead. Spread the slit and staple a piece of cardboard upon the split (kind of like a band-aid). Then, reapply paper mache over the repair job.

Finally, paint the mask. I suppose you could use other paint, but I really prefer acrylic paint. Spray the mask when dried with clear acrylic sealer. Do this before adding any feathers, glitter, metal scraps or anything else as final touches.

Copyright 2000, revised 2012 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.

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