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How to Make Masks with Kids

By: Catherine Burrows - Updated: 13 Sep 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
How To Make Masks With Kids

Children love dressing up. It’s a chance for them to enjoy role play and adopting lots of different characters. No dressing up costume would be complete without a mask. Masks are much more impressive when they are made at home using a few simple children's crafts.

Easy Masks

Masks are incredibly simple to make. All you need to make a start is a paper plate or just a circle cut from some stiff card.

You’ll need to make some holes for the eyes, nose and fastenings. The holes for the fastenings should be either side of the mask, roughly in line with the eyes.

Once the basic template for the mask is finished, kids can start to design their masterpiece. It’s good to start by painting a base colour on the mask and then adding touches like eyebrows, maybe a moustache and hair.

Great hairstyles can be achieved with so many materials. Some good ideas are cotton wool, strands of wool or raffia.

You will now need to attach a fastening for the mask. This is tied through the two holes at the side and can be ribbon, elastic or string.

Animal Masks

Animal masks are very easy. Either adapt templates to make a basic shape or add features like ears with pieces of felt glued to the mask.

Make things like whiskers by gluing thin twigs or drinking straws to the mask. The impression of animal skin can be made by adding scraps of old fabric or paper to the mask to create the effect of animal skin:

  • Cotton wool for sheep.
  • Overlapping paper scales for fish.
  • Mosaic black and white fabric for cows.

Eye Masks

It’s really easy to recreate costume masquerade masks. Use a paper plate and draw a large figure of 8 horizontally across the full width of the plate. When cut out, cut away holes for the eyes.

Traditionally, the masks are held to the eyes with a stick at one side. The easiest way to do this is to tape a lolly stick to the side of the mask.

The masks are noted for their elaborate decoration and kids will enjoy dotting the masks with things like feathers, sequins and glitter.

To make an ideal eye-mask for all superheroes, use elastic to fasten the mask and paint the eye mask a single colour.

Papier Mache

Some of the best masks have papier mache bases. Papier mache is a really simple process, although it requires at least a day’s drying time. These are not instant masks.

The process is very simple:

  • First inflate a balloon which is similar in size to the wearer’s head.
  • Tear some paper into strips (newspaper is best).
  • Dip the strips into a glue paste and ensure the paper is fully soaked.
  • Squeeze away any excess glue and lightly paste the strip onto the balloon.
  • When you have covered the balloon with one layer, leave to dry.
  • Repeat the process with a second layer.
  • Once dry, burst the balloon and peel the scraps from the new mask. Now it's ready to paint and decorate.

You can add additional features by taping things like cut egg cartons or flattened cardboard rolls to the mask and covering with papier mache in the same way.

With a few fun children's crafts, kids create some wonderful effects. They love wearing masks and it’s so much better when they are all their own work.

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