Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Plaster Masks

I love to make plaster masks. It is a huge mess, but it always ends up being a favorite project. I give the kids the rolls and show them how to cut the strips. I also cover the tables with newspaper, which makes clean up fast. I collect those plastic gallon size buckets and put a few on each table with water. I number the masks from 1-35, then assign each kid a number. I write the number next to the kid's name in my grade book. I show the kids how to apply the plaster. I instruct them to make two layers, one going up and down, then a second going across. It usually takes about 35 minutes for the masks to be finished. We spend about 5 minutes patting the plaster, as it makes the mask smoother. I also have the students work from the inside of the mask, as it is much smoother. I let the masks dry for 24 hours, then they usually pop right out of the molds. The next class students paint the mask with tempera paint. We usually apply two coats to give the mask good color. We spend the last class decorating the mask with sequins, glitter, puff paint, feathers, or whatever I have in the closet. Sometimes I have a theme, and they have to make an animal, or sometimes I just let them make the mask they way they want to. I usually do this with 3rd Grade and up. I do not allow anyone to use the sink, as the plaster could clog the sink. We rinse our hands in a bucket, then they get a wet wipe. It is only after most of the plaster is gone can they wash their hands.

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