Sunday, July 1, 2012

Masks from Paper Mache

Students in grades 7-8 made masks as their last project of the year.  The 8th graders chose whether they wanted to use clay or paper/tape for their armature.  The 7th graders all used paper, cardboard and tape to construct their armature.  All students were encouraged to select a reference photo to sculpt from.

After looking at images of a variety of masks from around the world, the students chose to create an animal (spirit animal or realistic), or a person for their inspiration. 

Students had access to sculpture materials in bins, which they could use to help form their armature.  This student utilized cardboard tubes for her eyes.

This student used plastic caps as part of her armature for the eyes. 

 After the artists used clay or cardboard to create the shapes they needed for their animal or human mask, they then learned how to apply paper mache, and added 3 layers of colored thin paper+glue to their mask.  For you teachers or crafters our there, I bought "Art Paste" from Blick art supply because it is non-toxic but also more permanent than flour and water.  The paper we used was the same kind as that used for bulletin boards in schools (on a roll). I had the students keep track of how many layers they had applied by making each layer a different color of paper.

This mask began with molding clay into the shapes the artist wanted, before adding paper mache.

 Next, I went over the basics of color mixing, having students create secondary colors, as well as tints and shades from the primary colors.  They then painted their masks as they saw fit, mixing most of their colors from primary colors and white.
Below are some of the great masks that resulted. 

Before we painted them, we pulled out and in some cases ripped with gusto the paper and/or clay armatures from underneath the paper mache.  All that was left was three strong layers of paper mache which had taken the shape of the armature.


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