Together, we made masks out of papier-maché! The mixture is pretty strong with a bit of texture and is easily painted. Painting our masks was what we did during our last age 8 to 11 art class until the Fall of 2019!

It takes a couple of weeks to make because the sculpture has to become completely dry before we paint. It takes a bit of planning and it helps kids with their organizational skills. Learning that making things can take time is important. Doing things in steps can help in creating a great piece of art.

I think kids like the sensory experience of getting their hands dirty. It is similar to making mud pies or slime. There are a number of recipes but here is mine:

1 part flour

2 parts water

TBSP salt

Put it all in an old bowl and stir it until smooth with a whisk. We used our hands. Yippee!

Basically, you need a base form to do it and a paper plate makes a great form for a simple mask. The kids drew their idea on a sheet of paper. We added shapes with masking tape and then we tore strips of newspaper.

With the use of our fingers, we put strips of newspaper into the mixture and remove most of the homemade glue. We covered the entire surface of our base from. Once that step is complete the fun begins. Because the newspaper and flour mixture is really sloppy but workable, you can make balls, fold it and twist it to create textures on the surface.

In Nova Scotia this May, we have been getting a lot of rain. I needed to use an electric fan to dry them  so they would be ready in time for the kids to paint. Once dry, I covered them with acrylic gesso one side at a time to prime them for painting.

We go over colour mixing theory each time we paint. When they ask for a specific colour I ask them, “How would you go about making that?” But using the paint is really fun on papier-maché. You can paint directly with colour or you can dry brush. You can even cover it with a thin coat of paint and wipe it away. You can speckle with a toothbrush and use the back of your paintbrush to make dots. Mostly this is a project that is fun and great for imaginative kids! Once it is dry, it can be varnished to give it a sheen.

So that’s it, it takes a bit of time to make but the results and the fun and worth while. Thanks for reading!


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