Friday, February 28, 2014

As Promised!!! Rainforest Mask Instructions!!!

Wow!  What an amazing start to a perfect way to spend a rainy day in California!  Wendy and I are at the Southern California Kindergarten Conference spending the morning with Deanna Jump.  We are getting so many great ideas and can’t wait to share them with our partner who couldn’t make it today!  We are singing songs, laughing, and making great connections. 

We shared our Rainforest Masks from our Rainforest Unit, which we will soon post on TPT, at the art exhibit.  Amazing that they actually got them to hang…a lot of tape!  Thank you so much for all of the ooh’s and awe’s.  We are so glad that everyone thinks they are so great too! Since so many people asked us how to make them we thought we would share:

The project takes a week to make but we suggest you spread it out.  There are many layers that need to dry and YOU need time to rest between steps!


Nasco paper mache face mask (pkg of 12) You can order online…a bit pricy
          ( $1.92 each for 12 or more) but worth it!
Newspaper strips
Light weight tag board or file folders
Masking tape
Tissue paper
Staflo starch
Gesso (optional)
Spray lacquer or Modge Podge
Paint brushes
Plastic rhinestones
Colored feathers
Pipe cleaners
Glue gun

Unfortunately- there is a lot of teacher prep in this project but if you do it with a friend it is a ton of fun and many of laughs.  We have even had some creative parents come in to help with this process!!!

To start you need to use newspaper, tag board, and lots of tape to create each individual animal face.  This is where you need to be VERY creative!  We were cracking up when we made some of the unique rainforest animals like the Walking Stick, which is in the picture below. 

Once you have created each mask (this may take a couple of days depending on your class size) it is time for the students to get messy!

Using small strips of newspaper, students need to completely cover the mask with paper dipped in starch.  We always us starch (you can find it a Smart and Final or sometimes at the Dollar Store) but you can also use a mixture of ½ glue and ½ water. 

Let the mask dry completely!!!

If you want to make the mask dry hard with less bumps, you need to cover the mask with gesso.  Gesso is available at Michael’s or Aaron Brothers. Check to make sure it is kid friendly. We do this after school. We always include this step because it covers the newspaper print and seals the bumps.  It also means the kids only need to do the next step once.

When the Gesso is dry the students choose tissue paper squares in the colors of their animal.  This takes teacher guidance… you may need to help them choose the colors so as not to have rainbow animals.  Students use a paintbrush to apply the tissue squares to the mask using starch.  Let masks dry completely overnight.

If you did not do the Gesso step, students will need to apply a second layer of tissue to make sure that the newsprint is covered. 

Once the tissue is dry you can either have the students paint the masks with semi gloss modge podge or YOU can use a spray semi gloss lacquer.  Let dry completely.

If you want to make the masks wearable art use a nail or a small drill bit make a whole on each side of the mask.  Use elastic cord or twine to make a strap. 

The final step is bedazzling the masks with sequins, rhinestones, feathers, beads, pipe cleaners, and any other goodie you can find!  Students love picking out what they are going to put on their mask!  You can have the students use tacky glue and glue on their own design but we have found over the years it is easier to have students work with a parent or teacher to design their mask while the adult hot glues it.

We always take pictures of our kiddos wearing their mask and post it with the mask and an original animal poem! 

We hope you enjoy this project!  We’d love to hear or see how it works in your classroom!