Submitted by:John Yagoda, 6th grade art teacher at Avon East in Ohio.
Grade Level: Middle School
A discussion of masks and their uses is conducted before the production of the masks. Another option is to discuss African Art and their uses of masks. The students sketch a design which they will use for their individual masks. The subject I chose was cartoon characters.
The following class, the students are required to bring in an old shirt, a towel, Vaseline and newspaper. The students cover the table with the newspaper and I tell the students that they must leave either the nose or the mouth opened. Also, do not cover the eyes they can do that later. The students pair up and one student puts Vaseline over their face, while the other prepares the plaster gauze.
This process of plastering takes approximately 20-30 minutes to complete. The plaster takes an additional 20 minutes to dry. The following class the students bring their sketches of the cartoon characters to life using their personal masks. They can add ears (Mickey Mouse), horns (wolverine), beaks (Toucan Sam), helmets (Marvin the Martian), etc. The final step is to paint the masks. By this time the students are overly excited to display their hard work in the schools' showcase.