Have students design a mask using the face mold as a base, but adding armature made of the acetate. Attach pieces of the acetate to the face mold with masking tape. Some successful ideas my students came up with include King Tut, a bat-face, a dog, and a pig.
Have students draw out their designs before starting to cut the acetate, and make a pattern using cardboard or paper first to avoid wasting the acetate.
Once the design is developed and the acetate is attached to the face mold, students cut plaster cloth into ½" x 4" (1.3 x 10 cm) strips, moisten them individually with water, and lay them over the mold. Make sure to have at least three layers of the plaster cloth on every part of the armature. Let dry thoroughly and remove from mold. Paint with tempera or acrylic, add details, and hang by securing fishing line or twine to back of mask with hot glue.
This project has been the absolute favorite of my classes for the past several years.
Other options for armature: cardboard, aluminum foil, newspaper, wire
This series of mask lessons was developed for the Lyman Allyn Art Museum in New London, CT which has a large mask collection. The unit was part of a Carnegie grant program at West Side Middle School in Groton, CT and my assistant Dawn Estabrooks helped me write this. The program was taught during "flex" period as an option to ping-pong, sports videos and making hair scrungies. The wonderful L.D. teacher, Barbara Moran, at the school was behind it all.