Sunday, April 5, 2015

5th Grade Tradition: Masks!

My first day at Shady Hills Elementary School was in March 2006. Shortly thereafter, one of the 5th grade teachers called and asked me if I had ever done masks. The teacher, before the one I just replaced, started this tradition of having the students make Plast'rcraft masks. Well, I had never done them before........ and I was able to find full directions on the internet....... and did the first one on my daughter's face......and then I had my husband do one on my face.......... yeah, this will work!

Here are a few from that first year.  The 2 examples below are what I call masks that go "beyond the face."
 Below are masks that have been painted and/or embellished with feathers and glitter, etc.
 Here are some of the more unusual or unique ones that students have made.

Well....... it's that time of year again AND my 5th graders are getting REALLY excited and I'm trying hard to get all the necessary info to them to be successful. I have an iMovie that was made a while back, but I feel the process has been streamlined since then and I want to present it as a power point. There is more control over showing slides then a video. More of an opportunity to ask questions.

I actually figured out how to stop the iMovie and take screen shots! So here goes!
Get everything ready.
Strips of Plast'rcraft, oil (vegetable or baby oil), cotton pad, plastic strips (cut from garbage bags), foam tray, nylon loop. Not pictured-large garbage bags used as smocks.
Tie back hair and oil face.

Wet and apply Plast'rcraft around and then across the face. Do 3 layers, do not cover the nostrils!  Place a nylon loop, after the first layer, at the top for hanging. (I use fishing line.)

Let the stuff harden, this will depend on the person's core temperature as to how long until you can pop it off. Figure between 10-20 minutes. Then cover up the nostril holes.

It needs to dry and then it's ready for whatever the artist decides to do to finish it.

If they choose to make a mask that goes "beyond the face," they will need to make a pattern, cut it out of poster board and attach to their mask. It needs to have tabs to attach to the mask. Staple and/or tape poster board to the mask.
Then cut small pieces of Plast'rcraft and attach one half of the piece to the poster board and the other half to the mask. Cover all of the poster board, it's not necessary to do 3 layers. If it starts to sag, place something under it so that it will dry in the position you want it to.

To go faster and look nicer the eyes- are covered. These masks are intended to be decorative. Students are paired off to work. And as they finish, they are paired off again until everyone is done. Parent volunteers come in to help. Admin gets a sub for my other classes. One hour per class of 20-24. I get a 20 lb. box of Plast'rcraft which should be enough for 80 students.

I would be happy to answer any questions you have!

My first blog post was 6 months ago today! And I have almost 7000 page views!

So, really, truly THANKS for READING!!
Now, I need to figure out how to set up the thingy for followers......  'Til next time!!


  1. When I taught 7th grade I did this annually. We worked in teams, usually with three or four kids - each team at a table, and the 'victim' would lie on the table. I bought junky disposable shower caps at the dollar store, and took them from hotel room bathrooms. We covered the hair with them. We set up a schedule, and in three or four days of 40 minute classes, the whole 7th grade class was done. We didn't use long strips like you; we cut it in smaller pieces, and we cut narrow strips for between nostrils.v and we used Vaseline as our barrier. Other than that, our results were similar, and we also extended the masks. We didn't cover the eyes; just went very close, and then filled them in the next day if they wanted. Everyone was always at their next class clean and on time, because the ritual was so set! One of my favorite projects to do!!

  2. By the way - we discovered that if you use warmer water, the plaster dries faster, and that some of the less expensive brands dry faster than the Plast'rcraft! I think I ordered it usually from Nasco, getting their store brand.

    1. Thanks, don't really have a choice as to water temperature. Besides, some students just NEED to keep it on their faces longer, lol! And I do like using the brand name. It's made by Pacon and I get it through Saxs. Like your idea with the shower caps.... Hmmm thanks for all your comments! Saw the other ones on facebook. Again, great meeting you!