March 25, 2014

Animal Masks Tutorial

Two weeks before my daughter’s birthday party, we were trying to come up with a theme.  She knew immediately that she wanted to do something with animals.  And so the Animal Party plan was hatched.  For an activity I thought it would be cute for the girls to craft & decorate their own pet mask.  I set out in search of decent animal masks that would stand up to kid wear and tear.  All I came up with were the flimsy foam masks with a thin elastic strap that always seems to stretch out after 2 days.  Not to mention, it is impossible to find masks of one animal type.  My daughter wanted pet animals; dogs, cats or bunnies.  There were none to be found and I was starting to worry because shipping time was running out.  At this point I was prepared to call it a ‘no-go’, but then I had the idea to make the masks myself from craft store materials and some of the scrapbooking paper I already had on hand.  In hindsight, I am glad I put in the extra effort because they were the hit of the party! 

Mask Directions

1.  I used foam only for the face part of the masks.  It was just easier, although I like the pattern of the scrapbooking paper.  Trying to cut out the eyes was so hard with the paper and it kept ripping.

2. I found a cat face pattern online and printed it out.  Cut out the face, then the ears separately.  For the dog, I used the cat face but printed out a dog face and cut out its ears.  Carefully snip the eyes out of the face.  Next, trace the face pattern and eye holes onto the foam and cut it out.

3. For the eyes on the foam, I used a small kitchen knife to punch a narrow hole in the center of the eye.  Use small sharp scissors like for needlework or sewing to cut out the eyes.

4. For the ears, glue card stock onto a foam sheet using foam glue.  The best way to apply the glue is with a paintbrush.  It makes the glue even over the foam and when you cut the paper & foam it keeps a tighter seals and is less likely to rip.  Allow it to dry overnight.

5. Using the paper ear patterns, trace them onto your foam paper with a pencil.  Carefully & slowly cut out the pattern.  I had problems with the thinner scrapbooking paper ripping as I was cutting it, especially in the tight corners and rounded edges.  If this happens, use a small watercolor paintbrush and paint a little glue onto the rip to hold it in place.

6. Cut the noses out of scrapbooking paper or card stock.

7. Before gluing the ears and nose, cut or punch a small hole in the side of the mask just opposite the eye holes for the ribbon tie.  I used a small hole punch for this or a kitchen knife would work. 

Measure the length of ribbon needed to go halfway around the head plus room for a tie.  My ribbons were 15 inches long and were big enough to be worn by 8 year olds.  You will need two ribbons for each mask.  Feed the ribbons through the holes or slits using a toothpick.  Tie a knot in the ribbon securing it to the mask.

8. Glue the noses and ears on the foam masks.  Weight down the mask with a book to keep the ears & noses flush.  Allow to dry overnight.

Now your masks are ready to decorate.  You can use gems, sparkles, stickers, buttons, ribbons, etc.  Have fun!

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