& Bean Necklace Sewing Bee:
a variety of beans and seeds, large enough to pull a sewing needle
the beans and seeds overnight.
sit around a table in groups.
gets a bunch of beans and seeds.
Thread a double strand of thread on everyone's needle. Sew through beans and seeds to make a necklace.
groups sew, each member tells a story to the group.
necklaces overnight to dry.
strips Ė plaster strips can be found in craft stores (more
expensive) and art supply stores (5, 10, 15 pound boxes).
The advantage of the packaged strips found in craft stores
is that this plaster dries quickly.
The advantage of the bulk plaster is one of cost.
Whichever you choose, make sure it is safe to use on faces.
Before giving it to your students, try a few strips
yourself to gauge the drying time.
Bowls for warm water
Plastic garbage bags
Vaseline or Paper Towels
Paint, other items for finishing
is done with partners. Allow
30-45 minutes per partner.
Preparing the Work Area:
Get all materials ready before beginning.
This means cutting the plaster into strips. Vary
the width from one to two inches and the length from two to four
inches. Since these
strips will be covering the face, having the different sizes helps
to accommodate the various contours of the face.
You will need at least a good hand full for each face.
Have bowls of warm water ready.
The warm water is for dipping the strips and wetting the
plaster. The water
needs to be warm so they dry more quickly and for the comfort of
the ďplastee.Ē Change the water often to keep it warm.
Preparing the face:
There are two ways to prepare a face for plastering.
The first is to put a thin layer of Vaseline all over the
facial surface to be plastered.
This means eyelashes and hairline as well as skin.
If the plaster sticks to hair, it will dry to it too making
it very painful once the mask has set and is ready to remove from
the face. If you
choose to use Vaseline, check that students have adequately
protected their hair. I
have placed strips of tin foil around the hairline, and then
spread Vaseline over the tin foil. Others have use waxed paper and others have simply put
Vaseline on the hairline. The advantage of Vaseline is that it
makes a much smoother mask.
The second method is to place wet paper towels all
over the surface of the face.
The strips are then just placed on top of the paper towels.
This saves the hairline and is less messy to clean up but
can be tricky to keep in place with the plaster strips are laid
down. This method is
perfectly fine if only a partial mask is being made, i.e. from the
nose to the hairline. In
any case, the eyes of the plastee must be closed and protected.
Plastering the face:
Once the method of preparing the face is
accomplished, the person whose face is being cast (the plastee)
needs to lie down. It
really is best to do this in a prone position since waiting for
the plaster to dry can be tiring and it prevents the plastee from
moving around too much disturbing the setting process.
The plastee can lie on a large garbage bag to catch the
spills and drips and should probably have his or her upper body
protected in the same way. Some
people like to tie their hair back as well and/or wear a shower
With the strips ready and the bowl of warm water
handy, the plastering can begin.
The plasterer carefully dips a strip into the warm water
and gently draws it through the fingers to remove any excess
water. Donít be over zealous in this; you just donít want the
strip too drippy. The
strips needs to retain their rectangular shape so donít wad them
up. Carefully place
the strips, one at a time on to the surface of the face.
It is best to start at the forehead and work down.
Apply on one layer, then go back and lay on a second layer.
If done carefully, only two layers are needed. The temple area might do well to have three layers since this
is a vulnerable part of the mask.
If plaster is to go over the eyes (many masks donít have
the eyes covered), be very careful the eyes are properly
protected. In fact,
for first time mask makers, going over the eyes should be
some, this is an uncomfortable experience and having the eyes
covered may be claustrophobic.
The same goes for the nose; leave the nostrils uncovered.
After each strip is laid on, smooth it over with your
gives it a finer finish, not so rough looking when dry.
Removing the mask:
The mask is ready to remove when it feels rigid to
the touch. It
doesnít have to be rock hard or completely dry but should be
rigid enough that when it is lifted it retains its shape.
Caution on the side of hard.
Many a mask is ruined when it is removed too soon. This may
take ten minutes and it may take 20 to 30 depending on the
conditions. Start by gently working the edges of the mask with
your fingers. Once
the edges are released, the mask should easily lift off the face. When lifting, pull the mask straight out.
The mask wonít be completely dry so any bending will
cause it to permanently distort.
Place the mask face down to completely dry.
Donít place it with the edges down.
Allow it to dry at least overnight before painting.
Now start on your partnerís mask.
Once the mask is dry, the edges can be trimmed smooth
and any weak spots can take another layer of plaster strip. Once
again, smooth any wet plaster with your fingertips for a finer
Painting and decorating:
A well-dried mask can take lots abuse but a plan
should be in place prior to painting.
Not even the best mask can take too much wet paint. I have
seen tissue paper used as a finish rather than paint.
This gives a rich opaque look to the mask. If paint is use, apply a final coat of modge podge or some
other sealant to give it a slight sheen. Anything can be added,
feathers, pipe cleaners, glitter, beads, etc.
I like to use a hot glue gun when applying extras.
Take your time when painting and decorating; it is amazing
how you can transform a bunch of plaster into a mask of magic.
Students choose a short story.
on the bare bones of the story, such as the beginning, the
middle, and the end.
simple symbols and stick figures, draw out the progression
of the story. No need for too much detail.
This is your story map.
completed, using the pictures you've drawn (story map),
retell the story to a partner, then partner tell their
story to you, then
tell story to a larger audience.
You can embellish to keep your
Story Quilt Block:
short story from story mapping, choose a favorite scene to
illustrate a picture with simple lines.
this picture out on paper. Do
not color yet.
this drawing to a window, tape a similar size muslin fabric on top
of drawing and trace the outline of your drawing with a fine point
muslin fabric, now color it with crayon.
with a dry iron, place a piece of white paper towel on ironing
board, place muslin drawing upside
down on paper towel, iron over design with dry iron a few
minutes to set the colors.
you may use this to make a quilted pillow or a small wall hanging,
or even frame it.
Plastic eyeball puppets:
Find and buy
plastic eyeball finger puppets, place them on your finger like a
ring. Using your
thumb and fingers to talk as your creature's mouth.
Making a snake from an old tie:
An old tie
with wild designs of your choice.
Plastic grocery bags
Beads, feathers, pieces of leather
A long skinny stick
A film canister filled with some rice grains
Hot glue gun
stitches between tie lining and top fabric on the fat end of the
tie about 6 inches. You
will discover that itís a tube ready to be stuffed.
the skinny stick, push grocery
bags into this tube
to stuff the snake's body and head.
When you get to the head, you can choose to spread the head
out to make it look like a cobra or shape it anyway you like.
some stitches at the skinny end of the tie and stuff the canister
with the rice into that area, close it up either by gluing or
sewing. This acts as
the rattle for rattlesnakes.
beads, feathers, pieces of leather, cut and glue to embellish the
eyes and tongue.
the snake as a puppet to tell a story.
Feather for Circle Time :
To build community
Using a craft
turkey feather that's been dyed to look like an eagle feather,
decorate it by using beads and leather straps to wrap around the
end of the feather.
in a circle, pass the feather from one student to another. As the feather is passed to you, you have the floor and
everyone has to listen to what you want to share.
You can share
about your current state of being or whatever you'd like.
postcards of interesting faces of people on the floor.
choose one postcard.
write the following four sentences about their postcard person
Describe your person's physical appearance.
Reveals something pertinent of your person's past.
Something your person would say that reveals something of
Something someone else would say about your person that
would show how others react to him/her.
Felt Boards as Visual for Storytelling:
cardboard with a piece of felt or fabric for the background of
your story setting.
figures of people, animals, etc. that's in your story.
As you tell
your story, place these cutouts on the background.
When you are
finished telling your story.
You can pass out the cutouts to students and have them
place these on the board as you retell the story.
sheets (6"x 4 1/2") of three different color
students into three groups. Give
each group 300 sheets of one color.
these papers in half horizontally.
talking, each group build a community with the papers. Cannot
encroach in on the other groups' community.
is done. Students
will do a writing about their community individually before
sharing their story.
must include the following:
Name of their community.
Describe three people who lives there.
Name and describe:
The problem between the antagonist and other citizens.
An incident that happened in the community today.
Did the problem get resolved?
Living Statues: Animatronics
choose a U.S. President.
new or fun facts about that president.
Wear a button
that visitors can push to pretend to activate you and you begin to
recite those facts as if you were that president.
While you are
reciting those facts, move your head and arms or hands in a
students. One is Partner A, the other is B.
begins to tell a story to B, B interjects with a word, A continues
the story incorporating B's word.
couple of minutes, partners exchange roles.
These activities were adapted from James Bowen.