Spooky alien masks
What's it all about?
My son needed to make a minotaur mask for his school assembly. Rather than just use card or paper, we made a mask using plaster of Paris. This was great fun, and the ‘minotaur’ certainly scared the audience!
The method itself is very simple, but patience is needed to get a good, strong mask. The activity will fit into three consecutive days, but it could also be done over several weeks as part of a club activity.
Making a base mask
You are going to make your very own Spooky Alien Mask. Once the first stage has been finished, it will be up to you to decide how it will look. Will yours glow in the dark? Will have hideous flappy bits on it, or will it be a cool, friendly alien? Only you can decide!
Building the alien features
You’ve made a base mask that fits snugly over your face. You are now going to give it that authentic extraterrestrial look by building up features on top using plaster bandages. The final touch involves paint, latex and glowing goo if you want it.
Decorating the mask
Let the mask set properly overnight. Any bits that fall off can be glued back on later, so don’t panic. Use acrylic paints to colour your mask. You can add some glowing latex later if you want.
It is worth spending some time getting the base mask right. Craft shops sell rolls of plaster of Paris bandages, often called Modroc, though schools suppliers are usually much cheaper.
Health and Safety
When considering carrying out a practical activity with a class, you must check your local health and safety rules. Make an appropriate risk assessment and try the activity yourself first.
Check for allergies to the petroleum jelly used.Plaster of Paris
The reaction of plaster of Paris with water is exothermic. The mixture can get very hot. It expands slightly then sets hard.
Do not encase any part of the body with plaster of Paris: it may become trapped and severe burns can occur as a result.Make sure that the eyes, nose and mouth are not covered by the plaster of Paris bandage. Only apply enough layers to the face to produce a base mask.
Per group of students:
- 1 × washing up bowl
- 2 × rolls of plaster of Paris bandages
- 2 × plastic carrier bags
- Vaseline® petroleum jelly
- Sticky tape
- 1 × pair of scissors
In the lab:
Soap and water
Acrylic paints and brushes