Paper Mache Masquerade Mask
The project should easily be accomplished by ages 4 and up with help from a parent or guardian.
30 min - 1 hour
This week we are traveling back in time to the Italian Renaissance. Join ARTmobile@home as we make and learn the history behind masquerade masks!
Kids will learn about the history and origin of the masquerade while creating a piece of art they can use to play.
Venetian masks have a long history of protecting their wearer's identity during promiscuous or decadent activities. Made for centuries in Venice, these distinctive masks were formed from paper mache and decorated with fur, fabric, gems, or feathers.
The masks served an important social purpose that kept every citizen on an equal playing field. Masked, a servant could be mistaken for a nobleman or vice versa, allowing Venetians of different social classes to mingle without fear of recognition or retribution.
The practice of wearing masks for disguise reached its peak around the 18th Century but virtually disappeared when Napoleon's army brought an end to the Venetian Republic in 1797. However, they have staged a spectacular comeback since a group of former Academy of Fine Arts students opened Venice's first modern mask shop in 1978.
Learn more about masquerade masks and the meaning behind them at the Magic of Venezia website.
- First, take a piece of paper and sketch out the design that you would like for your mask
- Cut out the paper, then place it on your piece of cardboard and use it as a stencil.
- Once your design is on the cardboard, cut everything out.
- Cut three strips of newspaper and then cut those into squares.
- Grab one cup of flour and two cups of water and mix it all together until the mixture is liquid and doesn’t have any clumps.
- After you have everything ready, drip the newspaper into the adhesive mixture and wipe off any extra liquid. Start covering the mask with your newspaper.
- Once you have completely covered the cardboard with one layer of paper mache, set it aside to dry and harden overnight.
- Once dry, start decorating with paint, glitter, feathers, or beads.
- After you have finished decorating the mask, take a wooden stick and glue it onto one edge of the mask on the backside.
- And there you have it! Your very own masquerade mask to play, pretend, and go back in time with.