Papier-mache, sometimes called paper mache, is a rudimentary paste made from a mixture of flour and water. It is often used in kids' crafts because it is easy to make, it is non toxic and the ingredients are available in almost any kitchen. Papier-mache can be used to make masks, pinatas, globes and other simple sculptures. Masks are very popular because they can be made with few materials and developed into many creative styles.
Making Papier-Mache Paste
Pour 1 cup of water into a sealable container. Add 1 cup of flour to it.
Seal the container and shake it vigorously to mix the flour and water thoroughly.
Bring 1 quart of water to a slow boil on the stove.
Slowly pour your flour-water mixture into the boiling water, stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the mixture becomes creamy.
Remove the mixture from the heat. Add a few drops of mint extract to make the paste smell pleasant. Stir.
Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.
Making the Mask
Blow up a balloon that is large enough to cover the face of the person who will be wearing the mask.
Dip strips of torn paper into the paste. Cover one side of the balloon with these pieces of paper. Be sure to put at least two coats of papier-mache on the balloon. Smooth over the paste with your hands.
Let the papier-mache dry on the balloon for at least 48 hours.
Use a straight pin to pop the balloon and remove it from the papier-mache.
Put the mask against the face of the person who will be wearing it. Mark the placement of the eyes with a marker. Remove the mask from the person's face and cut eye holes in the mask.
Poke holes on either edge of the mask and run a string or rubber band through it so it will sit securely against the person's face.
Decorating the Mask
Paint the mask with a base color of yellow or light orange.
Draw a lion's face on the mask with a marker. To do this, draw an upside-down triangle for the nose. Then, from the bottom of the nose, draw the bottom of a half-circle toward one side of the face. Draw another bottom of a half-circle toward the other side of the face to complete the muzzle of the lion. Cut a slit where the mouth should be to allow air circulation to the person wearing the mask.
Paint your lion's face. You can get creative with the colors, or paint the nose and muzzle lines black and add highlights of pale yellow or white above the eye area and around the black muzzle lines.Outline the eye holes in black. For the whiskers, either paint them on, or glue black craft wire between the nose and muzzle line on either side.
Add a mane to the mask by gluing pieces of yellow, brown or orange tissue paper, cotton balls or yarn around the edges.
Allow the glue and paste to dry overnight before using the mask.
Using a sealed container to mix room-temperature water with flour will stop the mixture from forming clumps when it is being cooked.
An alternative to a balloon is to use half of a plastic gallon milk jug for the shape of the face.