It was a great project for kids because while your face was covered so completely--except for nostrils, which obviously had to remain uncovered--it was a bit scary. I did this project with three sixth grade classes in Colorado Springs the one year we lived there, and the students seemed to love it. They worked in teams of three, one subject, one wrapper, and one support person who talked and held the hand of the subject.
Since they wouldn't go away, I decided I'd better do something with them. First I painted the interior of each one with Elmer's glue, hoping that would stop the crumbling. It did. So I slathered the inside of each mask with Vaseline and filled each one with a wood patch, which is basically plaster of Paris, but it was what I had on hand. The faces easily popped out of the molds. After some sanding, I decided they had to be painted. The question was, realistically or not? Just a coat of any color of paint wasn't very interesting, so I painted each to look like rock with a slight metallic sheen.
I will be going to Kansas on a family visit in early summer, and it has already been suggested that we make masks of the new generation. Won't that be fun? If your family is suffering from cabin fever or winter blues, this might be a project that will take their mind off the weather. All you need is Vaseline, cheap, throw-away shower caps and plaster bandaging that most medical supply stores stock if none is available in your area, do an online search. There are many sources. Each face should cost about $7 to $12, maybe less, depending on sources and on whether you recast the masks for sculptures.
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