Are your kids crafty? If so, a mask-painting session might be the perfect way to keep them occupied over the, seemingly long, school holidays. Taking glitter, glue, paint, sequins and feathers to a blank papier mache mask is an absolutely fantastic way to hone creativity and fine motor control. It’s great fun too, particularly if you can get your little one invested in creating something that reflects their own unique personality and interests.
After all, there are literally no rules when it comes to decorating blank masks – with a little imagination and a liberal dash of paint you can turn them into super-hero masks, princess masks, tiger masks, bandit masks or even
Of course, mask decorating does also represent a perfect opportunity to teach your kids about the art and style of the renaissance period too; looking at image galleries like this for inspiration, you can help to familiarise them with some of the design elements that characterized this incredibly rich period of history, such as the use of heavily contrasting colours, the focus on elegant gold decorations or the creation of fantastic feather arrangements.
But this certainly isn’t the only way to go about a mask decorating session, and you probably only want to craft historically accurate masks if your child hasn’t already expressed an interest in designing something a little closer to their heart, as it’s only when they’re really engaged with what they’re doing that they’ll enjoy themselves.
Generally, we’d recommend setting aside at least one hour for a mask decorating session, and if you’re aiming for a relatively complicated design, it might even be worth considering splitting the activity up into a number of smaller sessions to ensure that your child stays engaged.
To get started with a summer holiday mask decorating session, you’ll need a blank mask for each participant. We’d also recommend that you get your hands on:
Acrylic or poster paints in a wide variety of colors (depending on your preference)
Crepe paper strips
Glitter pens can also be fun, as can any other sparkly/enticing decorative items and textured materials (used sparingly) can serve as fantastic additions.
Most of these items are available from standard craft shops, and the type of paint that you choose is really down to personal choice – acrylic paints generally cover better and leave a nicer finish, but they are harder to work with and can also be messy, so consider avoiding if you are trying to paint a mask with someone who’s under 4yrs old.
It doesn’t matter whether you choose full- or half-face masquerade masks either – you can get creative with both, and there’s no reason to limit yourself!
In a word, get stuck in! Once you’ve gathered all of your decorative items and decided what you want to make, the best thing to do is simply let your little one crack on and decorate their mask.
Generally speaking, they’ll want to paint any colors onto the mask before affixing decorations (which is often the exciting bit) and we’d strongly recommend getting all the paints put away before you start playing with glitter and sequins as the two don’t mix particularly well, and can quickly cause quite a mess!
If they need help with some of the more delicate elements, like shaping bits of ribbon, we’d also recommend that you step in to help until you’re sure that they’re safe, but otherwise, you can be relatively hands-off, and let them experiment to their hearts’ content.
Although it can often be difficult for smaller children to execute the exact design they are after, practice, and warm words of encouragement, are the perfect way to help them realise their end goal. It does sometimes help to plan the mask out first, as you would if you were decorating a mask for a proper masquerade party, but over-planning tends to bore most small children, and it can often be much better just to give your child free reign. It is meant to be a boredom-busting activity after all, and they are sure to love the end result irrespective of whether or not it actually looks like the thing they set out to make.
If you’re struggling to think of ideas, you might want to start with one of the three designs mentioned below:
Almost every superhero (or heroine) has a mask that hides their identity and protects their loved ones from retribution. These superhero masks can serve as inspiration for all manner of creative designs, whether that involves using blue and red paint to create something spiderman-esque, or sticking a foil ‘A’ on the forehead of a blue mask so that your child can play at being Captain America.
Comic books are the ultimate reference for this type of mask, and the sky really is the limit in terms of the different designs that you can try and emulate.
Combining black paint with delicate silver decorations, a pair of felt ears and a delicate set of ribbon or pipe-cleaner whiskers can be used to create a stunning cat mask that can be used for all kinds of fun play activities. These masks are also quite easy to make, and are a fantastic introduction to mask making that’ll suit boys and girls in equal measure.
For inspiration, why not take a look at our selection of grown-up cat masks, which could spark some really interesting designs. If you want a head start, you could also take a look at our blank cat masks, or our blank kitten masks, which give you a solid foundation to work on.
Regal colours like purple and red, an abundance of gold glitter and plenty of feathers can be combined to create a very royal-looking mask that’s sure to turn heads and stop the show. This mask idea works equally well with full- and half- faced masks, and can even be displayed on bedroom walls before and after play.
Why not take a look at our luxury feather masks for inspiration, and try to emulate some of the elements that you can see there.
Once they’re decorated, your child’s masquerade mask can be used to facilitate all sorts of fun and imaginative play. They are fairly robust and, as long as you’re careful, they should stand up to a fair amount of wear and tear.
If your child is really proud of their creation, we’d also encourage you to email us a picture – we’re always really thrilled to see the designs that people create using our masks, and we’d love to see what you’ve been up to! We can always be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, and look forward to hearing from you soon.