How to make a Paper Mache Mask
- Round Baloon
- Paper Mache Paste
- Plastic Wrap
Make sure you cover you work surface well. I usually set down newspaper first and then wax paper or plastic wrap on top of the newspaper. This is a very messy project!
Decide what size and shape of mask or head you want and choose the appropriate sized balloon. Blow up the balloon and tie it closed. Find a bowl or cup your balloon can sit in while you work on it. Completely cover the cup or bowl with plastic wrap so the paper mache does not stick to it. Also cover the table or work surface under the cup with the plastic wrap. Set your balloon in the cup or bowl and set it aside.
Tear several newspaper pages into strips. You will want them 1 inch wide and about 6 - 8 inches long. Set them aside.
Use a large bowl to prepare your paper mache paste. The paste will be sticky! I would suggest using a bowl that is easy to soak and clean (glass perhaps) or even a disposable bowl. Now you are ready to start with the paper mache!
Dip the newspaper strips into the glue and spread them onto the balloon. Completely cover the balloon, except for the area where it is sitting in the cup. Set aside and let this first layer dry.
Once the first layer is completely dry, use various supplies to make the facial features on your ballooen if desired. You can make a nose, ears, thick eye brows, lips, etc. Use cardboard, masking tape, foil, or other items shown. Use masking tape to hold everything in place.
Add atleast two more layers of paper mache to your balloon. Allow each layer to dry completely before putting on the next layer. Once it is dry, pop the balloon and remove it through the opening left at the bottom (If you cannot get the balloon out, don't worry about it too much - No one will see it).
You can now paint and decorate your mask or face as desired. You can add hair using yarn, thin scraps of material, or anything else you desire.
To make a more realistic shaped face, make as above except use a double layer of tin foil instead of a balloon. Use your face as a mold. Have someone help you gently press the tin foil to your face to get a nice face mold. While applying the first layer of newspaper and paste, make sure not to press on your mold too hard or it will lose its shape!
How to make a sock monkey.
- Pair of Socks
- Sewing Machine
- Needle & Thread
We start by making the body and legs of the monkey. First, turn one of the socks inside out and flatten it so that the heel is centered (as in the picture above). Use your pen and straight edge to draw a line down the center of the leg. You're going to sew alongside this to create the monkey's legs, starting about an inch or so from the heel (his bum). In my case, I'm going to start sewing at the first dark brown stripe below the heel. I've already put pins along the sides to hold the sock together. (This is particularly useful when you've got a design like stripes that'll look bad if it doesn't line up somewhat.)
Here I'm beginning to sew the first leg. Note: You don't sew on your pen line; you sew on either side of it (thus creating two legs). The width of your machine's presser foot - about 1/4 inch - is just right. As I said, start at the top about an inch or so below the heel. Be sure to back up a little to secure your stitches. (For those in the know, you may want to use a ballpoint needle on your machine if you've got one. Otherwise, don't worry about it.) Sew all the way down til you get to the sock's cuff. Then stop every so often and turn the sock so you round off the foot. You can see this better on the next page. (And yes, I sew over my pins. I'm very naughty.)
Here you can see my line of stitching down the sock and the way I've turned it to round off the foot. Don't worry if you can't get the curve perfect; mine turn out pretty angular actually. Once you've finished the foot, take a few backstitches to secure the seam and break the thread. Then go back to the heel and do the same thing again on the other side of your pen line. This next picture shows the end result pretty well.
Here you can clearly see the seam lines delineating the legs, each ending in a rounded off foot. Now it's time to separate them! Use your scissors and cut along your pen line up from the cuff towards the heel. Stop where you started sewing. You've now got an inside out monkey torso!
Your inside-out monkey torso has a convenient hole in the crotch through which you can turn him rightside-out. Do this now. You can cut the hole a little bigger if you're having trouble pulling him through, but try to keep it as small as possible. A chopstick or knitting needle can be helpful for pushing his legs out properly. Here he is, all ready to be stuffed!
We sew the tail just like we did the legs. Start at the toe (but not in the toe itself; we're just going to throw that away) and sew all the way down to the cuff, rounding off the end again. This time sew on the line.
Cutting time! Start by cutting off the toe of the sock. You won't need that anymore. Now we're going to free the tail. Cut as shown along your sewn seam all the way to the cuff. (Again, I generally try to have a quarter-inch seam allowance, but you can get a little closer if you need to.)
For eyes, I like to use matching buttons. (I've also used "googley" eyes in the past but I think they look a little scary.) My buttons came from the bargain bin at my local sewing shop. Just pick out two you like and tack the first one down. I knot this thread a few times and then pull it down into the body to start. Once you've secured the button, take the thread down into the body and bring it back up for the second eye. After you've secured that, you can bring the thread up in the face to complete the smile. You can choose any embroidery stitch you want. I tend to use a bastardized version of the stem stitch, but a backstitch would work well too. It's up to you! When you're done, knot the thread and hide it down in the body.
First, a word of warning. Don't try to make this perfect. There's no easy way to sew two tubes together at right angles. Just do your best and know you'll get better with each one. The general idea here is just like it was with the crotch - fold raw edges inside and use small tight stitches to graft everything together. We start with the tail. I knot a length of thread and bring it up from inside the tail near the seam to secure it. Then fold the raw edges inside, pinch a bit of the tail to the body, and start tacking it down with stitches. Try not to stretch the tail "circle" out too far. I try to keep the long tail seam at the bottom to hide it (but sometimes the tail rotates a bit as you sew it). I generally go around the tail twice to make it as strong as possible. Then secure your thread and hide the loose end in the body.