Friday, October 19, 2012

Marvelous Multicultural Milk Jug Masks

Recycled materials make for exciting art possibilities!  

Fifth graders used plastic milk jugs to create masks inspired by those of other cultures.

First we collaged tissue paper onto the surface. We learned about analogous colors- colors next to each other on the color wheel.
Then we looked at masks made by other cultures in North America, South America, Africa, and the Asian Pacific Islands. 
Students observed interesting shapes and details then drew these in their journals. 
Inspired with ideas, we reviewed paper sculpture techniques, found the "treasure box " of recycled materials and began creating.

Here are just some of the wonderful sculptures! 

Our principal visited in time to try on Katie's mask! 

Through this lesson, we learned that people make masks for reasons such as disguise, protection, religion, drama and celebration.  As a wrap up art journal activity, students imagined why someone might wear their mask.


  1. These are pretty special! Creative and colorful :)

    1. Thanks so much! The kids are very proud of their finished products

  2. These turned out great! I've seen a few versions of this on Pinterest. I've been thinking about it..but wondering about storage. I have 100+ students per grade level. Even if I did one grade level...that would be a LOT of milk jugs to deal with. hmmmm...

  3. Thanks for your comment! We did a service project last year creating butterflies with milk jugs using only two sides of the jug, so I saved the other sides for this year. Each jug yields two masks. I also wondered about storage, but found that I could actually stack some of them to dry and they didn't stick together. A heads up... ask people to send in washed out jugs (Some were a bit smelly)!

  4. These are awesome! What great work done by the fifth graders and Mrs. Monahan!

  5. This might be a silly question, but did you use modge podge or something else to make the tissue paper stick? I am not an art teacher, but have a club on Fridays where we create crafts our of recycled materials and I really want to do these. Thanks for your help?

  6. We used watered down Elmer's Glue and spread it on with inexpensive foam brushes from our local craft store. After covering the whole mask, students spread another layer of glue to smooth the surface. Modge Podge would work well if you have it, especially to add a sheen to the final layer. Good luck!

  7. Thank you so much! I think I will do the watered down Elmer's Glue. Modge Podge is so expensive. Thanks for the idea!