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Making Masks

by Renée Schwarz

Author, illustrator, and toy designer Renee Schwarz unmasks a new addition to the Kids Can Press series of craft books. Making Masks provides step-by-step instructions for 13 intriguing craft projects ideal for Halloween, drama class, or playing dress-up.

Schwarz’s introduction mentions how masks have been part of human culture for thousands of years, and she encourages readers to explore many possible personas. She then lists the supplies required for her projects, and clearly indicates when adult help is needed for safety reasons. This is followed by two pages of Tips and Techniques, including pointers on how to make eyeholes, the most effective painting methods, and how to master the sometimes tricky papier-mâché process.

Each mask has its own You Will Need section and clear step-by-step directions. Colour illustrations accompany each stage of construction, and a lovely colour photo shows each finished mask. Individual projects range in their complexity and the amount of time they take; the papier-mâché head of the Grumpy Green Gargoyle, for example, needs at least a day to dry. Others such as the Punk Bird call for the skill and patience of older children. In addition to the more traditional choices – Jolly Jester, Lordly Lion – Schwarz has included some novel characters such as the Lonely Alien and Dangerous Dinosaur. The results are all colourful and charming.

In a feature called Other Ideas, Schwarz shows how the masks can be varied or modified. Schwarz’s craft projects do double duty: once completed, they can be used for hours of dramatic play. – Jessica Kelley, a children’s librarian in Fresno, California.

Author, illustrator, and toy designer Renee Schwarz unmasks a new addition to the Kids Can Press series of craft books. Making Masks provides step-by-step instructions for 13 intriguing craft projects ideal for Halloween, drama class, or playing dress-up.

Schwarz’s introduction mentions how masks have been part of human culture for thousands of years, and she encourages readers to explore many possible personas. She then lists the supplies required for her projects, and clearly indicates when adult help is needed for safety reasons. This is followed by two pages of Tips and Techniques, including pointers on how to make eyeholes, the most effective painting methods, and how to master the sometimes tricky papier-mâché process.

Each mask has its own You Will Need section and clear step-by-step directions. Colour illustrations accompany each stage of construction, and a lovely colour photo shows each finished mask. Individual projects range in their complexity and the amount of time they take; the papier-mâché head of the Grumpy Green Gargoyle, for example, needs at least a day to dry. Others such as the Punk Bird call for the skill and patience of older children. In addition to the more traditional choices – Jolly Jester, Lordly Lion – Schwarz has included some novel characters such as the Lonely Alien and Dangerous Dinosaur. The results are all colourful and charming.

In a feature called Other Ideas, Schwarz shows how the masks can be varied or modified. Schwarz’s craft projects do double duty: once completed, they can be used for hours of dramatic play.