Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sea Creatures Mask

So I've been inspired by my planning for our trip to Key West in August for the Lobsterfest craft fair to do some beach themed crafts.  This one is a Sea Creature Mask and is a lot of fun to make, whether you can do it at the beach or at home in a sand box.

What you need: 
Beach stuff such as shells, sea glass, driftwood, etc
Plaster of Paris
Water bucket

What to do:
In a perfect world, you would do this project at the beach, picking a moist hard packed strip of sand just above the wet tidal sand.  But if you are landlocked, just pour some sand at least 3-4 inches deep and 10 inches tall (an old cake pan works great for this), and wet it and pack it tight.

1) Dig an oval/face shaped hole into the sand that measures about 5-8 inches tall by 2 inches deep.
2) Arrange you beach findings to make a face.  Remember to tell your kids that they are looking at the face in reverse, so to put the side they want showing face down into the sand.
3) Mix the Plaster of Paris in the water bucket based on the package instructions (if you are lucky enough to be at the beach, just use seawater).  A standard box will make 3-6 masks, depending on their sizes.  Usually a think creamy consistency works best.  Too runny and the plaster will seep under your findings and cover them up, too thick and the plaster will dislodge messing up the mask.
4) Pour the plaster over your hand, held about an inch or two above the hole, to break it's fall and make sure your findings don't get disturbed.  Make the plaster layer about an inch thick.
5) Tie a knot at both ends of your string.  When the plaster begins to thicken, press the knots into each side of the mask to create a hanger. 
6) Once the plaster begins to harden, but is not too firm, dig the sand away from the mask (rather than just pulling the mask out).  Then use water to gently wash away any flaws as you will have a few moments to manipulate the plaster's surface before it hardens completely.

Hope you enjoy this as much as we did!  Pictures will be posted soon.