How to Make a Recyclable Mask

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Masks add mystery and excitement to festive social gatherings such as Halloween and Mardi Gras parties. Masks are also used in cultural celebrations and for amateur and professional theatrical performances. Teachers can especially benefit of undertaking recyclable mask activities to save budget funds for more pressing expenses. You can create masks for any such occasions and classroom projects for free by using recyclable materials and found objects around your home, school or office and in your neighborhood.

Things You'll Need

  • Product boxes
  • Corrugated cardboard (optional)
  • Glue
  • Craft scissors
  • Craft blade
  • Found objects
  • Open the sides of an empty product box. Lay it flat on a table, printed side down, and draw the mask's shape on the unprinted side of the box. You can draw the mask shape freehand or use a stencil if making a specific image such as a cartoon character or animal. Cut out the mask shape with a new or sharp pair of craft scissors. Cut the face details with a craft blade. Alternatively, you can draw your mask on recycled corrugated cardboard and cut the mask out with a craft blade if you need a more sturdy mask.

  • Color and texture the mask surface. Use glue to attach magazine and newspaper pages to to add color and detail. Texture the surface with fragments of pine cones and other dried plants. You can also texture a mask surface by painting on a mixture of clear glue and sand that you acquire at a beach or other free source.

  • Embellish the mask with trim from old or tattered clothing. Gather items such as disposable chopsticks you acquire at a restaurant, colorful disposable coffee cups, decorative bottle tops and even colorful hard candy. Attach heavier items with a hot glue gun to create a stronger bond. You can also make pin holes in heavier masks made from corrugated cardboard and attach some embellishments, such as buttons, with string.

  • Cut strips from the fabric of old T-shirts, stockings or other stretchable textiles to create the mask cord. Old shoe strings can also be used as recyclable mask cords, but must be disinfected with bleach and washed with laundry detergent to remove any bacteria that might cause irritation to your face, ears or scalp.

Tips & Warnings

  • To make a mask that can be disposed of at a recycling center when it's outlived its use, choose only materials that you know to be recyclable such as cardboard, paper, heavy plastics and metals.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images
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