Gourds make wonderful mask. Indigenous people from around the world have used gourds through the centuries to make both useful and decorative items. The Cherokee Indians in North Carolina are known for their Booger Masks, scary masks used at one time to frighten off their enemies. Here is a gourd mask that’s not too scary to make with and for kids.
You will need; a hard shell gourd large enough for the mask, a banana gourd for the nose, Gorilla Glue, acrylic paint, feathers, masking tape, elastic for the strap, acrylic clear coat spray.
Hard shell gourds can be purchased locally at Farmer’s Markets, from gourd growers or online. To find a gourd grower in your state visit the American Gourd Societies web site at www.americangourdsociety.org.
There are many different varieties of hard shell gourds that can be used for this project. If ordering online, sight unseen, let the gourd grower know what you intend to do with the gourd and the size gourd you will need. The gourd mask shown is being worn by a five year old and started out as a large birdhouse gourd.
Gourds are often sold cleaned and unclean. Unclean gourds are cheaper and can save you money, but for all the mess and bother I would suggest purchasing gourds already cleaned.
Begin by cutting the gourd in half lengthwise. This can be done using a dremil tool, a jig saw or an exacto knife. Clean out the inside of the gourd, removing any seeds and all the “gourd guts”.
Next cut out two eyes. Try to judge where the eyes will go in relation to the head that will be wearing the mask. It is better to have large eye holes rather then holes that are too small to see out of. Drill a hole on each side of the mask where the elastic will go to hold the mask in place on the child’s head.
Add the nose. Cut off one end of a banana gourd. Glue it into place using Gorilla Glue. Tape the nose into place with masking place. Allow the nose to dry overnight.
Now for the fun part and the part of the mask that kids can do. Remove the masking tape. Using acrylic paint, decorate the mask. Choose wild colors and lots of markings and lines. Use your imagination; there is no right or wrong way.
Allow the mask to dry and then spray with a clear coat acrylic. When dry, position feathers around the edge of the mask and have adult glue the feathers in place using Gorilla Glue. Allow the feathers to dry overnight.
Thread the elastic band through the holes and tie at each end. The end product will be a fun mask suitable for playing make believe, Halloween or even hanging on the wall as a decoration.