Just 7 days left of the school year , and I feel like I’m at the end ofa marathon with just enough energy to keep pushing through, but barely. It’s a whirlwind of activities and commitments for the kids; this week alone we have had open house night at school, the strings program concert, and a festival night at the school that my husband teaches at. Next week there’s the bake sale for my son’s 6th grade class, carwash fundraiser and the class play.
Nothing to do but keep putting on foot in front of the other and do the next thing that is before you. Which today is dog masks.
Let me explain: I am helping with the costumes for the aforementioned class play. It is the 6th grade and as a part of their studies of medieval Europe they are performing Robin Hood.
Apparently in this version (which remember has to accommodate a part for 30+ children) there is a scene which includes 6 dogs, (hounds released by the Abbott I think) and we so we need 6 dog costumes. No problem right?
Thinking back, perhaps to a costume my mother made for Oami and I when we were just two or three, (little goblin costumes that consisted of a mask and a stuffed tail over a simple leotard and tights) I was inspired. Well, Mom’s masks were amazing – authentic creations made of paper mache and beautifully painted – whereas I was thinking more along the lines of a felt mask of a dog face and a stuffed pantyhose for a tail, but nonetheless….
Originally my idea was to just create the plan and templates, and have the kids who are going to play the dogs make their own masks. But as I said we are running down the clock, with only a few days left until the play and the class busy learning their lines and blocking their scenes. After conferring with the other busy-volunteering-moms who were working on costumes I decided that a Saturday night in front of a netflix, with some scissors, felt and a glue gun was much more practical and quick (although admittedly a more ‘helicopter-mom’ approach and not as much of an “experiential learning opportunity” for the kids, sorry 6th graders).
And then in a moment of busy-mom genius I decided that as well as making these dog masks for the play, I would blog about making these dog masks for the play! Thus crossing off another “to-do” on my epic to-do list and killing two birds with one stone.
So in the vein of last week’s post where my sister wanted to practice more online honesty, (citing this blog wherein the author made a plead for less unrealistic perfection and more truthful revelations) I am going to give you a honest tutorial.
Not the usual step-by-step, pintrest-worthy craft tutorial on how to make the perfect dog mask BUT RATHER the Busy Mom’s slap-happy, it’s-all guesswork-and-glue-gun style tutorial, and hopefully by the end of it we will end up with something cool. Ready? Here goes:
You will need –
*Pieces of felt from a craft store in at least two colors. More if you want to get fancy. I used dog colors: tan, black and white.
*Elastic or ribbon for attaching the mask.
*Hot glue gun (be careful) or white glue. I actually prefer white glue with felt but didn’t have any on hand.
1. Have a hazy but inspired idea for a simple way to make 6 dog masks for the upcoming 6th grade play.
2. Search around the interwebs for an image that would solidify this plan into crafty reality. Main goal is to find something simple to reproduce but still resembling a dog, like this one:
3. Have artistic husband (and quick cartoon-er) draw up a basic template. Thanks dear.
4. Cut out the paper version to make sure it will work as a mask. It does. Good, now we have our pattern.
5. Make a couple of copies of the drawing to use for paper templates. Make extra copies for my little kids to color in because it looks like something out of coloring book and I know they are going to do it anyway…
6. Cut out a second set of templates for the over-lapping color to define the face (ear-flap, muzzle, nose, eye ‘patch).
7. Meet other busy-moms at school one morning to cut all our fabric for costumes. They had already gone shopping at a craft supply store and had found everything we needed for school-grade costumes: felt, pleather, shiny sequin material (“chain mail”), feathers, etc. I took home a bag of dog-supplies and got to work.
8. Let the kids play Legos endlessly while I cut out the first mask. Looks good: all the pieces line up, it should be easy to glue and I can see out of it. I show the kids and my six year-old declares “I like it…I like it alot”. It’s a go!
9. Get slightly distracted deciding that ‘this is what I should blog about this week’, and sit down at the computer to chronicle my steps so far.
10. Carry on. Try putting together one entire mask as a model. Heat up glue gun, (while remembering to start dinner, we have to eat early to make it on time to that strings concert I mentioned) and attempt to glue gun the felt pieces together (in-between ironing the kid’s nice black pants for said concert).
Simultaneously attempt to photograph oneself glue-gunning. It’s not easy.
11. Finish first mask and have one of the kids try it on. Become momentarily discouraged upon realizing that it looks more like a raccoon than a dog, but decide to add an ear detail and soldier on.
12. Continue with cutting out felt shapes, assembly-line style for the next 5 masks. Try some different color combinations to, you know, add variety to the dog pack. Some combinations look better and more dog-like than others, but Busy Mom ultimately remembers this important point: ‘these dogs are going to be running across the stage for like 5 seconds, what does it really matter what these dang masks look like, they don’t have to be perfect‘…
13. Continue working with a much improved attitude.
14. Keep that good attitude because you might need it. This mask project took Busy Mom close to three days but that’s most likely because of being, ahem, a busy mom and having to juggle housework, meals, kids with stomach cramps and other domestic disasters. Take away those hurdles and the whole project would probably take a couple of hours start to finish.
15. Stay up late, watching School of Rock (Joan Cusack is Busy Mom’s comic hero!) and working on the masks until I run out of glue sticks and decide to hand sew the elastic mask-straps on.
16. Stitch, stitch, stitch
17. Assemble the finished products all together and feel proud – they look pretty good!
The final test will be to take them to dress rehearsal this week and see how they work for the 6th graders. Although the elastic straps are sewn on they can be cut and tied if they are too big, or we will just work some magic with safety pins. Since the play isn’t until Friday we won’t get to see busy Mom’s handiwork in action until then but I will try to post a picture of the cast in full dog regalia afterwards, so if you are really interested, check back here later.
In the meantime, the little pups under my feet will have to do as models:
So that’s it, masks done and Busy Mom signing off. Until next time:
May your days be crafty and your projects be easy!