Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Project: Bird Masks for the Blackbird Festival

Last year, I was fortunate to help in a minor part for our local Blackbird Festival based on the children's book by Tomie DePaola. I made cookies and some table decorations, and wall art for one part of the festival. This year, the lovely ladies of the Wilmot Public Library are creating a Blackbird celebration for the children of the area. They will be acting out the story from the book Days of the Blackbird, while its narrated by a favorite townsperson. I volunteered to help and was asked to help with the masks.
In brief, the story tells the tale of a king and his daughter. During the coldest days of the winter, the usually colorful and white birds take shelter in the chimneys for warmth and come out black. So, the kids were going to wear bird masks, of all colors PLUS the black bird masks.
First rendition of the Blackbird mask
I set out to create some simple masks. Since the goal was to make enough if there were an abundance of interested children, I decided to use paper plates for the white birds. As it turns out, the simple paper plates have ridges along the sides which add to the illusion of feathers. The plates are durable and have enough "body" to stand up to the elastic that holds it on the little child's face. After a couple of prototypes, I finally came up with a workable sample that was fairly simple to make and looked reasonable.
I sketched in some feathers on the actual sample and  was pleased with the outcome.
Template, click, download and print on 8.5"x11" paper
You can download the above template, print it out, cut it out and use it to make a child's mask. Just add elastic to keep it in place.
Here are the steps.
The beak requires some folding. The lines are on the underside of the beak, so it's OK if they show. I adhered tape to the top of the beak to attach it to the mask. Lastly, I wanted to make colored birds and originally was going to paint the paper plates, then cut the out. But, I came to my senses and used colored card stock to save a step.
Blackbird Mask
Green Bird Mask 
Yellow Bird Mask

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