Mask making is one of those time-honored traditions for keeping little hands busy at Purim. Whether it is at a Purim carnival, home seudah, or religious school session, mask-making is big. If you are tasked with creating a mask-making station either for your own home seudah or shul, I’ve gathered by top 10 tips for doing it well. I’ve even provided a downloadable shopping list to ease getting the supplies together.
#1 ESTIMATE YOUR AUDIENCE
Before you go shopping, figure out how many people are coming and out of those, how many people are likely to make a mask. If 300 tickets were sold for your carnival, that doesn’t mean you need 300 masks. Only about 1/2 of the kids will probably want to make a mask. For a home seudah, more kids will want to make a mask since you won’t have that many other activities are going on, so you will want to buy for 100% of your intended audience. Remember too, some adults may want to make a mask (ahem) so consider them too.
#2 DON’T BE CRUEL
The biggest cruelty item is on a mask-making station is the feathers. Most feathers that are for sale in craft shops were harvested in ways you don’t even want to think about. And once you start thinking about it, you’ll never look at them the same. You can buy cruelty-free feathers though. If the feathers are cruelty-free, it will say so on the package. If it doesn’t say, they aren’t. Now get this: your mask-making station is going to be just fine without the feathers. No kid is going to say, “Hey, this is fun, but where are the feathers?” So, don’t buy feathers unless it clearly states they are cruelty free.
#3 NOT ALL MASKS ARE GOOD FOR CRAFTING
Buy satin mask blanks of various sizes and shapes. Plastic blanks may be cheaper but they are very difficult to get anything to adhere to.
#4 ALL THAT GLITTERS ISN’T GOLD
Avoid loose glitter at all costs. It makes an unholy mess not just at the table and on the floor, but it gets in the kids clothes and all over their hands. Opt for glitter glue instead if you must. Really, it would be preferable to avoid even that but the kids do love it so.
#5 DON’T LEAVE THE TABLE UNATTENDED
Mask-making tables are used and abused. Someone should attend to the table to help the little kids, provide inspiration (optional), and tidy up frequently. Even if you are short on volunteers, have someone check into the station regularly and straighten-up so it is nice for the later guests.
#6 CONTAIN YOURSELF
Provide containers for pretty much everything on the table. It makes transportation and clean-up that much easier as well as helping to make everything tidy.
#7 PLAN FOR SIZE
Consider the amount of supplies you have and how that will fit on a table. You want to make sure there is enough workspace. In addition, your table should be a good height for most of the makers. You can provide a stool for a few little ones, but most people will stand.
#8 COVER THE TABLE
Glue and everything will get on the table…even with adults crafting. The perfect covering are those plastic party table covers. You can shake the filth off over a trash can and then recycle it.
#9 ECONOMY SUPPLIES ARE GREAT…IF THEY DON’T LOOK ECONOMY
You can use old fabric (cut into small pieces), bits of aluminum foil, buttons, bottle caps, etc. for supplies at the table. Not only are you upcycling but these items add a lot of character and the kids of “real” things to craft with. Presentation is key for these types of supplies. If you have fabric pieces cut and neatly stacked it looks inviting and kids will want to use it. If you have an old nightgown laying on the table no one is going to “get it”.
#10 CREATE A SHOPPING LIST
Walking inside a craft shop without a shopping list is dangerous to the pocketbook. There are so many wonderful things but there are supplies that are worth it cost-wise and others that are not. I’ve created this downloadable shopping list to get you started.
With these tips I hope you feel more equipped to handle the task if you are assigned to do it for your community. Even not, a mask-making station is a great activity for kids if you are having a Purim seudah. It is also a fun activity for an adult party too. Go for it!