For Francine Krause, a belly mask was a natural extension of her artistic talent and her early lessons in Art School of body casting. Her original intention was to do a belly mask every month of pregnancy when pregnant with her first in 1986. She did, however, make five masks during her pregnancy.
Eventually as her friends became pregnant they asked her to help them create belly masks. "I learned that making a belly mask was exhilarating for the women, " says Krause, "Everyone loved the process."
After leading one on one sessions and eventually workshops, Krause put together a kit and a set of through instructions over eight years ago.
A belly mask is a plaster cast of a pregnant belly. You take plaster impregnated gauze and smooth it over your bare belly until it hardens and viola! You have your belly!
Now belly masks are popping up all over the place. Her belly masks have been shown in Parents Magazine, USA Today, The Expectant Father, and on CNN.
Why would someone want to make a belly mask? The women I know who have personally done them, love having this tangible remembrance of their pregnancy available. Many will paint or embellish the belly mask with personal touches, while others hang them up without anything else.
Krause says that more than 50% of her customers are men who enjoy the making of the mask as something that they can help share a part of pregnancy with their partners. These also make excellent gifts and would be a lot of fun to do at a baby shower or Blessingway.
Her kits sell for $65 and include everything you need to make a belly mask from your neck to your thighs (She even sells a special kit for multiples!). Each kit contains:
- Plaster impregnated Gauze
- Unpetroleum Jelly
- Jar of Gesso (Acrylic Priming Paint)
- Bristle Brush for the Gesso
- Instructions with illustrations