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Make a Mask of King Tutankhamen for Kids
A death mask is a sculpture created from a person’s face after they die. A death mask is a special effect that cast the facial features and are mementos of the dead. Tutankhamen was a King in Egypt’s 18th dynasty and his age of death is estimate to be between 16 to 17 years old. The boy king has become the most famous Egyptian Pharaoh since the discovery of his tomb and his death mask in 1922. To make a Tutankhamen death mask an artist will use plaster strips to create a sculpture of a model’s face.
If you are interested in learning more about special effects, see the video below on professional makeup artistry from the Tom Savini School of Special Effects.
- Model (a person to apply the plaster strips on)
- Image of Tutankhamen death mask
- Cardboard (lightweight)
- Masking tape
- Plastic sheet, towel or sheet
- Petroleum jelly
- Roll of plaster gauze strips
- Warm water
- Clean up soap & towel
- Find someone to be a model for the mask.
- Sketch out Tutankhamen headpiece on cardboard. Refer to the image as a guide and make the size fit the model for the death mask. This may be sketch as one piece or in sections. If creating sections, tape the headpiece together using masking tape.
- Place the headpiece on the model and tuck any hair behind the headpiece. Use a scarf or headband if necessary.
- Cover clothing with plastic, a towel or a sheet.
- Smooth out petroleum jelly over the model’s face including lips and give extra attention to any hair such as eyebrows and eyelashes.
- Tear or cut strips of plaster gauze cut into manageable pieces.
- Wet the plaster strips by placing in warm water. The strips should be wet but not dripping.
- Apply the strips so the outer edge of the model’s face and inner edge of the cardboard is covered. Work around the edges first of the face and cardboard first, smoothing out the strips to remove any creases.
- Work inwards to cover the face. Cover the nose and mouth last and use a straw to help the model breath. Decide whether to cover the outer section now or after the face section is removed.
- Repeat the process until you have three layers.
- Allow the plaster to harden for around 15 to 20 minutes and then carefully remove the mask. The model should help by wiggling their face a little bit to loosen the plaster.
- Clean up with soap and water.
- Finish the plastering by covering the hole created by the straw and the outer edge of the headpiece if necessary.
- Let dry overnight and then paint the next day. Refer to the image for a color guide.
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