★ Mask Making Tutorials | How to Make a Paper Mache Halloween Mask with Cardboard & Wire Mesh ★
Sculpt, Paint, Decorate & Sew Your Own Masks
Making masks is something most kids have done, whether at school or at home, and no doubt lots of adults have made masks too! It's a very fun (and cheap) rainy day or party activity, and for adults it's a great project if like to dress up for fancy dress parties and Halloween adventures :)
On this page I have included a tutorial showing how I made a face mask from card, wire mesh and paper mache, which is one of a huge variety of techniques you can try. I've also provided links to many more design ideas, mask-making methods and even free printables.
I hope you enjoy the page and I hope it inspires you to have a go!
Detailed Bane Mask
Card, Felt & Paper Mache Masks for Children
- Felt Raccoon Mask
Free template for this layered hand-sewn animal mask.
- Superhero Eye Mask
With a contrasting bias tape border.
- Card Animal Masks
How to make a symmetrical template from a grocery bag.
- No-Sew Mask Templates
Glue felt layers into a range of animals including a koala and a fox.
- DIY Lion, Owl & Panda Designs
I like the idea of padding out some facial features to make them 3D.
- Padded Cardboard Masks
This method creates fantastic looking results, and is very versatile.
- A Fitted Paper Mache Mask
Apply paper strips directly to your face for a basic contoured mask.
- Full-Face Wolf Mask
Nicely designed wolf mask made with different shades of grey felt.
- Halloween Bat Mask
How to make a bat shaped mask; perfect for Halloween and Batman fans!
- 3 Superhero Mask Patterns
Choose the design you want and make one easily in 10 minutes.
- Fluffy Koala Mask
Really cute faux fur ears.
A Selection of Fun Mask Kits for Kids
These crafty kits provide all the fun bits 'n' bobs children need to make and decorate their only awesome masks! Perfect for a party activity too.
Masquerade Masks, Printables & More
- Chic & Delicate Masquerade Mask
Lacy design on tulle fabric, created with black puff paint.
- Christmas Ornament Masquerade MAsk
Beautiful eggshell effect created with pieces of broken ornaments.
- Orange & Black Chequerboard
Glittery design which would be perfect for a Halloween party.
- 3 Glamorous Mask Ideas
One musical themed, one showgirl themed, and the other a sparkly cat!
- Feathery Masquerade Mask
Be as flamboyant as you like with colorful feathers!
- Feline Fabric Masks
Sew your own kitty masks which are a bit more grown-up in style.
- Free Dinosaur Masks
Print out your own T-Rex, tyrannosaur or triceratops.
- Mardi Gras Mask Printables
Classic carnival masks in purple.
- 6 Halloween Mask Freebies
Download designs including a pumpkin, a cat and a skeleton.
- Christmas Masks to Download
Print your own Santa, Rudolph or elf masks.
Step 1 of Mask Making
Creating the base of the mask is always the first step. The base is often felt or cardboard, but in this case I have used a wire mesh that is designed for modelling purposes.
Once a base is created, it can then be built up with more card, newspaper, paper mache, wire, or clay if desired, or you can leave it plain.
The last step is the 'finishing and embellishment' step which can be in the form of paint, sequins, feathers, beads or anything else you wish.
Fine Wire Mesh for Modelling
I would recommend that you try to find a fine and bendable mesh for your mask project, and try to make sure that it can be molded with your hands. The wire mesh I used did the job but it was too stiff really and I would go for something more easy to manipulate next time.
Also, it's best to wear work gloves and eye protection when handling wire mesh as the edges are sharp. Always best to be safe than sorry!
This particular product looks like an ideal choice for the mask base, as it is a fine mesh and is designed to enable fine detailing and easy shaping.
Step 2: Molding the Mask Shape
I took a sheet of the mesh and carefully tried to shape the sheet onto the contours of my face. It doesn't need to fit accurately; you just want the basic shape so that the mask curves around your face rather than being flat.
The difficult bit was creating the space for my nose, as a gentle curve wouldn't do; it had to be a substantial indent (especially for my big nose!) I used wire cutters to cut out sections of the mesh where necessary for shaping, and then I overlapped the wire ends on the newly made edges to join them back together again.
You'll need to remove excess mesh in this way in any area that needs much shaping. You can see in the photo that I cut and re-joined the mesh down the center line only, excluding the nose area in order to make it protrude.
The last step is to cut the outside border of the mesh to the size you want the mask base to be. In this example I wanted full face coverage but no more; I can always build the mask up to make it bigger in later stages.
The last bit of this step was to paper mache small strips of newspaper onto the front of the mask and leave it to dry.
The Paper Mache on the Front of the Mask
Close-ups of the front.
I did a few layers of the paper mache to make it stable. I also make quite a severe curve at the top of the mask to cover my forehead and make it easier later on to attach a wig to the mask. Shape your own mask how you want it to look - there are no rules!
The Inside of the Mask
A close-up photo to show where I cut and shaped the mesh. It can take quite a bit of time to do this, with lots of tweaking here and there and continuously holding the mask up to my face to check the progress. The mesh I used was a bit stiff though; it would be easier with softer materials.
The Paper Mache Mix I Used
I bought this 'Scola Cell extra strong cellulose adhesive powder' as a pre-made paper mache mix (off Ebay). I just had to mix some of the powder with water in a pot, following the instructions.
Paper Mache Mix
Just mix with water to make a paste and away you go!
Step 3: Paper Mache the Base
I paper mached both sides of the wire mesh to cover it completely, making sure to cover the sharp edges well.
Step 4: Building up the Features
I decided that I wanted a crazy-looking face on my mask, so I set about scrunching and rolling pieces of newspaper into different shapes and taping the pieces to the base. Some of the areas like the eyes and the mouth I decided to build up in cardboard first, which you can see in the photos.
Note: Try to use small pieces of tape for this step, and try not to cover too much of the surface with tape. This is because paper mache sticks much easier to paper than tape :)
Mask Making Latex
If you are looking to push the boundaries and learn how to make more realistic masks, you can have a go at experimenting with latex.
Using this material will require a bit more investment in equipment and tools compared to other methods but the results can be very cool. There are excellent books on the subject (and YouTube videos) if you want to learn more.
Step 5: Paper Mache Again
I then added another layer or two of paper mache over the taped-on features. I was happy with the shape and look of it so I didn't need to make any more changes. This point is the last point I could have made any design or shape changes.
Step 6: Spray Paint
I took the mask outside, laid it onto some newspaper and spray painted it in white acrylic spray paint. I had to do a few layers so that I could no longer see the newsprint.
The reason I did this was to 'prime' the surface ready for painting the final layer on. If I didn't block out the newsprint now it would show through on the final product unless I used thick paint. It's also much nicer and easier to paint onto a plain white surface.
Acrylic paints are the go-to paints for so many arts and craft projects. I'm going to use acrylic paints to add the final design to my mask.
The First Layer of Spray Paint
The Last Layer of Paint
I used 3 layers to make sure that it was all coated.
To Be Continued....
Paper Mache Masks
Mask Making Books
If you want more ideas for mask designs, or perhaps you want to learn how to use more advanced mask making techniques, then these books will provide you with everything you require!