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Mask-Making Made Easy
Mask-Making Is Easier Than You Think!
I love masks! I have made and collected masks for the last three decades. I liked playing dress-up as a child so much, I studied costuming and makeup in college. Here I share some of my how-tos for mask-making with pictures and crafting tips.
You really have a lot of options when it comes to making masks. They can be made from simple paper, or you can get very complicated with materials.
You can make a mask for yourself, or work on projects with your kids or students. And there are also lots of other mask-related goods and goodies!
Pre-Made Forms 1 - Full Face Masks
You can start a mask quick with a ready-made mask form
This mask was made using a store-bought mask blank. I know you've all seen this one, it's just a blank white face with two eyes, two small nostrils and a squarish mouth slit.
I glued a handmade paper over the surface of the mask. The paper is black with little bits of gold leaf and tinsel in it. I trimmed the edges of it to match the mask once the glue dried.
Then I glued on a strip of maribou feather for hair. This went on even easier than the mask surface, as the paper held the glue better. Small pieces of gold webbing were glued over the eyes on the inside of the mask. A gold paint pen was used to outline the eyes and to paint the lips.
Artistically, I'm really happy with it. To wear, it's just ok. These masks only wear as well as the generic form fits your face. I find it gets kinda close and humid very soon in it. The eye effect is nice, but my own eyelashes brush the webbing when I wear the mask which is a little distracting.
This is the textbook/reference used by people doing stagecraft and theatrical work. Fantastic resource for building any kind of mask. I got started with this sort of mask guide in college.
Making Papier-mache Masks
Papier-mache is cheap, lightweight and strong for mask-making
Wanting to make masks that fit better and where I could design all the facial features, I turned to papier-mache to make my mask bases. Since I was taking a mask-making class in college, I got to make a plaster cast of my face.
Once I had the cast sculpture of my face, making a mask form became a case of putting plasticine on the casting and then sculpting it into the face I wanted the mask to have. By working on a form of your own face, you automatically have the fit working.
Once the sculpture part was done, the papier-mache was made using torn brown paper grocery bags and a mix of 50/50 Elmer's Glue and water. You want to tear the paper bags into small pieces. DO NOT CUT THE PAPER BAG. You really need the torn, rough edge to make successful mache, a cut edge won't dry flat and your mask will have little ends curling up all over it. By overlapping these little torn bits of paper, you actually wind up building a very strong and lightweight structure.
Papier-mache masks can then be painted with gesso and sanded (you'll need to do a few coats) which will make the surface totally smooth and blank, ready for any sort of art finishing. I've also done masks where I used tissue paper, and the mask coloring forms naturally with the application of the colored tissue paper. Masks like that take a LOT of layers to be strong enough. Handmade papers from Japan and India are fantastic for mask-making.
The half-mask here was built of grocery bag papier-mache and then painted with an acrylic paint to seal it against moisture as well as decorate it. A tiny round of feathers, meant for hats, was cut in two and the pieces were glued into the deep eye sockets to make the wild eyelashes.
I will mention one mask I made this way where I didn't hardly build up the features much from my own. The finished mask fit so tightly to my own face, I couldn't move it hardly or talk while wearing it, so don't be afraid to exaggerate those facial features a bit more. It makes for a much better mask wearing experience.... LOL....
Extensive instructions are given here for masks of plaster, clay, laminated paper, papier-mÃ¢chÃ©, buckram, wire, and celastic (a plastic-impregnated fabric), plus directions for final embellishments, finishing techniques, and maskmaking with children.
Pre-Made Forms 2 - The Half Mask
I made a second mask using a pre-made mask form, this one was just a half mask. I had a big hackle of maribou that I was all set to use, and fringe, so that gave the basic shape to the mask.
For the mask face surface, I used Friendly Plastic. It heats up in hot water, becoming stretchy and then hardens again when it cools. I had a bunch of pink glitter FP that I got on sale or something, so I decided to use it for the mask.
The nice edge on the feathers and the fringe made gluing all the trims onto the plastic easy. The plastic stuck pretty well to the fabric-like surface of the mask, but I glued it in a few places for good measure. I glued fabric on the inside as a lining too.
Artistically I was happy with this mask, and it wore pretty well. The only thing was the plastic made the face part of it pretty heavy. It's not a mask for a long night out.
Step-by-step instructions make the thirteen unique masks featured a snap to create and decorate. Whether it's for a Halloween party, a school play or just for dress-up, a little imagination is all it takes for children to conceal their faces -- and reveal someone new in their places!
This do-it-yourself guide gives detailed instructions for making paper masks-how to cut, fold, score, model, paint and decorate them. Make masks of people, clowns, birds and animals (lion, cat, dog, fox, bear, monkey, more). 93 black-and-white illustrations.
Construction Tips & Tricks
- Props a.k.a Masks
A good mask is very difficult to make but very rewarding. Don't be afraid to make mistakes or take risks and above all don't be precious with your work. Masks as tools of performance.
- khmer mask making
The odd football-shaped cement forms lying on the ground are moulds for the faces of the characters of the Reamker, the Khmer version of the Ramayana. There is the monkey Hanuman, and elsewhere, a yeak or demon, their faces curiously turned inside ou
- MASK MAKERS WEB :: - the site for mask makers and mask lovers
- the site for mask makers and mask lovers
- Latex Mask Central
LatexMaskCentral is the web's most extensive, complete and dynamic site dedicated to quality latex masks. Archives, interviews, How-To's, Contests, Message Board, much more
- MENDEL'S - Mask Making
The main thing that you need for the base of the mask is the gauze. This gauze is impregnated with plaster. It comes in rolls, about 3" wide. You need a willing participant, plaster impregnated gauze (about 1 roll per adult face), a bowl of water and
- Mask Makers' Paradise by Special Effect Supply Corp.
Mask making requires basic experience with sculpting, mold making and casting. These three skills most often used in creature special effects. There are many things a person learns through basic experience, practice will give you the confidence to me
- Build your own Gas Mask from computer parts.
Build your own Gask Mask from computer parts. Can't you buy expensive gas masks? Do you need one? are you a computer geek? If you answered yes to this three questions, then this is your page!
- "Maskmaking in the Twenty - First Century"
Maskmaking, what exactly is that? It is one skill of the theatrical costume or properties makers. It is a quasi-spiritual process employed by many native cultures to make their mysterious gods manifest.
- i Sebastiani - Mask-making
We have some experience making masks but we'd be loath to call ourselves experts.
- Mask-making - tribe.net
For sharing information about making masks
- This to That (Glue Advice)
How to glue this to that (Lensmaster note: This is an incredibly useful site for crafters!)
- IDENTI-TAPEÂ® Inc.
IDENTI-TAPEÂ® Inc. specializes in all kinds of colored tapes. If this site doesn't have the tape you need, then it doesn't exist.
- Fellers Arts Factory
Wonderful books that are templates for making tons of paper masks. Plus info on storytelling, workshops and more.
- Maskmaking with Plaster Bandages
A lesson plan for 5th graders - easily modified for any student, age 8 or older. By Michael Delahunt
- Mask Making Ideas and Instructions
To make a good mask of your creature, it's important to take some time to make a plan. The plaster face mask is often just the base, to which we add ears, horns, beaks, and noses.
- Lesson: Making Masks
Merging ancient and contemporary art, this lesson examines the significance of mask-making in the past and present. A great starting point to larger projects, or a fast exploration for the less patient.
- Mask Making by Crede Calhoun
Making masks is a great way to have fun and learn about three dimensional sculpting and painting. You can make a mask from cardboard or other materials but the best way to start is with paper mache.
- Heart-Shaped Animal Masks
Put on a lovey-dovey face with these adorable animal disguises
- Fly Mask Craft
Instructions to make a fly mask using egg carton cups.
A Five-Minute Mask!
At just about any craft store, you can find simple half masks in a variety of colors. These are great for when you need a mask REALLY fast. Covered with a satin-like material, they are fantastic for just gluing stuff onto them. Rhinestones, colored trims, feathers and glitter can be added to customize a mask in minutes to match any outfit or costume occasion.
Making Masks with Sheet Foam
aka mask-making for eyeglass wearers
For most of my years of mask-making, I tended to make masks that didn't fit over my glasses. However, I got tired of not being able to see where I was going, and I'm really more of an eyeglass girl than a contact lens girl.
I was sitting in on a class on masks given at a WesterCon when the topic of using sheet foam for making masks came up. The foam is lightweight, slightly cushy, flexible and can be molded a bit when heated using an embossing tool that blows hot air. I hadn't used this material for masks before, but I was determined to when I got home from the convention.
This is the second foam-based mask that I've made, and it took me about an hour and used less than $5 worth of materials! I enlarged the Squidoo logo and traced a paper pattern to get my shapes. I glued those bits together with a glue that works on foam. Then I used markers to add the details and taped the mask onto my own eyeglasses! If you don't wear glasses like I do, it would be easy to glue this sort of mask onto a pair of cheap sunglasses with the lenses snapped out.
Papercraft Mask Blank
If you wish you had a paper mask blank that you could color on or decorate with other materials, here's a great one. Just click on the image shown here to go to the tutorial and pattern for making a papercraft mask. You can leave it as is for a funky robot or futuristic effect, or decorate to your heart's content!
Tutorial and Pattern from Thingverse.com
Are you a mask-maker too? Got a question about making masks? Share your tips and tricks, or ask for help with a mask here!