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How to Make a Bauta Carnevale Mask (The One that Covers the Mouth and Lower Face)

Updated on February 26, 2012

The Bauta is one of five traditional Venetian Carnevale masks. It was specifically designed to hide the identity of the wearer. The area covering the lower half of the face is called a frogmouth -- angled away from the face to allow the wearer to eat and drink. The shape also changes the pitch of the wearer's voice to further hide his identity. This allowed members of different social classes to mingle during the Carnevale festivities. Traditional Bautas were painted white and adorned with black ribbon. But more recent versions are elaborately decorated with sequins, metallic paints and countless other decorative pieces.

Step 1

Cover your face with a light, even layer of petroleum jelly. Put extra wherever you have facial hair, such as eyebrows, mustache or beard. Leave your mouth and eye areas uncovered. The best place to do this is in front of a bathroom mirror.

Step 2

Wet two or three paper towels, and press them down over your face. Leave the area around your mouth and eyes uncovered.

Step 3

Wet down plaster gauze and drape it over the face. Start at the top of the forehead and work your way down, applying horizontal strips. Each strip should overlap at least ½ inch. Use scissors to cut strips to size, so they don't overhang your face on either side. Press the gauze firmly against your face, smoothing out any air bubbles.

Step 4

Apply a second layer of gauze strips vertically, starting at the left-hand side of the forehead and working your way toward the right.

Step 7

Cut the front panel out of a cereal box and fold it in half lengthwise.

Step 6

Remove the mask from the face. Fill in any weak areas with extra plaster gauze. These may be found in the edges near the eye openings or in the grooves on either side of the nose. Cut small pieces of gauze and press them into any areas of the mask that bend when you run your fingers over them.

Step 5

Apply a third layer of gauze on the face and allow it to dry. Dry time will take about 20 minutes.

Step 8

Cut the cardboard panel on a 45-degree angle, starting from the end of the fold and working your way toward the unfolded edge. Discard the two triangles of cardboard that you've cut off.

Step 9

Open the folded cardboard to reveal the triangular pointed end for the mask, called a frogmouth. The frogmouth is shaped like the home plate in baseball – a pentagon.

Step 10

Slip the non-pointed end of the cardboard frogmouth 1 to 1-1/2 inches under the bottom edge of the face mask. Secure it to the mask by draping two layers of plaster gauze on the exterior of the mask -- connecting the frogmouth to the plaster version of your face. Cover the entire cardboard with gauze and wait 20 minutes for the plaster gauze to dry.

Step 11

Paint the mask with white matte paint.

Once the mask has dries you can doctor it up in any way you wish. This includes adding a string or elastic strip to tie it around your head and keep it in place. Paints and sequins are often used on these masks with traditional bauta consiisting of either one or two colors.


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