Make a Day of the Dead Mask for Dia de los Muertos
Dia de los Muertos Mask
How to Make Dia de los Muertos Masks
Face masks part of the celebrations of Dia de los Muertos or the Day of the Dead, a holiday celebrated in from late October to early November in Mexico, parts of the U.S. and many other Latin America countries.
The Day of the Dead is the time of the year when friends and family gather to gather, honor and celebrate the memory of those who have died.
As part of colorful Dia de los Muertos costumes, celebrators often wear ornately decorated face masks in the shapes of skulls or the devil, el diablo.
There are many ways to make a Day of the Dead mask from the very simple partial face mask to the more ornately decorated full face mask.
Making a mask from the start or decorating a premade mask is a fun way to get into the spirit of this international celebration. It can also be a fun educational activity for teachers to share with their classes as part of learning more about different cultural holidays like Dia de los Muertos.
Creating your own Day of the Dead mask is also a fun project to share with kids or grand kids, while they learn more about this holiday.
Read on to find out some of the different ways to make your own Dia de los Muertos Mask.
Decorative Skull Mask
Day of the Dead - Dia de los Muertos
Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead is a day where the focus is on a celebration of life, not a true day to focus on death. The holiday is considered for many to be the most important one in Mexico and other Latin American countries. Day of the Dead occurs around the same time as Halloween in the United States and also two holidays in the Catholic church—All Saints' Day on November 1 and All Souls' Day on November 2.
This is time of the year when it is believed that the spirits of loved ones who have died, return to earth to spend time with friends and family. Churches and cemeteries are decorated. People build ofrendas or altars to welcome the dead to the celebrations. Events, festivals and parades are held in many countries during Dias de los Muertos.
Skeletons (calacas) and skulls (calaveras) have become symbols of the Day of the Dead and ways to remember the dead. Celebrators dress up as skeletons or calacas, wearing face masks as part of this celebration of those who have died.
The face masks may be done in a few colors, making a black and white skull or brightly colored. Sugar Masks are brightly colored and ornately-decorated like the colorful sugar skulls created and given as gifts to the living and the dead. The masks are worn to hide one's identity or hung up as part of the Dia de los Muertos decorations.
Types of Day of the Dead Masks
There are several different types of masks that can be purchased or crafted for use in Dia de los Muertos celebrations.
- Premade Masks
- Latex Costume Masks
- Partial Face Masks
- Paper Masks
- Paper Mache Masks
Visit The Costume Detective
- The Costume Detective - DIY Costume Ideas
A website for finding the Best DIY Costumes, Crafts and Halloween Fun with information on DIY costumes and crafts previously prominently featured as part of the Best of Halloween and Make Your Own Halloween Costumes on Squidoo.
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Dia De Los Muertos Decorative Wall Mask
Dia De Los Muertos Wall Mask
A unique white Day Of The Dead wall decoration. To make the mask even eerier, the eyes are set with red LED lights that turn on.
The mask can be worn or as a beautiful wall decoration.
Measures 9 5/8 inches long by 7 1/2 inches wide
Day of the Dead Decorative Wall Masks on eBay
Some of the wall masks can also be worn as costume masks. Be sure to read the descriptions so you know what you are getting.
Dia de Los Muertos Wearable Mask
Day of the Dead Groom Mask
Wearable Day of the Dead Masks
These latex mask work well with the Day of the Dead costumes.
A woman's latex skull mask for Day of the Dead.
A man's latex skull mask for Day of the Dead.
Dia de los Muertos Partial Face Masks
Partial Day of the Dead Masks on Amazon
Partial Face Masks
A partial (mouth is not covered) face mask for a man.
Learn More about the Day of the Dead
- Smithsonian Latino Center Day of the Dead: Dia de la Muertos
Learn about the Day of the Dead from the Smithsonian Institution website.
- Dias de los Muertos
Dias de los Muertos Palomar College Site for the Dead Multicultural Studies Department
- Day of the Dead - Dia de los Muertos - El Dia de los Muertos - azcentral.com
Day of the Dead, azcentral.com's coverage of Day of the Dead, Dia de los Muertos, a three-day Mexican holiday to honor and celebrate loved ones who have died.
- Day of the Dead - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Day of the Dead page on Wikipedia.
Easy to Make Day of the Dead Paper Masks
Make a Day of the Dead Paper Mask
Paper Day of the Dead Masks can be made a simple, an in between and a more complicated way.
The simple way involves purchasing Paper Day of the Dead masks that have already been colored and decorated. You can start wearing these soon after they are purchased or arrive by delivery.
The in between way involves printing out Day of the Dead skeleton images on cardstock or on paper and coloring them. The paper can be glued to cardboard to make the mask more sturdy.
The more complicated way involves drawing your own graphic images. This is the most creative method and lets everyone explore their imagination. After looking at several different images of the sugar skulls, the next thing to do is to look at a great tutorial. Blog.SpoonGraphics is just one of the many great tutorials showing how you can draw your own sugar skulls.
Tattooed Skull by Ben. From OpenClipart.org
Coloring Printable Day of the Dead Masks
Day of the Dead Masks - Cardboard
With premade, precolored masks you can have a Day of the Dead mask to wear in the time it takes for them to be delivered.
These 12 inch cardboard masks come with attached elastic.
Set of four.
Day of the Dead Skull Printables
- Mexican Dia de los Muertos Printable Skull
The full image of a detailed vector sugar skull illustration from a tutorial showing you how to create a detailed illustration.
- Printable Sugar Skull Masks
Sugar Skull mask reproducibles from the Mexic-Arte Museum.
- Day of the Dead Skull Paper Mexican Mask - Printable Face Masks
Printable Mexican paper mask design for children to decorate, good children activity masks for Day of the Dead celebrations and other playtime activities for young children.
- Day of the Dead information for teachers and students
Azcentral.com is proud to offer a downloadable education companion to our Dia de los Muertos site. Includes a Calavaras mask for coloring.
- Mexican Crafts - Day of the Dead Skull Coloring Pages
Halloween, Aztec or Mexican Crafts. Free, printable, coloring pages
- Halloween Skull Mask Project - Porkchop | Flickr
Halloween Skull Mask Project by Porkchop (New Jersey). The Halloween Skull Mask Project is part of the 31 Days of Halloween Madness 2007.
- Printable Skull Mask - Day of the Dead Skull Mask Coloring Page
Skull mask coloring page for day of the dead crafts, halloween, masquerade, mardi gras or dia del los muertos parties.
Day of the Dead Mask Teachers Discovery Kit
For teachers interested in creating Day of the Dead Masks in the classroom, this discovery kit is very helpful.
The kits includes enough materials to make 30 paper masks.
Craft project is designed for middle and high school students.
Black and Gray Day of the Dead Mask
Day of the Dead Paper Masks Instructions
- Graham Smith Illustration Blog: Art for Dead People
Making DÃa de los Muertos decorations is a great do-it-yourself art project. They are fun to make, and since they are made by recycling cardboard, super inexpensive too. These skeleton figures are called calacas and are used as decorations during th
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This is a great Mask Making Kids' Party Idea or a quick and easy Halloween Costume for Fun Trick or Treating!
- Day of the Dead Calavera Skull Masks - - Mexico - Monthly Seasonal Crafts - KinderArt
A popular subject for both Halloween and Mexico's Day of the Dead, is the skeleton. Students can create a day of the dead skull mask using paint, glue, glitter, puffy paint and more!
- Inside Jennifer's 1st Grade Classroom: Day of the Dead/DÃa de los Muertos
One of my favorite traditions we have at Metz Elementary is celebrating Day of the Dead or DÃa de los Muertos. For the Metz community, Day of the Dead is a very important holiday and we celebrate with school-wide participation.
- Printable Skull Masks
Skull mask reproducibles from the Mexic-Arte Museum.
- Make Paper Plate Calaveras Masks!
Like many of my friends and fellow crafty folk, I absolutely adore Halloween but I think I lurve Dia de los Muertos even more! This is the first year in a great many that I was unable to visit Olvera Street in Los Angeles for their Day of the Dead fe
- Paper Skeleton Masks | eHow.com
Paper Skeleton Masks. Use a plain paper plate to make a skull mask for a Day of the Dead celebration, Halloween costume or theatrical performance. Adorn a solid white plate as desired according to the use for the mask.
- El Dia de los Muertos - Instructions for making Day of the Dead masks
Instructions for making Day of the Dead masks from a ThinkQuest report.
- Craft: Day of the Dead Masks | ThriftyFun
Craft: Day of the Dead Masks - Making Day of the Dead masks helps kids have fun and learn about Mexico's traditional celebration!
- How to Draw a Sugar Skull Design, Step by Step, Skulls, Pop Culture, FREE Online Drawing Tutorial, A
How to Draw a Sugar Skull Design, Skulls, Pop Culture free step-by-step drawing tutorial will teach you in easy-to-draw-steps how to draw "How to Draw a Sugar Skull Design."
Make a Day of the Dead Paper Mache Mask
Finished Paper Mache Masks
Make a Paper Mache Day of the Dead Mask
Paper Mache Masks can be made the simple way, an in between way or the more complicated way.
The simple way is to start with a premade paper mache mask and use this as the base to paint and decorate the finished mask.
The in between way is to use plaster-impregnated strips (like the ones used in orthopedic clinics or emergency rooms) to fashion a mask. These strips dry fairly quickly and can be painted the next day.
The most complicated way involves making traditional paper mache using torn paper and a flour-water paste. This is the least expensive method and a recyclable method since it uses materials most people have around the home. It takes longer to tear up paper strips, longer to mix up the paste and longer to dry.
Any of the methods will work well to give you a beautiful one-of-a-kind Day of the Dead mask.
Making Day of the Dead Masks - Video
Watch the three-day adventure from freebri as friends in Atlanta gather to make paper mache masks for a Day of the Dead - Dia de los Muertos - party.
Making Day of the Dead Masks - Video
Craft a Day of the Dead Mask
Create a Face Mask
Make a Day of the Dead Mask
Making a unique Day of the Dead Mask can be decorated relatively quickly by starting with a premade paper mache mask.
Paper mache craft masks can be found in craft stores or ordered through Amazon.
Total Time: 2 - 3 hours, not including drying time
- Paper Mache Mask
- Acrylic Craft Paint
- Decoupage or Mod Podge
- Hot Glue
- Sticky dots glue spots
- Embellishments - Glitter or rhinestones or gems
- Look for ideas on how to decorate the paper mache mask by looking at Day of the Dead skull mask art.
- Start by painting the mask with one color (often white) as a base coat.
- Colorful contrasting colors are used for accents.
- When done painting let the mask dry.
- Once dry cover the painted mask with a coat of decoupage medium
- Add embellishments like glitter, rhinestones or gems.
- Attach with glue gun or sticky dots.
- Allow to dry completely.Think of ways to customize your mask with decoupage and other embellishments.
Pre-shaped Paper Mache Masks
Paper Mache Masks
Starting with premade Paper Mache Masks make the process even easier.
White Face Mask
One paper mache mask in white.
Paper Mache Mask
Enough for a Paper Mache Mask making party with 17 paper mache masks.
Acrylic Paint Sets
The collection of acrylic paints comes with 12 different colors.
Each paint bottle holds 16 ounces.
Plaster-impregnated gauze strips
These plaster-impregnated gauze strips will allow you to create unique class projects like Day of the Dead masks.
After the strips have been molded and dried, they can be sanded smooth and painted.
Use Plaster Impregnated Gauze Strips to Make a Mask
A way to make a quick Day of the Dead mask is to start by using plaster impregnated gauze strips.
These are like the plaster strips we used in the emergency department to make casts, so they need to dry quickly enough to get the patient home.
With this technique, you need to make sure the person isn't claustrophobic, or fearful of things on their face.
- 1. Coat the face with vaseline.
- 2. Use plaster impregnated gauze strips dipped in warm water.
- 3. Apply strips to the face, making sure to cross the strips
- 4. Be sure not cover up the nose or mouth.
- 4. Build up several layers.
- 5. Let the strips harden overnight to dry.
- 6. Sand any rough areas.
- 7. Paint and embellish as desired.
How to Make Day of the Dead Masks
- Calaca Sugar Masks
Calaca Sugar Masks, Whether you are going to a Halloween party or a Day of the Dead party, you'll need a fun mask! Check out your local craft or party store to pick up an inexpensive foundation, then dress up as you see fit!
- Crafty Lady Abby: Skull-A-Day 4.0 - Tutorial - #31: Sugar Skull Mask
For New Year's Eve, my husband and I are going to a masquerade. I wanted to make a skull mask for him to wear, but I couldn't get him to sit down, so I could make the base to fit him. Instead, I made one for my daughter. This project is messy, requir
- Sugar Skull Mask | Creation | Cut Out + Keep
Paper Sugar Skull Mask, vintage style. Look for directions in the side bar.
- How to Make a Calavera Mask | eHow.com
How to Make a Calavera Mask. The Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday celebrated on November second. Day of the Dead is treated as a time when dead relatives, friends and ancestors return to the land of the living to visit.
- Art Lesson Plan: Paper Mache Masks
The Incredible Art Department is for art teachers, art students, parents, homeschoolers and artists. IAD includes information on art jobs, art careers, art schools, art education, lesson plans, visual art news, and art resources.
Making Mexican Day of the Dead Masks - Video Series
Magicfitzpatrick takes us through his short four part video tutorial series on How to make Mexican day of the dead masks.
Mexican Day of the Dead Masks 1 - Video
Mexican Day of the Dead Masks 2 - Video
Mexican Day of the Dead Masks 3 - Video
Mexican Day of the Dead Masks 4 - Video
Paper Mache Supplies
Bulk paper mache supplies.
Just tear up some newspaper, paper or tissue paper to use.
Making Paper Mache Mask
A paper mache mask can be made entirely from the start, but takes more time. Be sure to allow time for the paper mache to dry initially as a mask and then once it has been embellished.
- Creating a Base for the Mask
The base for the mask can be made directly on the face with paper mache strips or created from different items. Gallon milk cartons, chicken wire wrapped in newspaper, cardboard and paper plates can be use for the base.
- Paper Mache Paste
Paper Mache paste can be made by mixing 1 part of flour to two parts of water e.g. 1 cup flour in 2 cups water. The aim is to make the paste more like a thick glue, but not runny. Be sure to mix well to remove any lumps.
The paper mache paste can be stored for a several days in the refrigerator in a covered container.
- Layering the Paper
In order to create the effect of a skull, the eyebrows and cheek bones need to be built up. This can be done by layering paper mache in these areas taking care to keep the layers smooth.
- Drying the Mask
Paper mache masks need to be dried after the paper has been applied. Using a hair dryer or putting the mask in a low temperature oven can help speed up the process. Make sure the mask has dried completely before painting.
- Painting the Mask
Look at different mask designs to come up with a design for your mask. You might want to combine several ideas from masks, flowers, hearts, crosses, swirls, dots and even webs are incorporated into the Sugar Skull designs.
- Embellishing the Mask
To make the mask even more decorative consider adding glitter, rhinestones, feather, gems and other embellishments to the mask.
Making Dia de los Muertos Masks on Flickr
The masks were made as part of the Dia de los Muertos parade at Walkers Point Center for the Arts.
- Dia De Los Muertos Preparations - a set on Flickr
A behind-the-scenes look at preparations for the first Milwaukee Dia de los Muertos parade at Walkers Point Center for the Arts.
A Colorful Skeleton Mask
More on Day of the Dead and other Halloween Craft Ideas
- Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead
Although occurring around the same time of the year as Halloween, Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead, is a very different holiday.
- Costumes for Day of the Dead
Dressing up like skeletons, in handcrafted costumes, has long been a part of the Die de los Muertos or Day of the Dead celebrations.
- 3D Skull Cake Recipes
With a 3D skull cake mold made by Wilton, you can easily create a scary skull cake for your next Halloween or Pirate party.
- Skull Cakes and Skeleton Cupcakes
Skulls and Skeletons cakes and cupcakes are a fun way to add a bit of scary bones to Halloween, Dia De Los Muertos or any other occasion where skulls and skeletons are found.
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Mini Top Hats, Lolita Hats, Gothic Top Hats, Steampunk Mini Hats, Victorian Mini Top Hats have been popularized lately with movies and fashion trends.
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- Teaching with Skeletons at Halloween
Skeletons make excellent teaching tools, especially at Halloween. Since my daughters were in Kindergarten and Pre-School I have been going into their classrooms to teach about skeletons.
Do you think you might want to make your own mask?
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© 2011 Kirsti A. Dyer