"The Phantom of the Opera" was first published as a serialised novel in 1910 and met with little success. Since then, it has been made into several movies and a widely popular musical that has inspired a cult following. Because of this, the Phantom has become a popular costume choice for masquerades, Halloween and other dress up occasions. The actual dress for a phantom costume is not as important as the mask, because it is the mask that makes the Phantom recognisable. A phantom mask is easy to make using paper mache techniques.
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Things you need
- Wallpaper paste
- Mixing bowl
- White craft paint
- Polystyrene foam wig form
- Permanent marker
- Fedora or top hat
- Opera cape
Place the wig form on a flat open surface. Use the marker to trace the shape of the mask over the face of the wig form. The most common shapes for the phantom are a mask that covers half the face or one that covers the forehead, nose and cheeks but leaves the chin uncovered for speaking or singing.
Mix wallpaper paste with water in the mixing bowl. Follow the instructions on the paste's package.
Tear newspaper into strips and saturate them with wallpaper paste. Then apply them to the wig form, using your mask drawing as a guide. Allow the mask to dry before continuing.
Peel the mask carefully from the wig form, and trim the edges with scissors. Then paint the mask white using the craft paint.
Punch holes in the edges of the mask and loop string through these holes. Use the string to tie the mask to the face.
Making the mask
Select a tuxedo or formal wear that includes a vest, white shirt and black trousers for the appearance of a Victorian gentleman's opera tuxedo.
Choose a fedora or men's top hat for headwear. In some versions of the play, the phantom does not wear headwear. If you choose not to wear headwear, slick your hair back, as the phantom is often portrayed in this way.
Wear an opera cape over your costume. In almost every version of "The Phantom of the Opera," the phantom is seen in an opera cape that he can pull around himself to conceal himself in darkness. An opera cape will also help conceal any lack of detail in the rest of your costume.
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