How to make a Chinese dragon paper-mache mask

Written by alina mckee
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How to make a Chinese dragon paper-mache mask
A dragon mask is an important part of traditional Chinese festivals. (Getty Creative)

A paper dragon mask can be a good homemade Halloween or costume party mask or a fun dress-up item. No matter what it's used for, this paper-mache mask is an inexpensive and eco-friendly craft project. It reuses items that you probably already have around the house. This project is suitable for young children as long as a parent is supervising and helping with the craft tools.

Things you need

  • • Piece of cardboard
  • • Masking tape
  • • Scissors
  • • 12 to 24 old newspapers
  • • Long stick, spoon or paint mixer
  • • Large bowl
  • • White baking flour (not self-rising)
  • • Warm water
  • • Craft paint in various colours
  • • Craft knife
  • • 15 cm (6 inches) of sewing elastic
  • • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • • Paper egg carton

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  1. 1

    Cut the cardboard into an oval shape that is slightly longer and wider than your head.

  2. 2

    Tape the egg carton shut. Use the hot glue gun to glue it to the lower half of the cardboard so that it sticks out like a snout.

  3. 3

    Put 480 ml (2 cups) of white flour into the bowl. Slowly add 480 ml (2 cups) of water as you mix with a spoon or stick. The mixture should end up the consistency of thick cream. This is your paper-mache paste.

  4. 4

    Tear your newspaper into long strips. Dip a strip into the paper-mache paste. Pull the strip out and run it between your index finger and middle finger to remove excess paste.

  5. 5

    Lay the strip over your mask and smooth out any air trapped underneath the newspaper with your fingertips. Continue laying strips of paper dipped in paper-mache paste until the front of the mask is completely covered. The strips should crisscross over each other to create a strong bond.

  6. 6

    Wrap the newspaper strips that are hanging over the edge of the mask around to the back of the mask.

  7. 7

    Let the mask dry. This could take several days.

  8. 8

    Cut holes in the mask for the eyes using the craft knife.

  9. 9

    Use the craft knife to poke a small hole on the left and right side of the mask. Thread the elastic through the holes and knot them.

  10. 10

    Paint the mask with your craft paint to finish the mask.

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