Papier-mache masks are a festive accessory for any occasion, including birthdays, Halloween or Fourth of July celebrations. The decorative masks can be worn, or strategically placed indoors and/or outdoors to accent any party theme. Remember to plan accordingly, as the process of making papier-mache masks will take a couple days to complete the entire project. Allow time for the actual creative design, building the mask and final drying.
Sketch an image of the papier-mache mask you want to create before starting.
Place a cover on the working surface, choose an old shower curtain, table cloth or waxed paper. Making papier-mache masks is a messy undertaking so protect the surface well, as it will be used for a couple days.
Tear off a piece of aluminium foil approximately two times the length and size of the person's face. Fold the foil in half and then press the foil against the face to create the mould. It's important to maintain the foil mask shape by gently stuffing newspaper inside the reversed open side of the mould. If you want to create a nose or ears, take separate pieces of foil to make and add to the mask mould, before the next step.
Tear newspaper into strips about 1 or 2 inches wide and 4 to 8 inches long. Make sure you have lots of newspaper. When working with your foil mould, try not to press too hard or it will distort the shape. Cover the foil mould with at least four or five layers of papier-mache (newspaper strips cemented with papier-mache paste), allowing time for the layers to completely dry.
After the papier-mache mask dries, the real creative fun starts. The mask now can be painted and decorated according to the chosen theme. You can showcase your artistic flair by applying beads, feathers, fake fur, buttons, shells, horse hair or glitter.
You can carefully cut eye holes out before you decorate it and create side holes on either side (closer to the ear area of the mask) to make an elastic tie to fit around your head.
Making papier-mache masks is a fun children's party or play-date arts and crafts activity. Children will have fun and also be able to explore their creativity by developing self expression through designing and making papier-mache masks. This project can be a "green" and cost-free artistic endeavour by using donated and recycled materials (such as newspaper). House paint may often be obtained for free or low cost from paint stores (make sure any paint used is non-toxic).