How to cast a face in paper mache

Written by miranda brumbaugh
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How to cast a face in paper mache
Make a cast of your face as a piece of art. (Red Face image by Paul Hampton from

Cast your face to use for creating a mask or making a memory. Paper mache is an inexpensive craft that uses common household ingredients. While you can make a paper mache face cast on your own, ask someone to help you in case you have difficulties. The tissue paper used in this project gives the cast a porcelain-like finish. Have fun painting your finished cast or use the casting as a mould for a Plaster of Paris face mask.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 3 cups water
  • Cup of flour
  • Plastic butter container
  • Wooden spoon
  • Tissue paper
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Headband

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  1. 1

    Mix 3 cups of water with 1 cup of flour in the plastic container. Stir with the wooden spoon until the paste is creamy and smooth, free from lumps.

  2. 2

    Tear the tissue paper into 2.5 by 15cm (1 by 6 inch) strips, as well as some strips that are 2.5 by 2.5cm (1 by 1 inch) squares.

  3. 3

    Spread petroleum jelly over eyebrows and hairline to keep the paper mache paste from attaching to the hairs. Put the headband around the hairline to keep your hair away from your face.

  4. 4

    Dip a strip of tissue paper into the paste. Squeeze off excess paste from the paper using your fingers.

  5. 5

    Apply the strips of tissue around the outline of the face. Continue layering dipped tissue strips, moving inward toward the centre of the face. Overlap the paper generously on the outer edges but use fewer layers on the pieces in the middle of the face.

  6. 6

    Rub the strips onto the face as you add strips so you get all of the crevices and bumps of the face captured in the cast. Complete at least four layers of paper mache on the entire surface.

  7. 7

    Leave the paper mache cast on the face for 10 to 15 minutes. Tilt the head over and wiggle the face to loosen the casting. If the cast is stuck in places, gently rub and massage petroleum jelly onto the outer edge of the stuck area until the cast releases.

  8. 8

    Set the cast on a bed of crumpled newspaper. Let dry for at least 24 hours.

Tips and warnings

  • Use the petroleum jelly to keep your hairs from being pulled out of your head when you remove the mask.
  • The paper mache will take at least 12 hours to completely set, but the paste will begin drying immediately in places where it is spread thin, such as your hair.
  • Do not paper mache over your eyes, nostrils or mouth.

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