Instructions for Making Horse Masks

Written by jennifer meyer
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Instructions for Making Horse Masks
Horses have long, triangular heads, triangular brows and triangular ears. (white horse head image by Stanisa Martinovic from

Mask making has historical ties to cultures all over the world, from the rich porcelain masks of Venice to the theatrical wooden masks of the Northwest coast tribes. When making your own, you have a vibrant history to draw from and quite a few methods for doing so. The easiest method of making a mask is to sculpt it out of air-drying clay. Sculpting a horse-like mask also means knowing the anatomy of a horse's face. Sculpting this face allows you to easily fix mistakes by adding clay over them or filing them down.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Ruler
  • Craft mask
  • Cling film
  • Air drying clay
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Paint-on glaze
  • Ribbon

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  1. 1

    Create a life-size pattern for your mask. Measure your face from chin to brow with a ruler and create an oval an inch larger than this. You want to plan a little larger than the mask you want because air drying clay often shrinks a bit. Find some reference photos of a horse's head either online or in a book and use it to sketch out a horse face over the oval. Allow space for your eyes.

  2. 2

    Cut the drawing out with scissors and place it over a plastic craft mask. You can find these craft masks at any craft store. Make sure it is a full-face one and not a half mask. This mask will serve as a model for you to sculpt on top of. Place cling film over the top of the pattern and mask. Cling film with one sticky side works best.

  3. 3

    Open your container of air drying clay and smooth globs of it over the mask, keeping to the contours of your pattern. Keep the clay and your hands moist with water. Do not place clay over the eyes. Once you have the basic form down, run along the edges of the mask with your thumb to smooth them. Do so around the eyes as well. Make sure the eyes are symmetrical.

  4. 4

    Add the basic features of your horse face, placing triangular ears on the forehead, and creating a long snout that extends from the eyes down to your mouth. Create a rounded muzzle between your mouth and your chin. This creates the illusion of the horse's long face, particularly if you sculpt in high cheek bones as well.

  5. 5

    Roll out five long, flat strips of clay and combine them at one end to form a tassel. Place this on the forehead of the mask to create the horse's forelock. Use a needle-like sculpting tool to etch lines into each strip in the tassel, creating the illusion of hair.

  6. 6

    Use the same needle tool to punch holes in the mask on either side of the eyes. Allow the mask to dry overnight.

  7. 7

    Paint the mask using acrylic paints. Vary the colouration to make the mask more interesting, adding horse-like speckles or a star on the bridge of the nose. Cover the paint with a clear paint-on gloss to protect it. Allow both to dry for an hour, then peel your mask away from the cling film. It may still be damp on the other side. If so, allow it to dry overnight.

  8. 8

    Tie two 2-foot strips of ribbon to either side of the mask, using the holes you punched in it. These are the ties that will keep your mask on your head.

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