How to make a carnival face cutout

Written by lindsay zortman
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How to make a carnival face cutout
Carnival masks are easy to make. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Historically, carnival season was a time of celebration in which various classes of citizens could mingle--dancing, singing and drinking together. Masks hid the identity, so individuals were free to act as they wished without repercussions. Carnival masks have vibrant colours and can cover the entire face or the eyes alone. Using plaster is not necessary to make a carnival mask; cutout masks are just as effective and a lot less work to create.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Construction paper, cardboard or foam board
  • Glue
  • 2 pairs of scissors, one large; one small
  • Elastic
  • Stapler
  • Coloured tissue paper
  • Glue
  • Glitter
  • Sequins
  • Fake jewels
  • Feathers

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  1. 1

    Sketch various mask shapes and sizes to find the one that works best for you. In the Venetian carnival tradition, half masks that cover the eyes only were typical for women, while full masks with openings for the eyes and mouth were common for men.

  2. 2

    Trace the shape of the mask onto a piece of construction paper, cardboard or foam board. Cut out the outline of the mask. Fold the mask at the middle of one eye hole. Using small scissors, cut into the middle of the eye hole and move slowly around the eye, cutting out the eye section. Repeat this step for the other eye and the mouth hole, if applicable.

  3. 3

    Measure the elastic for the mask by placing one end of the piece on one ear and wrap the elastic around to the other ear. Place your finger on the length of elastic you want and cut it. Staple or tie the elastic to the carnival mask on each side near the edge of the mask.

  4. 4

    Add layers of coloured tissue paper around the eyes, mouth and ears of the mask. The additional layers on the mask will make it sturdier and offer a three-dimensional look to the mask.

  5. 5

    Decorate the mask. If making an animal, add a pink nose or whiskers. For an elegant mask, draw lines radiating out from the eyes and decorate them with glitter, sequins or jewels. If using glitter, first add a strip of glue onto the line, then sprinkle glitter over the glue.

  6. 6

    Glue feathers to the top or sides of the mask.

Tips and warnings

  • Paper masks may be too flimsy to hold a large amount of feathers; use cardboard or foam board if you intend to decorate with many feathers.

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