How to Make a Hawaiian Mask

Written by lisa mcquerrey
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How to Make a Hawaiian Mask
Hawiian masks were once used to ward off bad spirits. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Traditionally made, worn or displayed as a way to ward off evil spirits, Hawaiian masks are now used as elaborate, exotic costumes, as decorations for Hawaiian and island-themed parties and celebrations and as tropical pieces of home decor Make Hawaiian masks from carved wood, cut styrofoam, formed plastic, hand-thrown clay or paper mache. Find supplies needed for making a Hawaiian mask at arts and crafts stores.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Large balloon
  • Paper mache mix
  • Craft paper strips
  • Utility knife
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • High-gloss dark brown spray paint
  • Newspaper
  • Colourful craft paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Feathers
  • Plastic beads
  • Raffia

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Inflate a large balloon.

  2. 2

    Prepare a mix of paper mache paste. Use a commercially prepared mixture or make a custom mix by diluting white glue with water to achieve a slightly watery consistency.

  3. 3

    Cut or tear white craft paper into 1-by-4-inch strips.

  4. 4

    Dip strips of paper into paper mache mix one at a time and apply them to the balloon, smoothing down any bumps or ridges with hands or a damp sponge, overlapping strips until the entire balloon is covered.

  5. 5

    Use a utility knife to pop the dried paper mache balloon structure and pull the balloon out through the hole at the base of the structure. Working from the same hole, use scissors to cut the paper mache shell into two equal vertical halves. Allow the inside of each side to air dry, if necessary.

  6. 6

    Download Hawaiian or Tiki mask photographs that represent the desired look of the mask. Approximate where eye holes, brow ridges, nose structure and mouth should go and mark out rough sketches with a pencil. Use the utility knife to cut away eye and mouth holes.

  7. 7

    Use additional paper mache mix and craft paper to create raised features, such as brow ridges and nose, on the mask shell, allowing every few layers to fully dry before applying more paper. Secure the edges of the finished raised sections with clear or white craft glue.

  8. 8

    Lay the mask face-side up on newspaper in a well-ventilated area and spray with high-gloss, dark-brown spray paint. Allow to dry and reapply until mask is completely covered and has a sheen-like polished wood.

  9. 9

    Leave finished Hawaiian mask unadorned, or embellish with bright painted stripes, raffia cascades, beads or feathers.

Tips and warnings

  • If the mask is to be worn against skin, cover the back side of the mask shell with felt and secure ribbon ties on each side just above ear height.
  • If the mask is to be used as wall decor, secure a picture-hanging hook to the back side.
  • If the mask is not to be worn against a face, substitute cut-out eye and mouth holes with raised features.

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