How to Make an Elizabethan Mask

Written by cyndi bass
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How to Make an Elizabethan Mask
An Elizabethan mask tends to be highly elaborate and fantastical. (Zedcor Wholly Owned/ Images)

An Elizabethan mask is normally a half mask painted in rich colours such as blue, purple, orange, yellow, gold, silver, and decorated with extravagant trimmings. A mask was worn in plays and masquerade balls of the wealthy. A mask disguised mystical creatures such as fairies and Greek gods. You can choose to wear an Elizabethan mask at celebrations such as Mardi Gras, plays and costume parties. Besides purchasing a ready-made mask and decorating it, there are two options available when considering how to make an Elizabethan mask.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 1-cup flour
  • 5-cups water
  • Salt
  • Plastic container
  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Plastic milk jug
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Marking pen
  • Scissors
  • Paint
  • Embellishments
  • Tin foil
  • Tape
  • Chopstick

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    Paper Mache

  1. 1

    Make the paper mache paste by combining 1-cup flour with five cups of water. Bring mixture to a boil and allow to simmer for three minutes. Add two tablespoons of salt to the mixture, let cool and place in a plastic container.

  2. 2

    Tear several pieces of paper into strips that measure 1-inch by 6 to 8-inches so that they have jagged edges. You can use craft paper, computer paper or old newspapers.

  3. 3

    Clean a work area and cover with newspaper, plastic or an old sheet. Paper mache crafts can be quite messy.

  4. 4

    Coat paper strips by dipping into cool paste and place on a plastic milk jug in a horizontal pattern.

  5. 5

    Add a second layer of coated paper strips in a vertical pattern to overlap the horizontal strips.

  6. 6

    Rub petroleum jelly all over the masker's face for protection.

  7. 7

    Carefully lift the layered paper strips and cut away any excess material.

  8. 8

    Mold the paper on the masker's face to mark eyes and breathing holes for nostrils.

  9. 9

    Cut holes for eyes and breathing by poking a hole using a pair of scissors and then folding the paper to the back of the mask.

  10. 10

    Lay mask on a flat surface and allow to dry for 24 hours.

  11. 11

    Place unused paste in refrigerator. Before using the next day, place in the microwave for one-minute.

  12. 12

    Add a second layer of paper mache by repeating steps 8 through 10.

  13. 13

    Paint mask in one solid colour. For variety, you can paint border around eyes and edge of mask in a contrasting colour.

  14. 14

    Adorn the mask by painting various designs and adding feathers, buttons or tassels.

    Tin Foil

  1. 1

    Stack three sheets of tin foil.

    How to Make an Elizabethan Mask
    You can make an Elizabethan mask with tin foil, tape and scissors. (Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)
  2. 2

    Place tin foil over your face covering above your eyebrows to below your nose.

  3. 3

    Gently press the foil down to shape it. Be careful not to puncture foil.

  4. 4

    Use a marker to trace around your eyes following the bones around your eye socket. Also, trace around your nostrils to create breathing holes.

  5. 5

    Carefully remove foil from your face and cut out eye and nostril holes.

  6. 6

    Cut holes in the side of your mask for ribbon to attach it to your face.

  7. 7

    Place the tin foil mask over your face and add small sections of tape overlapping several times to strengthen the mask.

  8. 8

    Remove the mask and carefully place tape to the inside of the mask to avoid the itchiness of tin foil against your skin.

  9. 9

    Add a single layer of paper mache or plaster if desired.

  10. 10

    Paint mask and let dry.

  11. 11

    Embellish mask with feathers, glitter, beads and sequins.

Tips and warnings

  • Wrap a chopstick or other stick up with colourful ribbon. Use hot glue to attach it to the mask. Hold it over your eyes instead of securing the mask on your head with a ribbon or cord.

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