How to Make a Metal Mask

Written by julia salgado
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A metal mask makes the ideal finishing touch to a knight or suit of armour costume and can provide a scarier alternative to an open- faced helmet at a Halloween party. Fans of Leonardo DiCaprio might also want to use the mask as a homage to his role in the 1998 film, The Man in the Iron Mask, in which he played a prisoner who is forced to hide his identity behind an iron mask. The film is based upon the novel by Alexandre Dumas, which was in turn based upon a real life prisoner in the French Bastille prison at the end of the 17th century.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Stiff cardboard
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Silver metallic pen
  • Burnished metallic spray paint
  • White spray primer
  • Stapler
  • Glue
  • Pins
  • Wire cutters

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  1. 1

    Measure the circumference of your head at forehead level. Add an inch to this measurement, and cut a strip of cardboard to this length. The strip should be approximately 1.5 inches wide. Measure the distance from the top of your ear, over the top of your head to the top of your other ear. Cut a similar strip to this length, then cut another strip the length of the distance from your forehead to the back of your head.

  2. 2

    Staple the second two strips together in a cross pattern. Then staple both ends of the first strip together in a ring. Staple the four ends of the cross shape to the inside of the ring; this makes a helmet shaped hat on which you can build your mask.

  3. 3

    Draw a large oval shape on the stiff cardboard, roughly the size you want the mask to be from top to bottom. Use this oval as a guide for all the features of the mask. Begin by marking where your eyes will go on the mask, then mark where your mouth will go. Draw a line where your top lip will be on the mask, then cut from the bottom edge to this line, removing the whole section in between. This leaves two long prongs either side of the mouth. Cut out the eyeholes also.

  4. 4

    Position the mask against the helmet so that the ring of the helmet is just above eyelevel. Ensure that it is in a position where you can see out the eyeholes and the mouth line is in line with your upper lip, and glue the mask onto the ring of the helmet.

  5. 5

    Use the wire cutters to cut the heads of pins. Glue these pinheads onto the mask in places were nuts and bolts would be visible. This gives the mask a textured and three dimensional effect.

  6. 6

    Spray the whole thing with white primer base coat and leave to dry. Then, spray the thing again with a burnished metallic silver paint. When this has dried, take a medium-sized brush and dip it into some black paint. Wipe the brush with a piece of tissue and then brush the remnants of the paint onto the mask. Repeat this technique -- known as drybrushing -- for the whole mask. This will create an aged affect on the metal paint, making it look more realistic.

  7. 7

    Use a silver pen, a slightly different shade to the silver of the mask, to pick out faultlines and cracks in the metal of the mask. This gives the mask and authentic touch.

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