How to Make a Buffalo Mask

Updated April 17, 2017

The majestic bison, buffalo, were a key element of life on the Great Plains in the central and western United States during the 1700s and 1800s. Many were killed off by settlers; others died of diseases introduced by the encroaching human population. Children may want to make a mask of a buffalo head for a play about the history of the plains regions, or for an animal-themed class presentation or Halloween party. You and your child can easily make a buffalo mask from basic household and crafts materials in just a few hours.

Spread newspapers on the work surface to protect it from glue and paint spills. Set out all mask-making materials on the newspaper.

Draw a large U-shaped face on the paper plate, stretching from the top to the bottom of the plate. Cut along pencil lines to remove the round edges from the sides, leaving the top and bottom edges intact. Save the cut-off pieces for later use.

Measure the distance between the mask-wearer's eyes. Mark this distance on your mask template at the eye-level. Cut out 1-inch holes for the eyes at the marked points.

Paint the face medium brown, covering the entire surface. Allow it to dry completely for one hour. Add a large nose in the centre painted in black. Paint thin dark brown or black circles around the eye holes. Allow the black paint to dry completely for one hour.

Cut the thick yarn into 2-inch pieces. Ruffle each piece of the yarn by pulling it apart gently at one end with your fingers. Glue the smooth ends of the yarn all around the perimeter of the painted mask, putting it close together so there are no gaps. Be sure the ruffled ends are loose and extending from the edge of the mask to mimic the buffalo's shaggy appearance.

Cut two horn shapes from the cut-off edges of the paper plate. Paint these off-white. Allow them to dry for one hour. Carefully glue one horn to the top of each side of the mask, gluing them onto the back surface of the mask so it appears the horns are extending out from the buffalo's shaggy hair.

Staple the elastic firmly to one side of the mask; elastic should be stapled on a level with the eye holes. Put the mask on the child's face and pull the elastic around the head to the second side to determine the correct length. Staple the elastic to the second side. Trim excess elastic from the edges.

Things You'll Need

  • Newspapers
  • Heavyweight paper plate
  • Pencil
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Craft paints
  • Paintbrushes
  • Thick brown yarn
  • Craft glue
  • 10-inch piece of black or dark brown elastic
  • Stapler
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About the Author

As a national security analyst for the U.S. government, Molly Thompson wrote extensively for classified USG publications. Thompson established and runs a strategic analysis company, is a professional genealogist and participates in numerous community organizations.Thompson holds degrees from Wellesley and Georgetown in psychology, political science and international relations.