How to Make Indonesian Masks

If you are a devotee of Indonesian masks, you can create your own version to display in your home. Traditionally, masks made by people who live on the islands Java, Bali and Sumatra were carved from wood and used in tribal rituals to ward off evil spirits and natural disasters. But you can use inexpensive materials or objects you would otherwise throw away to recreate or mimic the look of these masks. There are many different types of Indonesian masks, so choose an image you like to guide you while making your mask.

Use a utility knife to cut the side off of a plastic gallon milk jug (with a handle) so it is big enough to cover the width of your face. Pierce either side of the plastic jug panel with the tip of the knife and rotate to make a hole that is about 1/4 inch wide.

Tear pieces of paper and wad them up into balls or tubelike shapes and tape them to the front of the plastic jug panel with masking tape to form the upraised facial features. Make two equal-sized balls and tape them to the bottom of the handle for nostrils, two tubes taped horizontally on either side of the nose for eyebrows and tubes below the nose for lips or teeth. Check an image of an Indonesian mask for how it should look.

Mix one cup water in a bowl with one cup of white flour. Tear the paper into 1-inch-wide-by-6-inch-long strips and dip them into the mixture. Apply the strips to the mask, covering the entire front of the mask a layer of strips. Allow to dry eight hours before adding a second layer. Wait 12 hours for the additional layers to dry.

Paint the larger areas of the mask in red, brown or gold. Allow to dry for two hours and then outline the eyes, nostrils and lips with black. Use the thin paintbrush to paint swirl or flower designs on the face of the mask, or to add detail lines to areas that represent hair. Wait two hours for the paint to dry completely.

Measure and cut a foot long 1/2-inch-wide elastic band. Thread one end of the band through one of the pierced holes in the side of the mask. Make a knot to tie tightly. Hold the mask to your face and thread the other end of the band into the other hole. Pull the end of the band tight so that the mask stays in place and tie a knot. Trim the excess band at the end.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic gallon milk jug
  • Utility knife
  • Paper
  • Masking tape
  • Ruler
  • Water
  • Measuring cup
  • Flour
  • Bowl
  • Spoon
  • Acrylic paints
  • Paintbrushes
  • Elastic band
  • Scissors
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Angela Neal is a writer for various websites, specializing in published articles ranging from the categories of art and design to beauty and DIY fashion. Neal received her Associate of Arts in administrative assisting from Bohecker College.