From the graves of Egypt to the carnivals of Venice, masks hold a rich place in our history. Both decorative and useful, masks range from simple to extremely intricate. Historical use of masks include amusement, attempts to frighten, to hide or to celebrate and other personal uses. Whether you want to decorate your home, attend a costume party or just participate in a fun craft, create your own, unique personalised face mask.
Place a thin layer of newspapers on your table and lay a plastic face mask in the middle of the papers. If you don't want holes in the areas of the eyes or mouth, cover the plastic face mask with tape in those areas. Coat the top of a the mask with a layer of petroleum jelly. Cover the entire shell liberally.
Cut 1/2-inch wide and 2-inch long strips from a roll of craft plaster cast. Dip the plaster cast, one piece at a time, into a bowl of water. Start at the top of the face mask and lay the strips on top of the petroleum jelly. Overlap each piece and press down any edges that stick up. Let the layer dry and repeat the process at least two more times. Once the top layer is in place, wet your fingers and smooth the plaster cast, working out the rough places. Leave the face mask in a warm location for at least 48 hours. Remove the plaster face mask from the plastic mask.
Poke a pencil point-sized hole on both sides of the mask in the area of the temple. Make the hole 1/2-inch from the edge of the mask. Add a piece of wire or string if you are making a wall decoration, elastic if you plan to wear the face mask. Make the wire or string long enough to tie it on both sides by tying a knot on the inner side of the mask. Make it long enough to reach the centre of the forehead when suspended by a fingertip in the centre of the string for hanging.
Paint your face mask. Add facial features or hair to make it look more realistic, or paint the mask a solid colour like the Volta or Larva masks at the Carnival of Venice. Paint on designs and glue on additional decorations like faux gem stones or feathers to complete your face mask.
- Add features you want to see on the mask as you build it up. For example, add more plaster cast over the eyes for heavy eyebrows.
- Clean the plastic mask and reuse it.