Introduction: Adam and Barbara Maitland Costumes From BeetleJuice!

Picture of Adam and Barbara Maitland Costumes From BeetleJuice!

For Halloween this year my boyfriend and I decided to go as the Maitlands from Beetle Juice. We are both huge fans of Halloween and Tim Burton and wanted to do a monster mask costume. These costumes are much easier than they look and there is plenty of room for variation to suit individual tastes. They were as much fun to make as they were to wear! We hope you enjoy them!

Step 1: The Materials

Picture of The Materials
For these masks you will need:

Thin cardboard
One roll of Masking tape
Wire hangers
An old helmet or a hat
Newspaper
Paper mache clay ingredients
  • Cheap toilet paper (measure the wet paper pulp, and use 1.24 cups – some rolls contain more paper than needed)
  • 1 cup Joint compound from the hardware store (get “regular,” not “fast set” or “light”.)
  • 3/4 cup Elmer’s Glue-all
  • 1/2 cup White Flour
  • 2 tablespoons Linseed Oil
*Or regular paper Mache
Black Nylon
Brown fur
Crayola Model Magic
Various colors of Acrylic paint and brushes
One rubber glove


These materials in total cost less than $50 to accumulate and are used for both of these masks.

Step 2: Step 1

Picture of Step 1

For Barbara I used 2 clothes hangers made from wire to shape the outline of the mouth. One hanger was folded 'pizza style' to make the two points of the jaw. The second I wrapped around my head for support and it is basically what attached the mask to my face and made for an easily removable costume.

I then used cardboard to make the shape of the upper and lower parts of the mouth. This will NOT be visible so it doesn't have to be exact. I then taped them on to the upper and lower wire to fit my face. This is where your best judgement comes into play. leave plenty of room for your face so that you can build onto it later. you also want them to be slightly smaller than you want the actual mask to be since you will be covering them in paper mache* at a later date.

Adam's mask was a bit easier. We used an old helmet that we had laying around and wrapped it in newspaper like a Christmas gift.

The bridge of his nose was an empty paper towel roll and just above his ears we attached two strips of cardboard and taped it to the roll. This is all taped to the helmet to make the initial shape for this mask.

Step 3: Add Paper and Fluff the Masks

Picture of Add Paper and Fluff the Masks

For Barbara-  After you get the initial mouth to fit your face you are going to tape small balls of paper to the top of the mouth. The reason for this is so that the face has volume. It doesn't have to be perfect, just a little puffy.  See photos. I chose to add this step so that the mask is larger without the added weight of extra paper mache. If you choose to build your mask up out of only the paper mache it will become much heavier. 

I then taped a cardboard border around the upper and lower jaw and wrapped either side of the exposed wire hanger in paper to build on to the mask.


For Adam's mask I added a lower jaw made of cardboard and masking tape. It fits like a chin strap, but you want to leave a big enough gap so that the person wearing it can breathe and talk. At this point we also filled in some of the gaps with more masking tape to make the shape of the eyes. the under side of the 'nose' was also covered. This step I also added a hand to the top. It is just a rubber glove stuffed with paper towels. I taped it to the top.

*Note -neither of these masks will feel extremely sturdy but you are really just making the initial shape which we will then cover. They will be solid in the end so only use as much cardboard and tape as you need to keep them in place.

Step 4: Paper Mache Clay

Picture of Paper Mache Clay
Now comes the step when you get to cover the masks in paper mache.

I found  a recipe online from the ULTIMATE PAPER MACHE website. A recipe perfected by a woman named Jonni Good.
Here is her website if you want to see the paper mache clay in action.
ultimate paper mache

Basically we thought that this recipe would be easiest to use to add detail to the masks without making them too heavy.
It does have a lot of ingredients that you may not already have. But it worked well for us and was actually really inexpensive to make. I recommend this recipe for these masks but you do not have to use it. you can work with regular paper mache and paper strips if you see fit!

The recipe-
  • Cheap toilet paper (measure the wet paper pulp, and use 1.24 cups – some rolls contain more paper than needed)
  • 1 cup Joint compound from the hardware store (get “regular,” not “fast set” or “light”.)
  • 3/4 cup Elmer’s Glue-all
  • 1/2 cup White Flour
  • 2 tablespoons Linseed Oil
Wet the toilet paper to a pulp. remove water and add all of the other ingredients. Mix well by hand (or Jonni recommends using a hand mixer)

Tada! paper mache clay!

I have posted photos of the detail of our masks but what you decide to add is up to you!

I made a nose and eyes for Barbara and I also made individual teeth out of the clay. You do not have to do this. you can let the detail come out in the paint it is totally up to you!

For Adam we basically just covered the paper and tape, we added ears out of the clay and minor detail to the eyes.

This stuff is REALLY easy to use. It sticks to everything and dries hard like a cast. just keep in mind that the more you use the heavier your masks will be.

*Tip You can store this paper mache goop in an airtight container in your fridge so that you can add onto the masks later. I kept a small bowl through Halloween week so that I could touch up the masks if they needed it!

Let them dry for about 2 days.

Step 5: Painting Your Masks.

Picture of Painting Your Masks.

I used Craftsmart Acrylic paint to paint the masks.
Choose a neutral skin tone- like color for the initial coat. I painted the hallows of the eyes black and the inside of the mouth and the gums red. For the teeth I used a cream color since white was a little too bright. For Adam I added some detail to darken in the area around the eyes and hand with a light brown color. I painted the inside of the mouth Black and added some small white teeth to the bottom 'jaw'. Don't forget to paint the hand and the underside of Adam's nose!

Step 6: The Finishing Touches

Picture of The Finishing Touches

To complete the masks I added hand painted eyeballs for Adam's fingers and for the inside of Barbara's mouth. These, along with the tongue were shaped out of Crayola Model Magic. You can get cheap packages of it from any craft store (about $5 total).
It is also very easy to use packaged eyeballs from a Halloween store or ping pong balls for this task.

We covered Adam's head in cheap sale rack brown fur from a fabric store and just used the Elmers glue-all to attach it to the helmet.

The mouth of Barbara and Adam's eye sockets were covered in black nylon from a pair of old tights and glued on.

I purchased a cheap brown wig from the halloween store as well to cover the back of Barbara's head (since I am a blonde). You don't need to spend much money on this. People wont be paying attention to you hair. Trust me!

I also used some of the Crayola Model Magic to shape a few teeth for Adam and glue them on to the lower part of the nose.

In the meantime I also painted the cover of the "Handbook for the Recently Deceased" to use as our prop book.

All of our clothes were purchased from a secondhand store like the Salvation army or Goodwill.

Step 7: Enjoy!

Picture of Enjoy!

Go out and let others marvel at the hard work you put in to make the coolest Halloween masks around!

Comments

n3squ1k made it! (author)2016-10-30

Thanks for tips, I followed some of your advice and adapted using other posts and "you tube" vids. Very happy with final results and won 1st prize as well as many comments on how cool they were. Looking forward to making other masks in this way.

kristinsilver made it! (author)2016-10-25

Thanks so much for posting such a thorough tutorial! I combined tips from yours and another "instructor" to create my own. Much appreciated!

MelanieT7 made it! (author)2015-10-18

We didn't follow yours 100% but we and everyone else love the costumes. Thank you for the guidance!

houseape82 (author)2015-10-07

Would you be willing to sell these?

cramwitwalnuts (author)2015-08-17

I feel like there are steps missing? The final product looks great but what about under barbara's mask? Is there something you do to disguise your chim, ears and side of your face? I have been folliwing this to the letter but there is still a LOT not covered by mask or hair.

ammaraee (author)2015-05-17

How much would you sell it for?

ChristalR (author)2014-09-30

Are you willing to

WhodrankmyBru (author)ChristalR2014-11-05

I would be willing to sell mine of you're interested. I can send pictures if you email me at Lindsey_lb@yahoo.com

WhodrankmyBru (author)2014-10-29

Didn't think I used too much clay but my mask turned out so heavy I can't even wear it! It pushed on my lower jaw/chin badly so I was thinking about adding some padding there but any advice on how to make it a little more comfortable/wearable?

made these costumes this year. What fun!. I used a toy hard hat with an adjustable headband for the guy mask and a baseball cap (with the bill of the cap duct-taped up to form the upper lip of the female mask. The bottom lip was made with a wire hanger frame and cardboard for the body of the bottom lip. I think its important for the fit around your head to be secure so as weight is added, the mask won't shift. And I used paper mache paper strips and lots of maskin/duct tape for the body. Paper mache pulp for the raised portions adding depth to the mask. And, coat the mask after painting with Decoupage (sp?) it paints on like white glue but dries glossy clear and hard.

LauraC (author)2014-10-29

For anybody else struggling with the paper mache clay, I highly recommend plaster of paris cloth (looks like a big rolled bandage) instead. As long as you build your model up with all the paper and tape you need for your form, this is so much easier than the clay.

Rudyroo2201 (author)2014-10-24

I loved your post! Inspired me to make them both this year. What fun I had.

lynisha (author)2014-10-23

Hi! Your costumes are amazing, Im making these this year, i only have 2 days left until my party and I doubt I will finish. Would you consider selling these?

ChristalR (author)2014-09-30

are you willing to

AmandaI (author)2014-09-02

How'd do you make the eyes?

qwertyuiopll (author)2013-10-20

dable so sorry I haven't gotten back to you! I just got the instructables app. Yes the pmc should be very thin. Build everything out of paper and tape and just let the pmc be the outer coat or it will get very heavy. for Barbara there are a lot of pieces you can substitute if it is getting too heavy. especially the teeth. try making those out of modeling foam too. or cover paper or cotton balls with pmc to take off some of the weight. The Barbara mask is the heaviest, but the lower jaw rested on my chest and made it pretty comfortable. I also used an old shoulder pad for my forehead to make it softer. Remember you don't need to use so much paper mache clay because it will dry very hard and is really durable.

bethamphetamine (author)2013-10-17

I'm going to make these for my boyfriend and I, and our best friends are dressing up as Beetle juice and Lydia. Do you have any pointers? I'm anxious to get started :)

Camoorer (author)2013-10-17

These are awesome. Can I buy them?? Way too hard for me to make.

Ebvardh (author)2013-10-01

Awesome! I've always been a huge fan of Beetlejuice. I might try to do these this year.

dable (author)2013-09-25

Soooo, taking a crack at this. Got my first amount of 'paper mache clay' and overnight its already too heavy. The wife is going to refuse to wear it, if I keep this up. What you see in the picture that is white is 100% paper mache clay. Should I be modeling with tape and newspaper first and then just be putting light amounts of paper mache clay over it like skin? For some reason I thought the mask would be 90% paper mache clay, but if that's the case it'll be too heavy for the average neck, or I'm doing something wrong. PLEASE HELP! :(

Photo: http://imgur.com/fCQoVvR

sprnklz54 (author)2013-07-16

Love it!!! BeetleJuice is the best!!

sclocher (author)2013-06-10

Great job! Also, i find it pretty funny that you bought those outfits at the good will, and Lydia's line (in response to Otho asking about there clothes for the Seance) is "You'll have to check the Goodwill" lol.... Sorry to nerd out, but great job none the less, might do this for Halloween this year.

CarolinaHunrichse (author)2012-11-09

awesome i love it

jdwaynes1980 (author)2012-11-07

This is so amazing. Best costume duo EVER!

CandyLV (author)2012-11-07

Fantastic!

depotdevoid (author)2012-11-03

Brilliant!

Nick70587 (author)2012-11-02

That is so great!

poofrabbit (author)2012-11-02

Love this movie and your look is spot on! Very well done!

pokiespout (author)2012-11-02

Gorgeous work, and this thing doesn't even read like stereo instructions!

jessyratfink (author)2012-11-02

I've been seeing photos of this all over! Super awesome.

audreyobscura (author)2012-11-02

I gasped when I saw this. Love this so much, great work!!!

Penolopy Bulnick (author)2012-11-02

Yay! Way awesome costumes and you have the book too!!!

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