Instructables
Picture of Cheap but convincing masquerade masks
Here's a cheap way to make masquerade or Venetian masks that look as good as real ones.

Most of my body art work requires some sort of props. These are often used only once or twice so they have to be cheap. Good quality masks start at around £20.00 GBP and go on up to hundreds of pounds for an original. Far too expensive to justify for a single shoot.

We're going to use readily available materials to create some nice masks.

 
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
What you will need to make these masks.

1 Pk cheap styrene joke shop masks
Some car repair polyurethane resin and glass tissue
Hot malt glue
Cyanoacrylate GEL super glue
Some off cuts of material (I like satin)
Artists acrylic paint and ink
Some lace edging (if you want to get really fancy)
Some two part epoxy putty.
Imagination

The joke shop masks are really cheap, I paid £5.00 for 10 masks, but they are pretty poor quality and at first don't look too promising. The eye slots are all wrong and they have awful nose and mouth holes. The noses are way too small, the lips are not well formed and they are really thin and floppy.

Never mind we can cure all that!

Here's the basic mask. I've marked out better eye holes with a felt pen.

Step 2: Cut the mask

Picture of Cut the mask
Using a pair of sharp scissors, cut out the new eye holes. The exact shape and size will depend on the mask you want to create.
I'd advise finding and image of a mask you like and then cutting to that shape.

Here is the original and the trimmed out mask.

Also at this stage you need to decide on the final shape of the actual mask and trim to that shape too.

anonygrazer2 years ago
Absolutely wow!
KitschyKoo3 years ago
Thanks for the great idea and the inspiration! I didn't fabricate my mask as I didn't have enough time (I picked a paper mache one up pretty cheap) I did use the hot glue technique to create the scroll designs. I also put PVA over the design and the area I wanted a metallic finish and put tin foil over the top, using a brush to push the tin foil into the creases. It doesn't matter if you make holes in the tin foil, because you can just patch it with a piece of tin foil. I then dry brushed black paint over the tin foil and used a cloth to rub off the paint. I couldn't find diamond harlequin fabric, so I just used blk and white checker drill fabric cutting it on the bias. The back of the collar and hat are lined with vinyl that I had lying around the house, but sticky back felt or craft foam would've worked.
Mask.jpg
Awesome!
marshon (author)  KitschyKoo3 years ago
That's a really nice mask my friend. Good work!
Hellwolve3 years ago
Wow, thanks - I've got a mask I've repaired a few times, but it never occured to me that I could repair it with "serious" stuff like fibreglass and resin!
marshon (author)  Hellwolve3 years ago
I love using resin. It can be formed or cast or moulded to make almost anything!
I've yet to use it, but as I see it more and more I'd love to use it - I think afformentioned repair is worth a shot!
saffron693 years ago
this is great ...my daughter and I just starting one now ... but i do have one quick question...
the "tissue" i assume is fiberglass... sorry im australia and thats what we call it.
My daughter grabbed a box of tissues and though im sure i could use it.... maybe its not what you meant ;D
Im going with the fiberglass option to test first anyways...lol can always do another if it goes all wrong =)

thanks so much for this ... Lol daughter is yelling for me to hurry up!
Cheers!!
marshon (author)  saffron693 years ago
Yes, it is fibreglass, but there are two types. The first is the rough matt that is used for general lay up work, the other is a fine 'tissue' that is usually used as a smoothing top layer.
It's the tissue type that you want for these masks because the standard stuff is a little rough for this kind of work.
awesome thanks for your reply ... i used the regular fiberglass matting..lol yes was a bit rough but still ... what fun... smelly sticky and god dont get it on your hands... but fun =)
again thank heaps for this instubctable =)
FionaP4 years ago
Did you create the bottom of the mask using epoxy on both masks? They look amazing. Is epoxy like...clay? I want to make these and hang them on my wall. For the gold on, the detail on the face is that also done with super glue and then painted over?
marshon (author)  FionaP4 years ago
The backs of the masks are coated in fibreglass resin and some of the thin tissue matt that is available for fibreglass layup. The only reason I use it is to stiffen the plastic masks without adding too much weight. The filigri details on the front of the masks uses either hot-melt glue or superglue 'gel' type. The only reason I used the superglue was that I couldn't make a small enough bead with the hot melt and I couldn't control it very well either. You could use a fine twine and coat that in normal superglue instead. Once the glues have gone rock hard (I leave 24 hours), then over paint them.
yoyology4 years ago
Very nice work.

In college, I helped my brother-in-law make a custom-fit Phantom of the Opera mask.  We coated his face with petroleum jelly and then used small bits of masking tape, about dime-sized, to cover his face.  Each piece overlapped with others, and it was perfectly form-fit.  Two layers of that made a sturdy enough mask to be removed.  Then we trimmed it and gave it several coats of white spray enamel, which stiffened it nicely.  The final touch was a sprinkle of dust from a stick of glow-in-the-dark chalk while the final coat of paint was still tacky. 

It turned out very professional-looking, and cost us almost nothing.  I wish I still had pictures.
That would be great for an instructable!
 I may give it a shot, if I can find somebody who doesn't mind having his face slathered in Vaseline.  :-)
just the face? I didnt think of using tape. I used a plaster then had to make a 'mask' of the original plaster mask to get the face. You know pour the plaster on the inside of the original molding.
sneeman4 years ago
 if a kid saw the link im shure he'd be grateful.
SmartKnight4 years ago
 you really need to get rid of that link! what if little kids see it?
They'll think: "Whoa, the left one is bigger than the right one! Asymmetric anatomy!"
 The kid would surely be scarred for life and grow up to be a serial killer or rapist! Everyone knows seeing breasts is the most traumatic thing a child could experience, and nudity is totally unnatural!
I'm curious now, but where is the guideline saying no nudity? I've been poking around the site trying to find out. Not being a meany here, truly am curious. :)
woodNfish4 years ago
Very nice masks and a good instructable. I especially like your harlequin - very classic!
camcat4 years ago
 These look as good as the ones we have where I work! We're selling them for around $40! Very good simple ways to create gorgeous effects :D
Rue_Ryuzaki4 years ago
these masks are really good. i make masks out of plaster cloth and my face as the mold.
thepelton4 years ago
That would work great for halloween here in the USA.  Maybe even Mardi Gras.

Thanks,
Don
SinAmos4 years ago
Geez - la wheezy - I love it.