Picture of Creating Any Shape Papier Mâché Mask
This instructable will teach you how to make a light weight and comfortable mask of limited only by your imagination!  These can be used as wearable masks, wall hangings, or masks to put somewhere and scare the tar out of a friend, relative or enemy.

While many of us wear masks for Halloween, and believe me this is a great way to make your own unique Halloween mask, it's just pain fun to make a mask anytime of year!

If you create a mask, post it, I would LOVE to see it!

Let's get started....


A wonderful instructbale reader pointed out to me that this technique is used by a wonderful artist named Jonni Good, I picked up this way of making masks from a workshop taught by another art teacher, I had no idea that this trickles back down to Ms. Good and her years of work!  So do check her out, I did and I was BLOWN AWAY by what she can do!

Step 1: Materials Needed

Picture of Materials Needed
Blue Shop Towels
Plaster of Paris
White School Glue
Thin elastic
Hot Glue Gun
Petroleum Jelly (Vaseline)
Two large bowls
Face/Mask/Face Form (I really like the Make-a-Mask® Reusable Face Forms)
Oil Based Clay (Molding Clay) - The more oil the better

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HeidiM8 made it!26 days ago

Six students and I made masks together. It was dicy having 6 kids do the paper maché quickly, and, having no idea how much maché googoo we'd need, we made a first batch of 16 oz glue and plaster, vinegar, and then quickly made a 2nd batch the same size for the rest in the same bowl. One kid made too many heavy layers leaving the last kid a little short on mixture. Some were a bit too liberal with the vaseline, and the last kid's mask failed - and we learned the most from that one. All in all, for art students (and teacher) it was a great learning process including design, sculpting, papier maché, patience, painting and finishing. Five 2-hour classes (could have done it in 4 with a rest for drying on day 3. Thank you!

L.J.O1 month ago
I want to ask if there's a way to smoothen the surface, because it looks rough almost in all masks and what I have in mind should be clean smooth surface, any tips?
ashabee96 made it!4 months ago

I needed a mask for my Articuno cosplay and this along with crcampeau's tutorial (http://www.instructables.com/id/Masquerade-Mask/) I did it! :)

Jamie FranzH6 months ago

Great instructable! I made an Animal mask for my rock star costume.

Animal mask.jpg
lmmom64 made it!6 months ago
This is an owl my son and I made for his drama class. The instructions were so easy to follow and so great we're going to do a wolf mask next. My only question is, any tips on cleanup? How do I get the dried plaster of paris and glue out of my bowl?
SamanthaW19 months ago

We are using reusable white face masks and paper mache. Do I need to cover the masks prior to adding the paper mache?

amanda.millson10 months ago

Fabulous instructions which I am going to follow to the letter next week as I have been tasked with making a troll (from Frozen) mask for my daughter's dance show!! Thank you

jill20 made it!10 months ago

Masks made by kids age 7-13 using the instrucatable. Thanks!

CortniD10 months ago

Thanks so much for this "instructable" !!!! because of your kindness my Vintage Halloween Party is going to be a big hit! I would have been lost if I had not found this page. It has taken a few trial runs, but I think we have it figured out now! I was wondering though if there is a specific type of Plaster of Paris that was used in this tutorial?

thistimenew10 months ago

Do you ever have a problem with the mask fitting on the face? Because you build up the front of the mask mold with clay, and it is hollow, the mask may not have the right shape to sit on the nose/brow..? This may not be a problem, but I want to try really building up the brow area, and I'm afraid it will sit awkwardly when someone tries to wear it. Could you glue felt to the inside? hmmm...

ljacobs210 months ago

How long does it take to fully dry before you can take it off the mold?

poofrabbit (author)  ljacobs210 months ago
You can pull it off the mold in 12 to 24 hrs then give it another day to dry off the mold
ljacobs210 months ago

How long does it take to dry?

poofrabbit (author)  ljacobs210 months ago
24 to 48 hrs :)
ljacobs2 made it!10 months ago

Thanks for the great tutorial!! I made this mask and used the directions exactly as you posted them. I have never done anything like this before and it was so much fun!!

HPandLOTR1 year ago
that's really good :)
Honus1 year ago
That is a really great process for making masks- well done!
poofrabbit (author)  Honus1 year ago
Thanks so much!
This is my new favorite way to paper mache, so thanks so much for posting this. Is there any trick to getting the left over vaseline off the inside of the mask?
poofrabbit (author)  zombiexgirl1 year ago
I also love this technique! You can use a towel to wipe off any excess that may be left. I didn't have a whole heap in mine, I did a wipe down then added a acrylic paint. I had one of my masks on Halloween no issues with paint or pealing so my assumption is that got off what it needed to. :)
poofrabbit (author)  poofrabbit1 year ago
oh oops I already answered this, lol!
poofrabbit (author)  zombiexgirl1 year ago
I have not found any left over Vaseline being an issue on the mask. I give it a generous but thin coat. I've made several of these now and a wipe with a paper towel on the inside of the mask then painting over the inside with acrylic paint appears to do the trick. It's not greasy and the paint holds. :) Thanks for the comment and if you make a mask do share!
poofrabbit (author)  zombiexgirl1 year ago
I also love this technique! You can use a towel to wipe off any excess that may be left. I didn't have a whole heap in mine, I did a wipe down then added a acrylic paint. I had one of my masks on Halloween no issues with paint or pealing so my assumption is that got off what it needed to. :)
Beglas1 year ago
That's donna be reaaly funny mask)Thanks for an idea)
poofrabbit (author)  Beglas1 year ago
not a problem!
Awesome! Thank you! My youngest son wants to be a piranha plant from Mario Bros for Halloween and I'm hoping I can make the head using this method :) I'll defiantly let you know how it turns out.
poofrabbit (author)  arenfroe moore1 year ago
Oh yes you definitely could. That's a very round shape, you might consider going somewhere like walmart an finding a ball the size of your sons head. You could then build up on the ball with the oil based clay, cover it with Vaseline then put this type of mache over the top. You could use a bucket or trash can to hold the ball in place while you work. Then you could simply pop the ball. Just an idea. :)
Your masks are amazing! I can't wait to try it out for my kiddos for Halloween! How would suggest making one to cover the whole head?
poofrabbit (author)  arenfroe moore1 year ago
Thank you very much! To make one for the whole head, I would use the mask shape of your choice then create a head the basic shape of the individual wearing it. You could use wadded up paper, sacks, anything that's firm. I would then wrapped it in saran wrap or tinfoil. If you have a mannequin head that would help but those heads (even the Styrofoam heads you can get) tend to be smaller than the heads a lot of people need. Then do the same steps and build your layers over the entire head. When dry you can pull out the wadded paper. Just make sure you Vaseline the whole thing, if all else fails and you can't get the head out, cut the back of the mask to open it up remove everything inside, then use the same paper towel and mache mixture to close the splice back up on the interior of the mask. I'd love to see what you came up with!
I made a puppet head using newspaper strips and clear glue. Dried it in sun after each layer and the end product was very stiff. But now it's rainy season and it has absorbed moisture from air and become all soggy. It's even starting to lose shape.

Will your recipe be able to hold it's shape in high humidity? Looks better since you used plaster of paris.
poofrabbit (author)  Antzy Carmasaic2 years ago
Yes the plaster should keep it all in place. Also, I would suggest painting it with acrylic paints on both sides of the mask. Acrylic acts almost like a plastic coating so moisture won't sneak in on you. :)
I made a puppet head, so it's a full 3D figure with a hole where the neck joins. So could only apply generous coatings of acrylic on the outer side. But even that coating has now become sticky.

I'm considering covering it in layers of your mixture and after drying, taking out the old soggy layers in chunks out of the neck hole. That might save the puppet head maybe.
poofrabbit (author)  Antzy Carmasaic2 years ago
You could try that covering it with this mix. IF you do, I would not add the vinegar because it won't hurt anything if yours dries fast. What is in the center of the head? Is it hollow or solid?
The center is hollow. It has an animatronic mouth, so some electrical components are stuffed in there. Will try out your way this weekend and post a pic of how it turns out. Fingers crossed ;P
poofrabbit (author)  Antzy Carmasaic2 years ago
Humm, my guess is the moister is working it's way in then from the interior of the head. Likely a pain to take it all out and do the same mixture on the interior and then paint it. Do keep me posted!
Excellent instructable very well done, thanks for sharing
Many thanks I'm glad so many are enjoying it!
mini_mom2 years ago
These are great maybe you should sell these at a booth somewhere as they are very professional looking.
poofrabbit (author)  mini_mom2 years ago
Thanks a million! I am planning to help some kids make some for Halloween this year, you never know word might get out, lol!
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