Introduction: Princess Mononoke "San" Mask

Picture of Princess Mononoke "San" Mask

1. Get a eight to ten inch foam half-circle (can be found in Michaels or Joannes in the flower section). I tend to leave the plastic on, even wrapping in in more plastic.

2. Paper Mache the circle, anywhere from eight to fifteen layers, letting each layer dry. I make my own paste with flour and water, sometimes with white glue.

3. Once the paper mache layers are thick enough (around fifteen layers is recommended) and has fully dried, carefully pop the foam away from the shell. The easiest way I've found so far is loosening the edges first with a dinner knife, then stabbing it deep into the foam at a angle, and slowly pulling the foam away. There will be damage to the foam and the shell, but all shall be fixed soon. If you decide that the paper mache is still too thin, just stick the foam back into it and put a few more layers on. Once you're happy with the shell, coat the entire piece inside and out with Paper Clay or a equivalent air-dry clay. Give up to 24 hrs to dry and sand to smooth. Sketch the design onto the mask.

4. Get three napkin rings, wood is best, then drill holes into the mask, only slightly bigger than the ring. A power drill is quickest and cleanest, but a knife or scalpel works as well.

5. For the narrow slits in the eyes, simply cut them out with a scalpel. Make sure the blade is new so the cut is as clean as possible. Be careful! I have a scar on my thigh from these things.

6. Carefully push the rings into place and superglue them. If there is a noticeable gap, fill the space with leftover clay.

7. Use Paper Clay to make the decorative....things...same old routine, smear it on, use a small amount of water to smooth things down and to push it into the mask, let dry and then sand.

8. Paint! I used a combination of spray paint and acrylic, using red spray paint in a few layers to get the foundation. Once happy with the paint job, I sealed with with a acrylic medium.

9. Do a little jig, you're done!

The tutorial on Deviant Art I also do commissions!


marumari (author)2016-07-08

I wrapped the foam shell in saran wrap, and used painter's tape to tape the loose ends to the inside of the shell. At least that way the paper mache just pops right off the shell, without even the smallest amount of damage. :)

Prisci_Cupcake made it! (author)2016-05-15

This was a great tutorial. The mask was very strong and sturdy. It looked really awesome too. I used this with a full cosplay tutorial for an anime convention held at my home city. Everybody thought it was so authentic! Thanks for this tutorial!

md1448 made it! (author)2015-08-07

I loved your tutorial! It was very informative and easy to understand. I debuted my costume at San Japan. Some people asked me about the mask and I told them about your tutorial, so hopefully they'll check it out and spread the word! A few things I did different were I painted the eye slits, reinforced the napkin holders on the inside with E6000, sewed on elastic bands (like an umpire mask), and painted the insides of the eyes/mouth a dark gray since it gave them a little more depth.

kelly.l.butler made it! (author)2014-10-26

Wow what a great tutorial! Thank you so much for writing this! Just finished my San costume last night before heading out to my first Halloween party of the season (it was a huge hit). I had my boyfriend snap a pic real quick before we left to make sure I had a good one to share. I got the napkin rings off of ebay. I just guessed with sizing. They listed an approx size and I kinda just cut out a paper circle to match and held it up to the paper mache/clay mask. I got paper clay from Joanns. I also painted the insides of the rings black to really help cancel out light and make it almost impossible to see my face through the holes. Oh I also painted the black triangles by the eyes on instead of cutting them out.

bequito (author)kelly.l.butler2014-10-29

Looks great!! I'm hoping to finish mine up tonight. What did you do for the ears?

kelly.l.butler (author)bequito2014-10-29

Thanks @rebeccar3! I actually made the ears basically the same way as the mask. I got a foam cone and wrapped it in thin plastic before paper mache-ing it. After that I used some of my left of paper clay to coat it with. After sanding and painting them, I cut slits in the hood to slip them through. Hope this helps!

Stefy_O (author)2014-10-15

What size napkin rings did you get or did you just kind of wing it? && also, did you make your own paper clay or did you buy it at a store? I really love how yours turned out and was wanting to try this technique for other masks but wasn't really sure about the whole paper clay thing. Thanks!

garfeeld888 (author)2014-07-30

where did you find those napkin rings? looked at michaels, walmart, target and bed/bath/beyond... no luck

meanlilkitty (author)garfeeld8882014-07-30

Just go on ebay, it usually only takes me a couple of minutes to find the right kind and size, usually for about $12 for six or something close

Oooohhh this is awesome! I was planning on dressing as San for Comic Con(or Comikaze) so this is perfect for it!

Can this fit over ones face? Do you also make the "ears" for it too?

nonoririko (author)2012-11-14

I saw someone with this exact mask at otakon

meanlilkitty (author)nonoririko2012-11-14

Haha awesome! I also make them via commission, so who knows, I may have made that one!

Penolopy Bulnick (author)2012-03-29

Beautiful! Just like the movie!

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