The technique began several months ago, back in summer, when my roomie/BFF Charlie wanted to attend a masquerade party as a dragon. We developed the technique for her dragon mask, which you can see below. Then I wanted to make a bigger mask for myself, and decided to document the process for the world. :)
The basic idea is to start with one of those cheap basic plastic masks, and sculpt on top of it with crumpled aluminum foil and cardstock attached with masking tape. Read on for the detailed step-by-step!
Step 1: Materials & Tools
- a cheap plastic mask (about $3 from Michael's; try to get one with nice big eye holes)
- aluminum foil (on hand)
- 1/2" or 3/4" masking tape (on hand; you can use a wider roll if that's what you have; you'll just tear it lengthwise)
- cardstock (on hand, or $4 at Wal-Mart)
- Mod Podge (about $8)
- acrylic paint(s) ($2-4 per bottle)
- 3/4" braided elastic (about $3 at Wal-Mart or Jo-Ann Fabrics)
- any embellishes you like (fabric, crystals, feathers, rivets, etc)
- sponge brush
- needle and thread OR hot glue gun
- a straight pin or safety pin
- Krylon UV Resistant clear acrylic coating (it's a spraypaint) ($4 at Jo-Ann Fabrics with coupon)
- 1 oz. package Crayola Model Magic air-dry clay (on hand; about $4, I think)
- sandpaper (on hand)
Total cost: $20 (can be cheaper or more expensive, depending on what you have already)
Step 2: Start Sculpting
Use the cardstock for flat sections. Sketch your shape out, cut it, and tape into place. If you need a piece bigger than your cardstock sheets, tape several sheets together before sketching. You can also tape the cardstock into cones, which is probably what I should have done to make my horns.
Don't worry about lumpiness at this stage! Just focus on general shapes, proportions, and angles.
Be sure to try on your mask in the mirror frequently, to ensure the angles are correct. I had to re-do my frill after discovering it was projecting nearly vertically, rather than slanting horizontally over my head.
Step 3: Continue Sculpting, Add Attachment Loops for Elastic
Keep sculpting until you've finished the shape. Don't forget to try it on periodically! You want to catch any mistakes as soon as possible.
Cover the mask completely with tape, to help smooth everything out.
Holding the mask to your face, mark the inside of the mask at your temples. Make attachment loops and attach at these points. I used snakes of foil, but you can use wire if you prefer. In the last picture you can see I made a third attachment loop at the crown of my head. At the time I thought the mask would be too forward-heavy to be supported with the normal elastic, so I planned to have another elastic running between the third loop and the center of the horizontal elastic. However, the mask turned out to be easily lightweight enough, so I didn't use the third loop. You can omit it, unless you are making an extremely forward-heavy design.
Step 4: Seal, Paint, Decorate, Add Elastic
Optional: You can use small bits of Model Magic air-dry clay to fill in pits and indents, sanding when dry. Otherwise, use pieces of masking tape pulled taut across the indents. In either case, apply multiple coats of Mod Podge afterward.
Paint your mask however you like. I was inspired by the rough beaten-gold look of the Death Mask of Agamemnon, so I used a coat of black followed by a few coats of warm metallic gold, applied with a sponge brush. The gold I used is Venetian Gold from the Dazzling Metallics series by DecoArt, in case you were wondering.
Optional: Protect your mask with UV resistant clear coat.
After your paint has dried, add any embellishments you like.
Thread the end of your elastic through one of your temple anchor loops, tail to the inside, and stitch to itself as shown in the last picture (or hot glue if you can't/won't sew). Stitch the heck out of it so it's secure.
Hold the mask to your face and wrap the elastic loosely around your head to roughly measure it; cut the elastic a couple inches longer than you think you'll need.
Thread the elastic through the other anchor loop, tail to the inside, making sure there are no twists in the elastic. Pin the tail to the rest of the elastic as if you were going to stitch it to itself. Try on the mask. Tighten or loosen and re-pin as needed until it is a comfortable fit. Shake your head to test it; try not to make it uncomfortably snug. When you are sure it fits nicely, stitch the heck out of it and remove the pin. Trim the tail if it's too long.
Admire your awesome new mask!
Step 5: Wear Your Mask!
I hope you have enjoyed this instructable, and I hope you will have great success making your own sculpted mask. If anything was unclear, please ask. ^_^