Instructables

Terrifying High-quality Masks (Plaster of Paris)

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Joker Thug and Ogre masks! How to make high-quality Halloween masks!

   For the past 7 years,
DainiusGB and Aurimasmb have been making Halloween masks, using a process that ensures great results: terrifying, durable, and beautiful masks that can be used over and over again. Over the years, we have refined the pipeline for this process, and are sharing it with the world now, eagerly awaiting to see what the DIY community will do with it.

    This instructable will cover the technique of making masks using this method:  from plastilin to plaster, as well as explain some of the artistic thinking behind the process.  

    As well as providing a general approach for anyone wanting to do their own project using this method, we provide 2 examples (our own work of Halloween 2009) of masks made using this process, detailing the differences in approach that were taken.

The masks we created this year:
DainiusGB: The Joker Thug mask
and 
Aurimasmb: The Ogre mask

So - get out your trusty vaseline, and get ready to create your own high-quality Halloween mask!

 
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Step 1: Preparation

Before beginning the process, here's an overview of how this project will work:

Using a base mass for support, we created a mold from plastilin (a high-end modeling dough) for the shape of the mask. Next, we applied wet plaster of paris gauze/bandage in strips over the mold. Once dry, we removed this plaster shape, trimmed it, pierced eye, nose, and strap attachment holes, smoothed the surface and painted it. For some final touches, hair or other details are applied to the mask, as well as any padding for comfort. 

H
ere are some materials that you'll be needing:

Base mass - This could be anything from a head-shaped rock to a bowl - its purpose is to provide the basic shape on which to apply plastiline and mold the face of your mask. Instead of using wollops of plastiline to fill in empty skull space, use this to do the work for you. Fortunately for us this year, we had access to life-sized, perfectly proportionately correct models of the human heads, complete with nice stands to work on (a plaster head used for academic drawing). Previously I have used whatever I could find lying around the house - bowls, vases, even lobster buoys from the beach. The point is - it has to be about the size of your head. 

A plastic bag/wrap/sheet - This is very useful when dealing with getting your plastiline off your base mass and keeping your art teacher's plaster head clean. 

Tape - Use this to tape the plastic to your base mass.

2 or more kg of Plastiline - This is one of the most precious artistic materials in existence. It does not need to cure, is infinitely reusable, and actually becomes more malleable when being used because of heat generated by your hands.

Plaster of Paris bandages/gauze or (not recommended) newspapers and papier mache liquid (flour, water.) Plaster bandages can be found at the trusty art store.

Paints or markers for painting and detailing your mask. Its up to you how you want to paint or color your mask - we used acrylic paints.

A bowl of water To dip the plaster bandages into when plastering.

Optional:

Some tools to work the Plastiline (my personal favorite is a butter knife, knicked from the kitchen)

Hair dryer - Used to help the wet plaster dry.  

Handtowel or cloth of some kind - Used to soak up excess moisture during plaster process. 

Clear laquer
- for making a shiny smooth effect on the mask. The unsmoothed plaster surface can be very rough and bumpy, making it difficult to paint well. Also, if you want a metallic effect, If you spray paint the smoothed mask silver or gold it can look almost like metal.

Hot glue gun - To attach softeners on the inside of the mask or for attaching the bicycle helmet strap.

Where do you get your clay? I'm trying to find some good stuff but all the places I've found you have to order it from and it's an arm, half a leg, and a couple thumbs for shipping..
Aurimasmb (author)  KemikalzAreFun9 months ago
When we last worked on these, we lived in Lithuania. We would buy a Russian brand at the artist's supply store by the kilogram - I seem to remember that they weren't outrageously expensive, but not exactly cheap. Here's a link to some modelling clay on amazon that might be similar: http://www.amazon.com/Chavant-DaVinci-Plastiline-Modeling-Consistency/dp/B00133SRAI
annarosesc9 months ago
Evil clown.

Anna
www.wordunscrambler.com
nelsnils2 years ago
Superb!
hed4203 years ago
I did a dragon head mask just like this about 10 years ago. The only difference is that I put some extra plaster on top of the gauze. Man was that a big mistake! The plaster ended up being over 1" thick and that thing weighed like 10 pounds. My neck was killing me by the end of the night.
hydrnium.h23 years ago
How much do all the things needed for this instructable cost?
No more than $30, it helps if you have the clay or the heads before hand.
acdc13 years ago
cool batman scenes
Akmuo4 years ago
You guys did an INCREDIBLE job!
Very well researched and supported.
A++++ in my book
and keep them comming 
Valeil Akmuo3 years ago
you could almost say it's an incred-'ible? ;D
Valeil3 years ago
Great 'ible, guys. Very informative. I'm trying this, sans the base mass, using my face as a reference point. The mask I'm making is pretty simple, so I'll post pics when I'm done(:
dfwmonkie3 years ago
nice !
Alpvax3 years ago
WOW. amazing masks and a great 'ible too. very detailed (masks and instructions) and easy to follow (instructions)
wow that's awesome!!! and it's look real

SureShot4 years ago
WOW! Super cool! Thats for the effort. I gotta try this one.
 I knew this would be featured when I saw it this morning! The masks look incredible! 
Oh....my.....gosh. Those look amazing.
the doer4 years ago
 These  masks are fantastic (and so are the detailed step-by-step instructions). Very impressive work! Love the joker suit.
the doer4 years ago
 
jmedeisis4 years ago
 Nice; an extensive guide, perfect for making your own mask of horror. Great job, and keep churning out those masks for that future business of yours ;]