For the past 7 years,
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
Aurimasmb: The Ogre mask
So - get out your trusty vaseline, and get ready to create your own high-quality Halloween mask!
Step 1: Preparation
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.
Here 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.
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.