Introduction: The Maitlands!

Picture of The Maitlands!
Introducing Barbara and Adam Maitland!

Every year for Halloween I usually take a face/sex altering route.  One year I was an old man complete with the liquid latex face and all.  This year after some inspiration from Pinterest I decided that Matt and I would be the Maitlands, and the peach fuzz on my face would get a break from being ripped out at the end of the night.

Here are the majority of the materials that I used for these masks.  The other materials that I used will be in the upcoming steps and I will point them out.  Some steps can more than likely be modified for ease, but this was my first time making masks, so I had to learn the hard way!
  • Plaster of Paris (aka, MAGIC/LIFESAVING SAUCE)
  • Vinyl spackling (probably not necessary, in hindsight)
  • Masking tape
  • Newspaper
  • Plaster wrap
  • Model Magic

Step 1: Forming the Masks

Picture of Forming the Masks
You just have to dive in! I started with two foam toy "hard hats" as a base to build off of. Then, I searched our apt. to see what materials we already had that I could use.  I ended up sacrificing two metal s'more skewers to form her jawline, which was totes worth it no matter how much I loved that s'mores kit. From there I used newspaper and masking tape to build up each mask and position everything as best I could.  I also used model magic and a foam cone to form Adam Maitlands stretched out nose.
 New Materials Used:
  • 2 Toy foam hard hats
  • Metal skewers
  • Foam cone

Step 2: Sturdy Up Those Masks!

Picture of Sturdy Up Those Masks!
I mentioned before that some steps could probably be omitted or streamlined a little. This part of the process is definitely one of them.  After plaster wrapping each mask, I wanted to skin to appear much more smooth so I added the vinyl spackle, but it ended up being a little difficult to sand completely considering how curvy the masks were. 

Note: I didn't get to document the process of making it because my hands were coated in plaster, but to make his hand sticking out I filled a rubber glove with rice, plaster wrapped each finger, and held them where I wanted until they dried enough to hold their own shape.
New Materials Used:
  • Rubber glove 

Step 3: Add the Details

Picture of Add the Details
To me this was the most important part of the mask. What separates the boys from the men. What separates the, "nice try" from the, "HOLY CRAP THAT IS ACCURATE!". The deets.

In this case Model Magic was so appropriately named.  I drew where the detailing would lie and built up the face from there.  I dipped my fingers in water throughout the process because it made the Model Magic seamlessly blend into the mask and create wrinkles....Magic I say!!  
​New Materials Used:
  • None

Step 4: Create the Other Details...

Picture of Create the Other Details...
These were all fun to do!

My boyfriend and I formed the teeth out of modeling clay and stuck a toothpick in each before baking them.  

I also formed the tongue out of Model Magic (you'll see in the next step)

For the his eyeball fingers, I found a bag of 10 plastic eyeballs at Party City, drilled a hole in them, then customized each one by melting the plastic and widening the hole using a crochet needle.  I drew the corresponding finger letter inside each one so we didn't struggle putting them on him.
For the Handbook for the Recently Deceased, I fortunately found the perfect size and color book.  I printed out a picture of the book from the movie, cut out the picture, traced it onto the book and painted the white edge around it, Mod Podged the picture onto it, and free handed the lettering with a white paint pen.
New Materials Used:
  • Modeling clay and toothpicks
  • Old book
  • Bag of plastic eyeballs
  • Mod Podge
  • White paint pen

Step 5: Finishing Touches...!

Picture of Finishing Touches...!
All that's left is to paint the masks, shove and glue in those teeth (after cutting down the toothpicks), glue in the tongue and eyeballs, and add the wigs.  I also ended up painting the "wet" parts of her mask with glossy Mod Podge (her gums and tongue).

After painting Matt's mask, I hot glued latex ears onto each side and painted them to match the skin tone.

Shadowing was INCREDIBLY difficult, I must admit...plaster is not the easiest thing to create any sort of gradient on. Go figure! 
New Materials Used:
  • Wigs
  • Latex ears

Step 6: STRUT.

Picture of STRUT.
Here is our final product! It was a blast to watch peoples reactions.  My best friend Jackie also came and dressed as the perfect Beetlejuice.  We've been told on several occasions that we go a little overboard... :)

I also hot glued black nylon to the throat area of my mask to hide my face while still allowing me to see where I was going.

I am also lucky enough to have a mom with a great eye!  She found my dress and Matt's shirt while we were searching for outfits at our local Salvation Army.  The total cost of both masks was about $50 and roughly 40 hours of work. I honestly didn't think to keep track because I was having so much fun making them. Time really does fly!
New Materials Used:
  • Black nylon


kristinsilver made it! (author)2016-10-25

Great step-by-step! I incorporated a good amount of your tips along with winging it at times, and am super happy with the results. Can't wait to strut. Thanks so much!

jendematteo (author)2015-10-19

This is the best! I am in the early stages of the question about the long did you bake them & at what temp? Did you coat them with anything before attaching?

TheRemy500 (author)jendematteo2016-09-14

Oh my gosh, I know this completely doesn't matter anymore but I didn't see this comment last year and I want to respond still! For the teeth I just baked them according to the directions on the package. :)

Sorry again!

TheRemy500 (author)jendematteo2015-10-19

Thank you! I just followed the baking instructions on the clay so I don't remember off the top of my head, and nope didn't coat them with anything before attaching. I do recommend super gluing them in or something of that nature though :)

kristinsilver (author)2016-09-11

Awesome and inspiring, I'm going to try it! One question- did you have any issues with the model magic not sticking to the plaster? I would picture it wanting to peel off as it dries. Thanks!

TheRemy500 (author)kristinsilver2016-09-14

Thank you! I didn't have any problems with the model magic sticking to the plaster, but I did use a lot of water to smooth out the edges and then sealed them with a little water mixed with white glue, I believe. It was so long ago i'm trying to recall exactly how I did it! lol Hope that helps!

Megrdh made it! (author)2016-09-14

hi I'm in the process of making your masks! You are so talented! My plaster wrapped mask was a little crackly and not so smooth. So I added model magicked to the outside of the mask smoothing it out with water. It's drying a little cracky. I have not yet made the eyes, lip line, wrinkles. How did you get the mask so smooth? I don't want to add magic mold to more then I have too, I'm not even sure it it was a good idea, but the plaster looked to rough to paint. Any advice. I haven started The other mask so I'm open to suggestions. Thanks in advance.

TheRemy500 (author)Megrdh2016-09-14

Thank you so much, looks like you're off to a great start! I also smoothed my model magic out with water and I filled in any cracks with a "loose" plaster of paris mixture. Then I sanded it a little to smooth it even more. Basically though to get the mask super smooth I made sure to really smooth out every piece of plaster wrap that I used. The little hole in the netting will completely fill in if you make sure to wet all the plaster on the sheet. My advice for the next mask if to try and make sure your newspaper and tape base is as flat as it can be. I used extra layers of tape to smooth out any wrinkles, because it will be the base for the rest of the layers, and if its wrinkly then everything will look a little wrinkly.

Hope that helped! :) Good luck!

SareyrathmonieP (author)2015-10-16

Whoa--totally epic!! I can't wait to start this!

SandyS38 (author)2015-10-14

These are awesome! This may sound silly... but do you remove the helmets from underneath once the plaster has dried? Or do you keep them in? Also, do you think that paper machet would work instead of Plaster Wrap? I'm worried that they will be heavy. Thank you!

TheRemy500 (author)SandyS382015-10-14

Thank you! I did not remove the helmets after the fact, they were made of foam so they were very soft and light. And I don't have much experience with paper mache but I feel like it would probably get pretty heavy. The masks were actually very light despite using plaster wrap because the bulk of the body was made using the newspaper and tape.

Hope that helps! :)

byemilo (author)2015-09-18

These are great! These are the best costumes I've ever seen for these characters, and most true to the designs. I will certainly be borrowing your model for my costume. Thanks so much for sharing your process and giving such great tips.

TheRemy500 (author)byemilo2015-09-18

Thank you so much! I worked very hard on them and was super proud, so that means a lot :D

Good luck on your own adventure! :)

OmnivoreNZ (author)2014-02-14

Very well done, and very well documented.

TheRemy500 (author)OmnivoreNZ2014-02-25

Thank you! :D

tsa'ad (author)2013-11-14

Beetle Juice! Beetle Juice! Beetle Juice!

alannarosewhitney (author)2013-11-12

This is absolutely fantastic! Really cool & well-made costumes!

Thank you Alanna! :D

Aseel _RAB (author)2013-11-11


Lord_Pruitt (author)2013-11-08

very cool!

TheRemy500 (author)Lord_Pruitt2013-11-08

Thank you!! :)

-BALES- (author)2013-11-08

Fantasic work!

TheRemy500 (author)-BALES-2013-11-08

Thank you so much! I had so much fun doing it, I'm looking for excuses to pick up a new project asap haha :D

tderakc (author)2013-11-08

Beetle juice movie <3

About This Instructable




Bio: I have my B.S. in environmental science but I'm an artist at heart. I am always thinking of new projects to pick up ... More »
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