Decorative Masks: From Paper to Sculpture




Introduction: Decorative Masks: From Paper to Sculpture

About: Artist, Designer, Cosmaker, Cosplayer, Musician. I make Costumes, Music, Art.

Today we will make the transformation of a piece of fragile paper to a piece of sculpted craftsmanship rigid and with a solid finish that will serve us to use as a mask for carnivals and parties or to decorate our interior spaces and give it a certain touch of life and color.


  • Printed Material. (The mask or prop you want to make it)
  • Scissors / Knife
  • Paints
  • Hot glue Gun / Clear glue
  • Oven
  • Syringues
  • Transparent laquer cover
  • Polymer Clay / Modeling clay for baking.
  • Brushes
  • Fiberglass resin
  • Carving tools.
  • plastic cups for mixing
  • thermometer (in case the oven does not have)
  • Tape (optional)
  • Dremel (optional for details)

last but not least, Patience.

Step 1: Files / Templates

First of all we are going to search the web for the respective papercraft/pepakura mask design that you want to make, there are many sites to download great Pepakura/Papercraft designs. I'll leave you the ones I use the most. here are the links:




You have to pay:


You can also check my Shop is under construction:


Step 2: Cutting Out the Pieces, Two Options

for the moment of cutting you can work directly with the thin paper or transfer the pieces to a more rigid cardboard which later will avoid the use of resin as such, or the sculpture clay.

Step 3: Rigid Cardboard

The first thing will be to cut the guide mold and here take into account to remove the union tabs, so as not to generate unwanted spaces

Step 4: Cutting the Hard Gray Cardboard

To cut these pieces on this very rigid material, I recommend first isolating them and then using the exacto to make the finest cuts, as we will see in the next step.

Step 5: Exacto Finest Cuts

As we can see in the images we will use the exact one, and we will place a base to protect our table.

Step 6: Direct Cuts

You can also try cutting directly from the cardboard sheet, but remember to mark the front faces with an X or some other mark so you don't get confused later.

Step 7: The Mess

now do this process as many times as necessary depending on the templates and the shape of your design, remember that the more complex the more number of pieces will be. now do this process as many times as necessary depending on the templates and the shape of your design, remember that the more complex Design the more number of pieces will be. so keep in mind also to mark each of the pieces with a symbol before cutting them so as not to get confused during the assembly

Step 8: Sticking It

for the gluing process in this cardboard I recommend liquid silicone since it will not make unwanted lumps at the time of gluing, As this glue is slow drying, I recommend using pieces of tape to facilitate assembly and workflow.

After taking all this into account, it is time to assemble the pieces according to the order or instructions of the creator of the respective digital design that you have purchased or downloaded according to your liking.

Step 9: Guides

normally these files come with the respective guide numbers for their union, some others, the most complex even come with an extensive guide which indicates how each part is assembled and where it goes together. in my case I will guide myself with the numbers shown in the downloaded pdf, which have to find their counterpart and join with the glue, from here I will do it with canson or opaline paper of a suitable weight to later apply the putty and be able to give it detail, since with the thick cardboard it would gain a lot of weight and if I work directly on it with the sculpture tools, the detail that I could do would not be much.

Step 10: Assembled

From here we will cut the pieces from scratch on the most manageable paper, and we will proceed to join them guided by the numbers, the assembly time of the final piece will depend on how complex the selected design is.

In my case, I made two masks at the same time, one for my son and one for me. So as soon as I finish cutting one, I separate the respective pieces from the other. with the intention of not generating a mess of legendary proportions. is something to keep in mind

Step 11: Setting the Workspace

Now we will organize our work area, since we are going to use toxic resins, the most recommended thing is to use at least one face mask if you do not have an industrial-grade mask and it is also recommended to do it in a ventilated place, in my case I also recommend placing some plastic bags with fixed tape on the floor so that when the resin is being applied, which is going to drip, it does not ruin the floor or splash. I also recommend the use of gloves since when this polyester resin is catalyzed it usually burns on contact with the skin.

Step 12: The Mix

now we will look for one of our disposable cups and we will make the mixture, for this you will need the polyester resin and its respective catalyst, and you will make the mixture in the following way: from 2% to 3% of catalyst per 100% volume of polyester resin, I recommend checking the weather if the day is very cold I recommend up to 3.5% of catalyst but if on the contrary it is very sunny do not exceed 2% since work times will be shortened, and for nothing in the world exceed 4% since Dangerous situations such as fire or even explosions could be generated.

Step 13: Applying the Resin

now is the time to apply the resin, it can be applied without fiberglass coating or with coating. I do it without coating on the outside and on the inside, but I sincerely recommend coating it with fiberglass fabric inside to avoid disarmed later in the oven as it happened to me: s

Fortunately, it did not go too far and I was able to rescue the mask damaged by the heat of the oven. later I will give some recommendations about the oven

Step 14: Let It Dry.

When you have finished applying the layer of resin, let it dry for 24 hours and if you want you can also apply an internal layer and an extra one where you think it suits you best (inside or outside), if you notice that it has not had the correct stiffness.

Although as I mentioned in the previous step: I recommend you play it safe by placing the fiberglass fabric.

I also recommend you to place some lateral supports or where it is most necessary, so that the masks are not deformed, as you see in the image, I placed supports to avoid expansion to both sides of the mask

Step 15: Coating Time

Now in this step we will apply the ovenable clay (Polymer Clay) on the surface of our mask or prop, to later be able to enhance the sculpting details in the mask.

So now we will prepare the clay that sometimes gets a bit hard, for easier handling.

With an exact we will cut small pieces of the clay bars, which we will use to cover our mask. part by part with great patience we will use our arsenal of carving tools to press, grasp and accommodate the clay in such a way that a uniform coating layer is created

Step 16: Marking Linear Details

With the tip tool we will be marking the linear details that will enhance the features of our mask, as I have said, everything depends on the design that you select, in my case I decided to separate most of the colors with these lines to give it a depth between each of the limits where collide.

I also tried to enhance it with some jaguar-style spots, but this tool did not work for me since sinking the clay altered the holes that it had on its lateral sides, so in the next step I will explain the correct way to generate a ground depression in each stain.

Step 17: The Feline Spots

Here I explain how I managed to make some organic feline stains which give texture and a lot of detail to the mask, they will also help us at the time of painting to give it a finer finish.

The first thing we will do is use the circular tool from the front, applying pressure as indicated in the video, and when we remove the clay backwards, what we will do is turn it slightly 90 degrees to give the tool a tip output, we remove the excess and voila we will have our feline stain, now to do it X1000 more times :'D

Be patient.

Step 18: Touch-ups and Baking

To give it a finer finish, we will use a small brush moistened with thinner or Vaseline*

Pass the brush gently through the places where you see that the details have imperfections, what this will do is soften the material to give it a smoother finish

(*If you use some other type of clay, such as epoxy clay, which is mixed in two equal parts and does not require baking.)

Step 19: Baking

The time has come to bake and to give our piece even more hardness, since when the soft and manageable clay is baked it will take a solid and rigid shape, so if you have to make any adjustments, this is the moment, check very well before putting it into the oven. oven, here I recommend you to have the help of a thermometer and to take into account the manufacturer's recommendations, since each clay has its own characteristics in terms of temperature and curing time, so it is best to check the manufacturer's manual.

In my case, the material hardens with heat, the polymerization process begins at 70°C but it is at 150°C where it gives the best hardness results.

The best method is undoubtedly to use a stove oven, in gas ovens the piece is placed so that it does not directly touch the floor of the oven using its divisions, this is avoided since the floor has the burner underneath, It usually gets much hotter than the rest of the oven and it can end up burning the piece.

Also, unless we have an oven with a digital temperature gauge, it is advisable to purchase an oven thermometer, place it in the place where we will put the figure and pre-heat until the recommended temperature is obtained (150°C)

The time the piece will remain will depend on the thickness of the material, for pieces up to 1 cm thick 15 min, 1-3 cm 30 min, larger pieces 45-60 min.

Step 20: Hiding Imperfections I

To give a good finish now we will paint the internal imperfections to hide the paper and resin joints.

This method is very simple and works with any type of paint. We will take a foam and moisten it with the paint of our choice and begin to apply evenly until all the spaces are filled.

This would be the patient way...

Step 21: Hiding Imperfections II

Now the quick way. We will buy a can of spray paint and apply evenly at a minimum distance of 20cm or 15cm, trying to cover all the internal areas and being careful with the external paint so as not to ruin it.

apply the necessary layers according to your criteria.

Step 22: Painting the Outside

On the outside we will apply the colors according to our taste or based on the real colors of our mask, you can be guided by references or create something totally new. I painted a gold base, which could cover all the feline spots, and then apply a flat color to give an outstanding effect on them.

Step 23: The Dry Brush

We can use two techniques such as the dry brush or a fine brush to give a more perfect finish.

Step 24: The Fine Brush

here you can see how you have to be delicate and be careful not to dirty the inside of the stains with paint, although your project may not include stains.

Step 25: Finishing the Painting

Here you can see the distribution of colors that I used for the two masks. The idea was to make them different but using the same color palette. For the masks I used acrylic paints as a base, now we have to varnish it to seal these paints so they don't fall off with the sun, the rain or the pass over time.

Step 26: Varnish Paint Stand Setup

To hang our mask and be able to apply the spray varnish we will use a copper wire cable that will give it stability when hanging it to apply the spray.

Step 27:

The ideal is to always be able to paint in well-ventilated spaces and to speed up the drying process on very sunny days. but without leaving the painting exposed to direct sunlight.

Step 28: Varnish

After mounting your mask or helmet, apply the varnish taking into account a discreet distance and without overloading the output of paint, since lumps could form where much is applied.

Step 29: Mask Use

In good time, after letting your mask dry for a long time, both inside and outside, at least 48 hours due to the smells of the chemical materials used. Now you can put it on and take it to the best carnival or party you want to attract attention. you will be the sensation. my son love this mask. and I hope that this process is helpful for you to make yours.

Step 30: Decoration Use

And after a party day, you can come home and place it on a table, a piece of furniture, a hallway, a Greek column or wherever you most want, and it can become part of your home decoration, your living room or work studio.

in this case I just couldn't put it on a wall :)

Step 31: Final Shots

Thanks for watching. :)

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    Question 2 days ago on Step 9

    I love these. Did you glue the colored paper to the cardboard pieces after it was all assembled? If so, is it because the cardboard alone wouldn’t support the clay?

    Penolopy Bulnick
    Penolopy Bulnick

    23 days ago

    Impressive! I love how vibrant they are :)


    Reply 21 days ago

    Thank you, I am very glad that you like it, I decided to choose these colors since they are quite striking and outstanding, and are very much identified with the party theme of carnivals. :D