Introduction: Easy Customized Mask (using Aluminum Foil)

About: I spend most of my craft time cutting stencils and silhouettes out. May have a strange obsession with x-acto knives...

Maybe I just have a weird face, but the pre-made masks never seem to fit well.

I set out to make my own using household materials.

Supplies I ended up using:

Aluminum foil
Flour+Water(paper mache)
X-acto knife(scissors are fine)

Step 1: Fit Foil to Face

For the foil to keep the features of the face, you'll want to layer it together. Here, I took one piece and folded it over 3 times to make a half mask. Try to make the foil a little bigger than you want your finished mask; it's easier to cut it down than build it up.

After you have your foil, place is against your face. You should try to make sure the mask is especially defined around your nose. Once you're happy with the fit, draw on the opposite side where your eyes (and nostrils/mouth for full face mask) are. Don't worry about any accidental marks.

Step 2: Cut Out Features

Cut out the areas you marked in the last step. You technically don't have to cut them out(especially if you're making masks for decoration) but it makes wearing them much easier.

I cut the eye holes particularly small as I'll enlarge them later.

Step 3: Tape It.

Refit the mask to your face, making sure the fit is to your liking. 

I use clear tape, although packing and duct tape would work. Tape the entire front and back of the mask. This makes the shape sturdier and prevents the aluminum from irritating the skin. 

At this point, if you were going as a character like the tin man or something, you could stop.

Step 4: Paper Mache It.

To make paint stick to it easier and give it a smoother and sturdier feel, I covered it in a layer of paper mache. If you hope to use the mask for more than a couple occasions, you may want to use more layers.

A very small amount is needed here. Standard two parts water to one part flour recipe.

To make it dry faster, I tried a blow dryer but that ended up blowing some of the paper off. Instead, I put it in the oven set to broil on low. Be very careful to watch it and do not put this in the microwave! Turn off the oven as soon as the top looks dry and let it sit on the pan in the oven til the rest is dry as well.

Step 5: Finish It.

Now that you have your rough mask outline, customize it. Snip off any extra areas, make rounded or triangle edges, paint it if you want. 

What I did here was first paint it white. Then I snipped off extra foil around the eyes and outer corners of the mask. An additional coat of black and then I cut the mask so it had triangle corners.

I will probably also end up gluing feathers to this mask for a black swan style look.

Step 6: Further Considerations

If the mask is for decorating, consider making a few and putting  them in a vase with other halloween objects. 

If it's for wearing, decide how you want to wear it. You can glue a stick (painted pain stirrers work well for this) to the mask or punch a hole/staple ribbon or a rubber band to both sides. If stapling, make sure your mask is sturdy or it will rip the staple when you try to put it on.

You may also want to add features to the mask--such as exaggerating the nose. This is very easy to do using paper mache pulp or clay. Overall, this is an easy project that can take less than an hour.

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