Introduction: Garden Nymph Halloween Mask

A nymph in ancient Greek folklore is a minor female nature deity. Different from the goddesses, nymphs are personifications of nature and typically tied to a specific place or landform. They are often depicted as beautiful maidens. Since medieval times nymphs are sometimes popularly associated with fairies. (1)

This mask combines the traditional nymph with natural characteristics to create a fun but dark and mysterious version of the myth. The basic steps can be used to create almost any alternate persona you can imagine. Have fun!


Step 1

  • Paper mask
  • Gesso
  • Paintbrush for Gesso

Step 2

  • Styrofoam
  • Sharpie
  • Ruler or Measuring Tape
  • Styrofoam Cutter
  • Fine-grit Sandpaper

Step 3

  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Newspaper
  • Scissors
  • Mod Podge
  • Water
  • Paintbrush for Glue
  • Gesso
  • Paintbrush for Gesso

Step 4

  • Molding Paste
  • Palate Knife
  • Sculpting Tools
  • Toothpicks

Step 5

  • Power Drill

Steps 6 & 7

  • Acrylic Paint
  • Paintbrushes for Paint
  • Palate Knife
  • Palate
  • Mod Podge
  • Paintbrush for Glue
  • Extra Fine Glitter - Gold, optional Rose Gold

Steps 8 & 9

  • Rafia - Gold, Green
  • Olive Vine Ribbon - Gold/Natural, Green/Natural
  • Yarn Needle
  • Scissors
  • Mod Podge
  • Paintbrush for Glue
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Artists Tape

Step 10

  • 90# White Paper
  • Scissors
  • Mod Podge
  • Paintbrush for Glue
  • Ultra Fine Glitter - Gold, White
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Toothpick

Step 11

  • Elastic Band (comes with paper masks)
  • Sharpie
  • Yarn Needle
  • Hot Glue Gun


Step 1: Gesso Paper Mask

  1. Apply two layers of Gesso, inside and out, to seal and prepare the paper mask. Let each coat dry thoroughly.

Step 2: Create Base for Horns

  1. Cut 2 blocks of styrofoam to roughly the size of horns - approximately 2" x 2" x 4".
  2. Draw the base and shape of your first horn. Use the first horn as a template for drawing the shape of your second horn after you cut the rough shape.
  3. Cut the horns roughly to start and slowly trim to shape. They do not have to be perfect but try to get as close to the final shape you want as you can. Compare your horns for symmetry frequently as you go.
    1. If you are interested in how to create a base for a styrofoam cutter like the one shown, let me know and I will post an Instructable.
  4. Shape and smooth horns with fine grit sandpaper.

Step 3: Papier-Mâché Horns

  1. Attach styrofoam horns securely to mask with hot glue.
  2. Papier-mâché the horns to smooth, shape and create a pointed tip.
  3. To create the tips:
    1. Create an almost pointed tip.
    2. Twist the end to a point.
    3. Smooth to a point with glue.
  4. Paint a last coat of glue over the horns to seal any missed spots. Let dry thoroughly.
  5. Gently sand any bumps or irregularities.
  6. Coat horns with a layer of gesso. Let dry thoroughly.

Step 4: Add Texture to Face

  1. Apply a generous layer of molding paste to face.
  2. Smooth onto base of horns.
  3. Create rough, tree bark-like texture with fingers.
  4. Detail texture with toothpick or sculpting tools.
  5. Smooth lip area.
  6. Remove any globs of paste that may have formed in the eye openings.

Step 5: Drill Holes for Hair

  1. Drill holes for hair VERY CAREFULLY with small bit - 7/64".
  2. Space holes approximately ½ inch apart.
  3. Enlarge holes VERY CAREFULLY with larger bit - 5/32".
  4. Reopen holes at ears to attach elastic if they were filled in with molding paste.
  5. Carefully remove any paper tags left behind.

Step 6: Paint Horns

  1. Paint horns with two or three layers of white paint. Make sure no newsprint shows through. Let dry thoroughly between layers.
  2. Drybrush horns with yellow ochre - heavier at the base to very light almost to the tip. Let dry.
  3. Drybrush horns with burnt umber - heavier at the base to very light about ⅓ of the way up each horn.
  4. Paint burnt umber around base of horns. Let dry.

Step 7: Paint Face

  1. Paint entire face green. Let dry.
  2. Drybrush dark green over entire face. Let dry.
    1. Use dark green under eyes, bottom of nose and below lips to create shadowing.
  3. Drybrush burnt umber over entire face. Let dry.
    1. Use dark green and burnt umber drybrushing to blend around base of horns.
  4. Drybrush medium green over entire face. Let dry.
  5. Drybrush light green sparingly over entire face. Let dry.
  6. Brush thin coat of Mod Podge over entire face except lips, under eyes and under nose.
  7. Pour a small amount of ultra fine gold glitter into palm.
  8. Gently sprinkle over face.
  9. With a clean, dry paintbrush, gently remove any stray glitter from lips, under eyes and under nose. Let dry thoroughly.

If lips are desired:

  1. After glue on face (step 7 above) is completely dry, brush a thin coat of Mod Podge over entire lips
  2. Thickly sprinkle rose gold glitter over lips.
  3. With a clean, dry paintbrush, gently remove any stray glitter from around lips. Let dry thoroughly.

Step 8: Attach Hair 1

For the holes along the edge of the mask:

  1. Cut two pieces of rafia, approximately 4' each.
  2. Hold two pieces together and fold in half.
  3. Thread fold through yarn needle.
  4. Thread needle through hole in mask from back to front. You will have a loop on the face and long strings in the back.
  5. Pull the strings through the loop and tighten VERY GENTLY.
  6. Alternate 1 green/1 natural with 2 greens until you have completed the holes along the back edge of the mask.
  7. Paint Mod Podge on rafia hair about 1" up from the roots, front and back. Coat knots on inside of mask.
  8. Allow glue to dry with rafia hair fully extended. This will give the rafia hair a little lift at the base.

Step 9: Attach Hair 2

For the rest of the holes:

  1. Cut two pieces of green rafia, approximately 2' each and one piece of olive vine ribbon, approximately 2'.
  2. Hold two pieces of rafia and one piece of olive vine ribbon by the end.
  3. Thread ends through yarn needle.
  4. Thread needle through hole in mask from front to back. Pull through until you have about 3" inside the mask.
  5. Repeat.
  6. Tie the ends of two groups of rafia hair together.
  7. Pull rafia hair from the front VERY GENTLY to snug knot against inside of mask.
  8. Alternate 1 green olive vine ribbon/2 green rafia with 1 gold olive vine ribbon/2 green rafia until you have completed the rest of the holes on the mask.

After all hair is attached:

  1. Put hot glue on all hair knots. Let dry.
  2. Trim excess ends from knots with olive vine ribbon.
  3. Cover knots with tape. This is to provide a smooth inside to the mask, for more comfortable wear.

Step 10: Add Roses

  1. Make paper roses using this Instructable:
    1. Use 2" - 2 ½" paper squares.
    2. Do not add a stem.
    3. Use 90# paper to hold shape and glitter and for durability.
  2. Mix equal parts white and gold ultra fine glitter in a small pile.
  3. Coat edges of petals with Mod Podge.
  4. For heavier coverage, roll flower petal edges in glitter.
  5. For lighter coverage, sprinkle glitter over petal edges.
  6. Tap off excess glitter.
  7. Attach roses to mask with hot glue gun.
  8. Use a toothpick to adjust edges of petals as needed.

Step 11: Attach Elastic

  • If the elastic band that came with your mask is white, color it black with a Sharpie marker. Let dry.
  • Thread ends through ear holes and tie off.
  • Use hot glue to firmly secure elastic.
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