Handmade Masks




Introduction: Handmade Masks

Though con season is coming to an end, Halloween is quickly approaching. And with that we've still got costumes to make, and sometimes even masks. Many people don't have the ability to get something 3d printed or have the materials or start up cost to sculpt and cast their own mask. In this tutorial, you will learn how to make a mask without 3d printing, casting, or leatherworking. It's a new type of way to make a mask with similar and beautiful results.

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

You will be needing:

1-3 sculpting tools

small amount of water in a cup or on a a paper plate

a craft mask that fits your face

Creative brand paperclay (hobby lobby)

black worbla (for one mask you will need less than one small sheet) (you can buy this at cosplaysupplies.com, yayahan.com, or ardawigs.com as well as throughtheagesfabric.com)

automotive spray primer (walmart)

acrylic paints and paintbrushes


exacto knife or box cutter

hot glue gun

reference images

1 sheet 3 mm craft foam

sandpaper (120 grit for paperclay)

heat gun

Additional supplies if needed:

black mesh fabric to put behind the eyes to see through

insulation foam for things like horns

sandpaper (60-80 grit for insulation foam)

Step 2: Sculpting

I highly suggest you read the whole section about sculpting before starting to sculpt.

For this step you will need your sculpting tools, a little bit of water, your mask, and paperclay.
Take your mask and begin to sculpt on top of it to get your desired forms. You can always add or take away clay where necessary. Even once it has dried you will be able to sand away any parts that may have been built up too much or add more paperclay to fill in any places you may have missed or want to add onto.

If you need to fill in the eyes

The best thing to do would be to hot glue some craft foam to the back of the mask to cover the eye holes. After you've done that, you can sculpt over top of the craft foam easily on the front side of the mask.

If your mask is not quite big enough

Since the mask only really comes in one size, you sometimes need to extend the edges of the mask. The best way I have found to do this is to lay worbla over the edge on both sides, extending that edge, where needed. To do this you need to heat up the worbla with the heat gun until it is malleable and apply it to the front and back overlapping the edge of the mask by about an inch. Where the 2 pieces of worbla overlap each other, they will stick together. Then once it has hardened completely, you can draw on where you want the edge to be, and cut away any excess, as well as sculpt onto the worbla.

If you need to cut out any part of the mask

Start by sculpting your whole mask and when you need to cut out sections of it, use your xacto knife to carefully cut out those shapes. If you damage any part of your mask while cutting, you can go back in with more clay afterwards.

For the two mask halves in this example, I decided not to sculpt the teeth because they would be too delicate and can be made out of worbla in the next step.

Step 3: Worbla Time

Alright, it's time to apply the worbla. If you have never done this before, I recommend trying it out on something else first but if you are feeling bold, let's go for it.

For your mask, cut a piece of worbla about 2 inches bigger than your mask on all sides just to be safe. Heat up your piece of worbla thoroughly with your heat gun and lay it over the center of your mask. Start pressing the worbla into the crevasses and details of the mask. The worbla should stick to it and conform well to the shapes. Also it is likely that you will have to reheat sections as you go along. It is okay to reheat the worbla while it is on the mask but be careful not to heat up the base mask. It can melt and shrink and not be reformed to its original shape. For holes in the mask, cut a hole in the center of the worbla where the hole is. Do not cut any worbla out of the hole but instead stretch the edges of the worbla over the the edges of the hole opening towards the inside of the mask.

When you get to the edge of the mask, wrap the worbla tight around the edges and press down to the backside of the mask on all edges.

At this point you can also use your sculpting tools to add some additional small details, like the definition of teeth seen in the first photo.

Additional details

In the secondary mask, teeth needed to be added, which were made of scrap worbla pieces rolled up like clay and sculpted into teeth. All you need to do is reheat small amounts of worbla and sculpt them into teeth shapes. Where you want to apply them to the mask, you need only reheat the part of the mask you are going to apply them to, and heat up the piece you are going to apply. Then they will stick to the mask and not come off. You can use this method to do any other additional detail pieces or you can cut out specific shapes and details out of your worbla and apply those the same way.


These horns were carved out of 2 layers of insulation foam. You can hot glue the foam layers together and then shape them down with a fresh box cutter blade. You may need a few. ;) Your blades will dull quickly. Once you've got the basic shape as close as you can using your box cutter, take some very low grit sandpaper(60 or 80) and sand down your horns till they are nice and smooth. Then you will need to cover your horns in worbla. Cut out 4 pieces of worbla with about 1/2 in or more of excess on each piece. Heat up 2 of those pieces and apply them to one of the horns on both sides coming together at a middle seam line. Cut off the excess with scissors while it is still malleable. If it does not look perfect, you can reheat it with the heat gun and push down the rough edges. Additionally you can fill in any imperfections with your paperclay and sand out any more imperfections.

NOTE: Do not run your heat gun over bare insulation foam. It will melt and there will be nothing you can do about it.

Step 4: Painting


I have found that the best thing to use for a base coat that adheres to black worbla really well, is automotive sandable primer. At this stage, if you spray on your primer and see any perfections , you can fill them in with more paperclay. Once that paperclay is dry, you can reapply more primer over top of it.

Base Coats

What makes a good paint job is a good solid base coat. You may need 3-4 base coats so that whatever color you put over top of it is vibrant and solid. For metallics, use black as a base coat. For colors that are transparent, do all base coats with white mixed in, taking away more white with every coat.


coat 1- 60% white, 40% red

Coat 2 40% white, 60% red

Coat 3- 20% white, 80% red

coat 4- Desired red

Painting tips and tricks

Though I can't give a super detailed approach to how I do my painting specifically, I will do my best to at least give some pointers for this. Start by drawing on with pencil any small details that will need to be painted on. Do NOT use pen or marker IT CANNOT BE PAINTED OVER.

If your reference has little contrast its always a good idea to put the image into editing software and slightly higher the contrast if you can't visualize it yourself.

First you need to figure out your base color. Once you have your base color, you add white or black to it to create shading or highlights. A little bit of black goes a long way, so you don't need much when making your shadows. After you have done your dark and light shading, you should go in with black or with a very dark version of your color and use it in the darkest areas of your reference.

Products that help with painting

synthetic brushes

blending gel (helps with smoothness of paint in detail work)

If you have any questions about painting that i did not address, please feel free to ask and I will add it to this section of the tutorial.

Step 5: Finished

For my masks, I needed to attach them to a helmet but it would be simple enough to glue elastic straps on the inside of the mask to hold it onto your face.

I really hope you enjoyed my tutorial and would love to see your awesome creation using my tutorial.


If you have any questions about this tutorial, feel free to ask and I can add any additional information I may have missed. :)

Halloween Contest 2017

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Halloween Contest 2017

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Plastics Contest

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    Question 4 years ago on Step 5

    Is that the mask you made in the picture with the tree behind it? if so, do you have a guide of how to make the armour, or more pictures?


    5 years ago

    Very nice!