Introduction: Jack Skellington

About: Woodworker by trade. Like the outdoors and anything that doesn't involve a TV.

This is only a mask tutorial. The mask itself took me approx. 3 weeks to finish and was much more involved than I thought it would be.


Paper mache, paper clay, epoxy putty, hard hat, window screen.

Step 1: So It Begins.

I used a punch balloon and inflated it until I was happy with the size. I used a total of 6 coats of paper mache. however during the 4th coat I realized that my balloon was deflating, which resulted in a very lumpy start to this project. Oh well, nothing a little epoxy and sandpaper can’t fix, right?

Step 2: Find Center As Best You Can.

I used a chalk line to find what looked like center to me and figured that, if it’s off a little I can cut the bottom afterwards. Once I found “my” center I then drew the eyes and nostrils. Then it was time for my 1st cuts. I cut the eyes and nostrils out using a box cutter. Plenty of time to refine, just wanted to see progress after all the paper mache work.

Step 3: Sculpting a Face

I used paper clay and a two part epoxy putty for this step. 1st I gave a basic shape of the eye features and then built the nose keeping everything as even as I could. This is where the real work starts, Sanding! Tons and tons of sanding. I started with 120grit sandpaper and worked my way up to 320grit sandpaper.

Step 4: More Sanding

I wasn’t sure how I was gonna give, Jack, a mouth so I sanded the upper facial features for a day or so until I decided how to do a mouth.

Step 5: The Mouth.

I didn’t want to just paint a mouth on and call it a day. I decided to work in small batches with the epoxy putty and rolled it between my palms to give me long skinny strands, which I then applied and made sure that I had good contact with the mask. At this point, Jack was uglier than I thought he could ever be!

Step 6: More Sanding and the Cutting of the Stitches

At this point the epoxy was allowed to dry overnight and after work I started sanding the shape of the lips. Using a multi tool with a wood blade attachment I cut his stitch marks in and sanded them on a slight bevel. Did not want them to be a simple straight line.

Step 7: Fitting the Hard Hat.

This was more difficult than I imagined, probably due to my overthinking, but it took quite a few attempts before I achieved success in setting the hard hat in the right place. I tried several methods, but the one that worked was, spraying expanding foam in the mask, having the hard hat situated on my head and then flipping the mask over real quick, finding its natural position then, allowing the foam to set in place. Worked like a charm. I did wear a tyvek suit w/hood along with a spray sock on my head. The foam goes everywhere! Once dried, I used a couple of strips of fiberglass cloth and fiberglassed the hard hat to the inside of the mask. Finally, the mask sat perfectly for me to look out of the eye holes.

Step 8: More Sanding, Priming and Painting.

The amount of sanding is insane, but it’s worth it in the end. After sanding the mouth for days it seemed I was finally ready to take him to work and put him in our spray booth. I used a 2k poly primer(3 coats).. once the primer was dry I sprayed him with a RAL color #9003 signal white, also in a 2k poly. I sprayed 4 thin coats as this can be stacked rather than waiting for each coat to dry, scuff and repeat... once paint was dry for an hour or so, I mixed up a clear 2k poly topcoat in a 5 sheen. Did not want the skull to be shiny

Step 9: Painting of the Mouth and Stitches

This part was time consuming, but fairly easy. I used a simple black latex paint in a flat sheen and brushed everything in by hand.

Step 10: Finally, Halloween Night Is Here!!!!

We live in Baltimore city and hung out with friends to hand out candy to the little trick or treaters. My Fiancé, Jenn, went as, Sally and while she did her own makeup along with making her wig, I’ll leave her to write that instructable. The response from kids and parents wanting to take photos with us was insane. Afterwards we headed out for the night in Fells point to indulge in some adult fun time. This wasn’t the easiest mask to do, but I’m pretty certain that, anyone can make it if they want to invest the time to do so. I hope you enjoy the finished results as much as I enjoyed the headaches in creating, Jack Skellington.

Step 11: Forgot the Eye Screen.

Pretty cut and dry. I bought the darkest window screen I could, cut and hot glued to the inside of the mask.

Halloween Contest 2019

Second Prize in the
Halloween Contest 2019