Introduction: Lion Half-Mask Halloween Costume

This Halloween, I decided to make my own costume, and it sure payed off. This year, I wanted to have an original, unique costume that would catch people's eye.

The costume this I made was such a success, and I loved it. It was a total score! Not only was it fun to make, but it was pretty easy to make as well. This was most definitely my best Halloween costume yet.

In this Instructable, I am going to be sharing how to and what I did to make this lion half-mask costume. I really loved the end result, and I think you will too.


  • paper
  • pencil with eraser
  • small bowl
  • orange, brown, and yellow markers or any coloring material (optional)
  • water (warm)
  • about 2-3 pieces of paper towel
  • plaster
  • plastic bag or trash bag (optional)
  • cardboard
  • news print paper (not printer paper, or newspaper, but newspaper does work too.)
  • tinfoil
  • red, orange, white, and dark brown acrylic paints
  • paint brushes
  • black thick sharpie
  • needle tool
  • fabric glue
  • scissors
  • brown or black wire (I used some that was called Twis-Tees wire)
  • hot glue gun (with the sticks)
  • brown, yellow, and orange yarn
  • elastic
  • masking tape

Tip: When you are getting your paintbrushes, I prefer to have multiple different brushes of different sizes. For example, I was using about 6 brushes, one bigger, three medium, and two small.

Step 1: Prototype/sketch

The first step for this instructable is easy. All you have to do is sketch out what you want your mask to look like on a piece of paper. When you draw the mask, make sure you have the mask on your face in the drawing. When you are done, you can even color it so you have an idea of what colors you like best when you actually start making it. I found it was nice to search up pictures on the internet of lion faces so that I could see the proportions, and where everything is placed. It is okay if your sketch isn't exact though. I actually liked the way it looked when I changed my design up to make it less realistic.

Tip: You can use any kind of paper and writing material, but I prefer white paper so I can see what I drew, and a pencil so that it is easy to erase any mistakes.

Step 2: Prepare Materials for Plastering

The next step I needed to do was plaster my face, but first we have to get the materials for plastering ready. In order to do that, first I needed to cut about 50 pieces of plaster a bit smaller than the size of a baseball. I cut the pieces over a plastic bag because it can make a mess. (When you cut the plaster, it is easiest if you use sharper scissors). Then, I went ahead and cut myself about 20 pieces of paper towels that same size.

Step 3: Pre-Plastering

For this step you first need to get a bowl with the warmest water you can. Lay down on your back, and I recommend you put something under your head so you don’t get the floor super dirty. I used a garbage bag (you can see in the picture). You are then going to need to dip the pieces of paper towels in the warm water, and lie it on your face where the mask is going to be. The reason you are going to do this is so that the plaster doesn’t stick to your face, especially over your eyebrows. This step works best if you have someone else put the paper towels on your face, rather than yourself. (You may not use all the pieces, but if you need more you can have someone quickly cut you some more. You may also have to adjust the size of a few pieces.)

This step is important because when you go to plaster your face the paper towels prevent it from sticking to your face. You should place the paper towels down where you want the plaster to go. The paper towels might end up sticking to the plaster, or they might peel off. Remember, you can always trim it later.

Step 4: Plastering

Next, right after step 3, you immediately need to do the same with the plaster, but this time you have to be more precise. Again, you dip the pieces in the water, and then lay it onto your face. Make sure you layer the pieces, and it is okay if it isn’t a perfect face shape. If it doesn’t come out in the exact shape you wanted, you can use plaster scissors to cut it to the shape you want, but it only when it hardens. (Try to make the eyes exactly how you want them because it can be hard to cut the eyes.) Remember, make sure you do this step right after step 3. Again, it goes fastest when you have someone else plastering for you.

Once you are done, set a timer for 10-15 minutes so the plaster has time to harden on your face. Once it hardens, take the mask off your face. Try your best to take the layer of paper towels off if they are falling off easily, but if they aren’t, don’t force them off, you can keep them there. If you need to, you can wipe your face off with a wet washcloth afterwards.

Tip - If there are any pieces of plaster you didn’t use, do not throw them out.

Step 5: Building Up the Features

Next, for this step you are going to create the lion’s snout. For this step, you can do it multiple ways with these materials, but here is how I did it.

First, you’ll want to make the flat part of the nose, and the bridge out of cardboard. You can stuff the news print paper (not printer paper) underneath so that it looks higher. You can decide how high, or low you want it to come down. Then, attach the flat part of the nose.

Underneath that, you can tape two tin foil spheres, ovals, or whatever shape looks right to you. (You can use other materials if you want.) It should be big enough to cover under the nose, and a bit to the sides. Secure everything with tape, and try to attach the tape from the balls to the other side of the mask, while leaving a good space for your nose. Once you make sure the tape is holding everything well, put the mask on your face and make sure you are able to breath out your nose. If not, adjust it so you can.

For the ears, I suggest shaping them out of tin foil and taping them on to the top where you want them.

Try using different materials for all the features in the lion’s face, and find out what works best for you. Maybe you like the paper better than the tin foil. And remember, don’t be afraid to go heavy on the tape!!!!

Step 6: Plaster the Mask

Now, you have to use the plaster again, but this time you’ll need to plaster over all the built up features on the face of the lion. It is important to make sure everything is taped well onto the face because if not, when you start to plaster everything could fall apart. If that starts to happen, do not continue to plaster, and just leave it be.

When you start to plaster, remember you need to get your hot water, and dip the plaster in. (You should NOT put any paper towels under this layer.) Don’t start in the middle for any built up objects. For the snout, it is easier to start at the top and work your way down over the nose. For the ears, it works best to start at the base, and go around to the top. There is no set number on how many pieces you’ll need because of how you chose to build the mask, and the size variation of pieces. Speaking of the size of the pieces, they should be at least ½ or ⅓ of the size of the pieces you were using before, or a size that is just easy to work with. (You may need to have different sizes.) As you go, you may have to cut some pieces of plaster so they fit better on the mask.

Step 7: Painting Your Mask

Next comes one of the most fun parts - painting! You will need red, white, yellow, and dark brown acrylic paints. For this, I just squirted all the colors out on a piece of tinfoil. For the base of the face, I first mixed some white, red and yellow to get orange. (You can just use an orange if you have one.) Then, I added in some brown to get a more tan-ish orange. For the inside ears, I mixed red, white, and a bit of brown. I also used this same color for the flat part of the nose.

To start painting, I colored the face part with my orange-y color. Then I colored the outside of the ears the same way. Make sure you paint the back of the ears too, because they are 3D and sticking up off the mask. (You can color the back of the ears the same color as the main part of the face.) After that, I painted the snout the same color. Next, starting from the part where it connects to the face, I made the spheres under the nose go from the orange of the face, to white. For this, I used a smaller brush. Finally, I took my pink and filled in the middle of the ears, and the nose.

Tip: I prefer to make the colors I use because it is much easier to get the shade you want, but you don’t have to. For the main color of the face, you can use an orange you already have, and for the inside of the ears, you can use a pink you already have if you don't want to make your own color.

Step 8: Adding Whiskers

Now, you need to add the whiskers of the lion. To do this, first mark out dots where you want them with a black sharpie, or you can do it with a pencil first. Then, you will take your needle tool and carefully poke holes where the dots are. You shouldn’t go too deep, but the hole shouldn’t be really short. Get out your wire, and then cut pieces that are a bit longer than you want them because some of the wire will be in the hole. Remember, you can always trim it once you glue it on, but you can’t make it longer.

After that, put some fabric glue on the part of the wire that goes in the hole, and even some on top of the hole if you want. Then, all you have to do is place the wire into the hole. If the wire isn't going in easily, take your needle tool and stick it in the hole again.

Do this to both sides of the mask until you think you have enough whiskers. If you want to leave any dots without whiskers in them, that’s fine too!

Once the glue dries, you can trim the whiskers with scissors, and position them.

Tip: It works well to use fabric glue that drys clear.

Step 9: Creating the Main

One of the lions most recognized feature is their big main. This is so important because this is what they are known for. So, to make this part of the lion, I used yarn to create the main.

To do this, you will need to cut pieces of orange, yellow, and brown yarn. The pieces can be whatever length you want them to be. My pieces were between about 1 and 2 inches long. It doesn't matter how many pieces you cut, but I cut roughly about 60+ pieces of each color. The number of pieces you need depends on how big you want the main to be, how big you made the mask, and where you want the yarn.

Once you have all your pieces cut out, you can begin gluing them onto the outside edge of the mask with a hot glue gun. If you need more yarn while making the mask, just cut yourself some more as you go. To start, first off you will take all three colors of the pieces, and mix them up. Grab little bunches of pieces and line up the bottoms. This part is SO important because if the bottom isn't lined up, not all the pieces will get glued and a lot of pieces will fall off. Anyway, you will take your hot glue gun and carefully make a line of glue only where you want the bunch of yarn to go. Tip: Make sure you only put glue where you need it at the time because hot glue dries fast, and gets hard when it dries. If you put it somewhere else in advance, it could dry before you get to that spot. Finally, carefully place the bunch on the mask where the glue is, and repeat around the whole outside of the mask, or wherever you want it!

Step 10: Adding Elastic

Now that we're in the final stretch, you honestly don't have much left to do. This step is easy, we are just adding elastic to the mask so it can stay on your face.

For this step, you'll need the elastic and the needle tool. Start by poking a hole in the mask by the edge with the needle tool. The hole I made is positioned a little bit higher than the eye, and a little less than a centimeter away from the outside edge of the mask. Don't make the hole too close to the side though.

Then, cut a piece of elastic longer than you need it to be. Take your elastic and wrap a piece of masking tape around the end so it isn't as wide. Wrap it through the hole and tie a knot so it stays secure, and trim any excess. Then, do the same thing with the tape to the other end of the piece of elastic. Put it through the hole, and this time do not tie a knot. Place the mask on your face with the elastic going behind your head. See how long the elastic should be so it fits your face. Take the mask off, and tie a knot where you measured that it should be when you put it on your face. Trim any excess if needed.

Step 11: Covering the Elastic

Finally, for the last step you'll need your handy friend the hot glue gun again! Cut a few more pieces of yarn from the three colors again. You should need about 5-8 pieces of each color, but you can use more or less if you'd like. Make them the same size as well. Then, mix then up so there isn't all the same colors in a row.

Take your hot glue gun and place a small dab of glue over the elastic. Add the little bunch of yarn to the spot with the hot glue. Do the same to the other side as well.

Now you can add any last final touches as well. Maybe you want to re-paint a spot in the inside of an ear, or maybe you need more glue to hold up the whiskers.

Step 12: Your Mask Is Now Complete

Now finally, your mask is complete! Hope you like how it turned out, and I hope you had fun making it. Happy Halloween! :D

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