Introduction: Quick Costume Mask
Masks are a great way to customize a costume without the need for makeup or face paint. They can be an accessory for superheroes, a masquerade outfit, cosplaying your favorite character, or original designs you dream up.
This tutorial will show you how to make customized pieces that reflect your personal style, a character you like, or something completely new! We’ve provided a downloadable pdf pattern to use, in addition to step-by-step instructions on drawing your own mask.
You’ll also learn tips for adjusting the pieces for a customized fit, and some ideas for ways to decorate and finish your accessories.
Check out our video on how to make a mask and a set of arm bracers from our accompanying Customizable Bracer/Arm Guards Instructable:
To create your own customized mask you will need:
- A printed pattern for the project you would like to make. A PDF is available here.
- Scrap paper for pattern adjustments or additional planning
- A material to make your costume pieces out of, some options are:
- cardstock/poster board
- thin cardboard (cereal box)
- craft foam
- felt or fabric
- rhinestones or jewels
- crayons, markers, or colored pencils
- paints or 3D paint
- felt, foam, or fabric cutouts/shapes
- embroidery thread for hand stitched details
- yarn or string
- cording or leather lacing
- sturdy straw
- wooden dowel
- A Measuring tape or ruler - if you don’t have a measuring device you can also use string or paper to help test fit
- An optional hole punch or hobby knife for creating holes in the costume pieces for lacing
- Hot glue or craft glue to help attach your decorations
Step 1: Downloadable Pattern
We’ve provided a pdf with a few basic mask shapes that you can download and print then customize to fit your style. To make sure your mask has a proper fit, cut the mask shape out and hold up to your face to check the placement of the eyes and nose.
The pattern has three shapes - a simple curved mask, a pointed style, and a larger rounded mask. Feel free to use the template to draw your own customized shapes.
You can use a pencil to mark places where you may need to trim to make it smaller, or use scrap paper and tape along the edges to make it larger or add custom features like a new shape.
To cut out the eyes, start with a small hole in the middle of the eye markings, and gradually cut bigger to make sure that you are able to see through them. Hold up to fit often to check if they fit your face.
If you would like to have a mask that ties on or uses elastic to fit on your face, punch out the holes marked at the edges. If you would like to make a mask on a stick that you can hold up to your face, you can skip this step.
Step 2: Optional: DIY Pattern - Marking Face Proportions
If you would prefer to draw your own mask pattern, you can use a letter size (8.5”x11”) piece of paper and a pencil to plan out your project. First, fold the paper in half vertically along the long (11”) edge to mark the center.
Hold the paper up to your face with the fold aligned with your nose. Use a pencil to mark along the bottom edge of the paper the distance to the center of each of your eyes (have a friend help you if needed). This will help customize the placement of the eye holes on the mask to your individual face. Place your paper on a flat surface draw lines upward on the paper to mark eye center lines. Your mask pattern should now have a fold in the center and two vertical pencil lines for eye placement.
Next, decide the height of the mask. Hold up the paper pattern on your face where you want the bottom edge of the mask to sit. Then mark with a pencil where you want the top edge of the mask to be.
Then, plan the width of the mask. With the paper held up to your face, decide how much of the sides of your face you want the mask to cover. Mark with a pencil. To mark the space for eye holes, hold the mask next to your face and mark on the vertical edge about the height of the center of your eye. Draw a line across the lines you marked for the spacing of the eyes - now you will have horizontal and vertical lines intersection to mark the center of each of your eyes. Draw an oval shape around each center. Tracing a spoon can help get a starting shape for eye holes.
Step 3: Optional: DIY Pattern - Designing Mask Outline
Now it’s time to plan the overall shape of the mask. Use a pencil to draw the shape you want within the markings you made for sizing. For symmetry, you can draw one side of your mask shape then fold in half and cut both sides at the same time. If you’d like to add a small curve for the nose for better fit, hold up your face at the center line and create a curved triangle. You can start with a smaller shape and trim to fit later.. If you would like to make a mask that ties or uses elastic, mark places for holes on the sides of the mask about ½” in from the edge. The final step is cutting around the outline of your mask and the eye holes. To cut out the eyes, start with a small hole in the middle of the eye markings, and gradually cut bigger to make sure that you are able to see through them. Hold up to fit often to check if they fit your face.
Step 4: Cut Out Base Material
Trace your pattern onto your material and transfer any markings for holes if needed. If you are tracing on a dark material, you can use chalk or a light colored pencil to help mark it.
Step 5: Decorate Your Mask
After the mask shape is cut out, you can customize and decorate it. Here are some ideas you can try:
For paper or cardboard masks, try coloring with markers, painting, adding stickers, or even folded paper for a 3D effect.
For foam masks, you can use craft or hot glue to add embellishments like jewels or even layer other pieces of foam for added details.
Felt masks can be embroidered or decorated with puff paints for even more style options.
Step 6: Option A: Adding Ties or Elastic
After decorating your mask, you can add ribbon, string, or other ties. For ribbon, or string ties - use a piece of ribbon to measure across the back of your head from one end of the mask to the other. Cut two pieces. This will leave enough length to tie a bow in the back.
To push your ties through the holes, you can use a plastic needle or bent paper clip to help you, then tie a knot to secure the end.
For elastic, measure a piece that fits snugly around your head, and thread through the holes and tie knots to secure.
Step 7: Option B: Handheld Mask With Stick
Another style of mask uses a stick or handle to hold in front of your face. This is commonly seen in masquerades.
To make a handheld mask, glue a wooden down, chopstick, popsicle stick or other object onto the back of the mask to make a handle. Choose a handle that will support the weight of your mask and is sturdy. For paper masks, a straw may work, but for thick masks out of fabric or leather a wooden dowel may be a better choice.
Attach your handle to the mask with a strong glue at the side or down the middle. To help secure it on paper, use a piece of tape after gluing, on fabric you can glue another piece of fabric on top to help secure it. You can also decorate the handle of your mask with paints, ribbons, or other details.
Step 8: Show Off Your Finished Mask!
Here are some examples to inspire your project.