Introduction: Ritual Masks From Trash

About: I am a musical instruments inventor and builder.

You'll never know when you might need a ceremonial Mask or some very extravagant headwear. Kids might be troubling your neighborhood, it might be august 11th (face mask day and you are unwilling to sheepishly participate as a dumb consumer), or my personal favourite; you want to ride homemade bikes with your clan but want to do so in full costume.

Step 1: Get Ready to Have Some Fun

Step 2: Materials and Tools

I could write this instructable in such a way that allows you to precisely follow the steps. But here is the rub: chances are slim that you would happen to find or already have exactly the same materials as I have. Therefore I choose to write this instructable in a more general way. To provide ideas, suggestions and simply to inspire you to make your own style mask with the trash that you found. You can make a mask or silly hat with anything!

So what kind of materials could you use for your mask?

Materials for wear-ability:

To make it easily wearable i strongly suggest using something that is already well suited to be worn on your head:

  • A hard hat (such as used on construction sites) is easily found in thrift shops or even found in construction waste containers (I found about three this way). What is nice about these hard hats is that it is very easy to fasten other stuff to it using tie wraps, bolts or rivets. When lightly sanded glue can also be used to attach smaller items.
  • A bicycle helmet, abundant in second hand stores (at least here in the Netherlands). Most come with some form of chin strap, which is lovely to have when the mask isn't ultralight. It ensures the mask stays on your head even when ecstatically dancing around, which is a big bonus.
  • climbing helmets. These are a bit similar to the hard hats but come with chin strap. Not so likely to find second hand though.

Materials for decoration:

  • corrugated PVC tubes (the bendy kind make for very versatile shapes)
  • hose (to make various shapes and facial features as with the bendy tubes)
  • plumbers hemp (this makes for great substitute hair!)
  • broken apparatus casing (vacuum cleaner, tv, radio, pressure washer,
  • sieve (to look through but be covered)
  • some round things for eyes (tennis-, billiard-, golf balls, skate wheels, tin cans, lids, plasic or metal caps)
  • old brush or broom for making mustaches or sideburns
  • inner tubes (nice black rubber that has numerous uses, such as fastener, resembles dreads when cut to strips)
  • old wig
  • fabric pieces
  • netting
  • things you are about to throw away after years of looking for a use


  • glue
  • rivets
  • tie wraps
  • bolts
  • wire
  • rope
  • aluminum profile to attach large things to a hard hat or helmet
  • screws
  • bits of wood (scraps of multiplex are nice as a backer when screwing in thin plastic)


  • the best tool you own is your brain. Please use it. If you don't know how to use a certain tool, ask help. I misuse tools all the time but always consider how things may go sideways. A tool that can cut wood can easily cut your finger.
  • scissors
  • box cutter (I like the ones with the fixed blade much more, they are less prone to break when going through material)
  • a drill and drill bits
  • screwdriver

Materials to keep your sanity:

  • tea
  • supporting friends that understand you simply must finish this project today.

Step 3: The Primary Structure

In order to make a wear-able mask, the primary structure must be both sturdy and comfortable. Here I used a plastic casing of a pressure washer I found in combination with a hard hat to make the primary structure. I based the layout on looking through the gap in the bottom of the casing. The hard hat was fastened with aluminum profile and bolts. To do this holes were drilled in the casing and the hard hat.

A good layout is important, think about the following things:

  • balance (too top-heavy is not comfortable to wear)
  • weight in general, keep it as light as you can
  • how to connect the casing to the hard hat
  • where you are going to look through (you might want your eyes not to be visible. This can be done by looking through a narrow slit or using some mesh, sieve or fabric).

Step 4: Adding the First Features

To get some beginning of a face I began with the mouth. Bendy PVC can be easily cut with a hacksaw, box cutter or a specialized tool.

Step 5: Further Shaping

An easy way to achieve some recognizable facial features is to use corrugated tubing (bendy pvc) or a hose. A means of attaching these to the primary structure can be drilled holes and tie wraps as shown. Other ways are pop riveting, screws and backing plywood, metal wire, etc..

If you want you can add some hair or facial hair to the mask. Think brushes, brooms for short hair, plumbers hemp for long hair, rope, inner tube cut to strips, electrical wires or even tape from VHS tapes.

Step 6: Testing

Test fit your fabulous headgear and see what needs to be changed or improved.

Step 7: Fancyfying

Well, I disliked the way the human figure was still so much visible. Thus I tried if a veil of some kind might work. I used a sort of netting that is used in construction work so the guys don't fall of the scaffolding.

Step 8: Obscurization

This step is optional, but to be honest, the whole instructable is kind of optional.

That being said, let's make the mask even more awesome by adding the veil so it is a complete outfit! It was secured to the mask using screws that screwed into thicker parts of the plastic.

Step 9: Finished

Step 10: Never Stop Doing Silly Things

Seriously, you owe it to yourself and your surroundings to not to take life too seriously. Here are some photos of the other masks that I have made.

Step 11: Share YOUR Creations!

Silly Hats Speed Challenge

Participated in the
Silly Hats Speed Challenge