Octopus Masquerade Mask




Introduction: Octopus Masquerade Mask

Octopodes are the coolest animals on this planet. It's a widely known fact. Thus, in an effort to become more like our octopus overlords, it is not out of the question to imitate their appearance of awesomeness. In this instructible I will show you how to look completely awesome with this mask. It works perfectly for a Halloween or masquerade mask. 

This is the second mask like this that I have made. This time, I have decided to make it out of thicker materials and actually apply color! Additionally, I prepared it to be laser cut (but didn't follow through with this method). So for those who just want to print this off in acrylic, you could have a super-awesome mask in a night. 

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Step 1: Materials

The materials are simple:
  • cardboard (I will discuss types below)
  • X-acto blade (or laser cutter)
  • paper (to print the pattern to)
  • paint
  • elastic band (or more cardboard, discussed below)
  • small clamp
Cardboard selection:
Any cardboard will work, but it won't look very good unless you find a sheet without bends in it. So you at least want to find pieces of cardboard that are new-ish. Obviously, the stiffer stuff will work best. My personal favorite type of cardboard-esque material is old board game boards. Don't destroy a game just for one, but occasionally you can find old ones in the trash. I had an old risk board that I had been looking to re-purpose since the rest of the game was gone, this was a perfect use. Board game boards are thin, strong, stiff, coated, and dont bend or crease easily. Perfect candidates :)

Elastic band:
You need something to wrap around your cranium to keep this mask on. I like to use that soft elastic band or fabric that you can buy at any fabric / craft store. If you don't feel like buying anything, you can always just use a strip of cardboard fitted to your cranium-size.

Edit: instead of an elastic band, I used a piece of scrap cloth fabric and cut a ribbon of it out. This way I can affix part of it to the mask and then just tie off the rest behind my head.

Step 2: Patterns

Print these patterns off. The sizes I have them saved as are meant to fit my head and eye-spacing. It should probably work just fine for you too (unless you are still a child, which in that case you will need to scale it down). A nice surprise is that it fits around glasses, which is nice for me.

A note on printing them out: In the print menu, make sure to select scale to page so that the pictures print full size.

Each individual piece should fit on its own page (except the small piece on the front of the mask that fits 2 per page). This means you need 8 pages for all 8 tentacles, and 3 pages for the mask components for a total of 11 pages to print and cut out.

If you want to save yourself the entirety of the hard part, try and find a laser cutter. Most laser cutters can cut cardboard or acrylic just fine. And it is fairly cheap as well. As always, I point you to check out the nearest FABlab or similar environment. Take advantage of your maker community and get involved! 

Step 3: Start Cutting

This is the longest and most tedious part of the process. You now need to cut out every piece. The tentacles are fairly easy. The 1 mask piece takes some time. If you just sit down and do 1 or two pieces at a time, it will save frustration. Take breaks! Go make cookies or sushi or something....

Anyways, I don't think you need me to tell you how to cut out shapes. All I can offer is this advise: always keep a sharp blade tip! And start cutting out pieces in the center and work out.

Step 4: Paint!

It is easiest to paint now before gluing. I say this because I used spray paint and it would be really difficult to paint accurately over all of the ornate sections of the mask.

Choose whatever colors you like best!

Combinations that I think work really well are 
  • Black over cardboard color (my first one)
  • Red over white (I wish I still had this mask)
  • Green / Black over copper (this one)
Also feel free to decorate the tentacles. I normally leave them monochromatic, but it would be cool to do some steampunk design work on them!

Step 5: Glue (part I: Mask)

This step just takes time to wait for the glue to dry. We are going to start by gluing the mask together.

Glue the two small mask parts first. I use gorilla glue always. You only need a dab or two here and there and it will hold all too well. You will also need a clamp throughout the gluing process.

Gluing the larger parts of the mask together is a bit more interesting because you will also have to bend the mask at the same time (unless you don't want to).

To do this, you will cut a line down the center top of the back mask. You will also cut the band at the top of the ornate piece. See the picture for clarification. You will then bend the mask until you think you know how much overlap there will be when it is being bent. For me, I elected about 1 inch of overlap at the top edge of the mask. Apply glue to the area that will be covered up. Also, apply glue to regions around the entire piece, it shouldn't need much. Bend the mask into position, and clamp tightly. Gorilla glue requires a cure time of about 4 hours until it is safe to unclamp this.

Glue the small pieces onto the front of the bigger pieces of the mask as shown in the picture. Again, and always, let glue cure for 4 hours before moving to the next piece or unclamping. I know this is slow, but it is worth doing right. Just do a few pieces every day.

Step 6: Glue (part II: Tentacles)

This part goes pretty quickly and is pretty easy.

Lay the mask down on a table or the floor. Space the tentacles out how you think they look best. If you need advice, check out my pictures.

One by one, glue each tentacle onto the mask. Clamp each one and let dry for 4 hours before moving to the next one.

Step 7: Head Strap

If you are using a cardboard strip, or an elastic band, this is about the same process. Approximate how long (circumference) around your head the strap / band needs to be to have the mask stay on your head. I use a system where there is a circle that wraps around your head and then a half circle the connects opposite ends by going over your head and reconnecting to the circle behind your head.

Cut the appropriate length (it helps to have a friend here to help with the measurements (approximations). We will again use gorilla glue to glue the ends of the band together and then also to the mask. Just make sure to keep your eyes aligned in the right spot when deciding where to glue the band to the mask.


If you are using a piece of fabric, cut a strip long enough to go around your head (forehead) and then also tie easily in the back. Once you cut it out, approximate the center. Tie it around your head and then hold the octopus mask up to your face. As best you can, mark where the fabric lines up on the mask. Perhaps use some tape or a pin or a marker.

Once marked, take it all off. Apply some glue to the mask and then affix the headband. Place a weight over it perhaps to keep it smooth while it dries.

Step 8: Show It Off!

Here are some final pictures of the mask. Please share any pictures if you make your own! Especially if you decide to laser cut the pieces!

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    7 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Imagine a Cthulhu mask in this design. Now THAT'D be awesome to see at a party. Anyone agree? This is a cool design though!


    4 years ago

    What is the design from? I guessed a video game since some other projects of yours are video game related.


    7 years ago on Step 6

    DO you think this would work with a light leather or would it be too heavy?

    Onyx Ibex
    Onyx Ibex

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 6

    I very rarely work with leather, so I don't know much about how to work it. But I have seen people make rigid forms out of leather. I have no idea how it is done. But it would look really cool if you did it in leather. Please share pics, and a process, if you do try it :)

    As for the weight, it weighs very little in cardboard (can barely feel it). I wouldn't imagine the leather version would be too heavy... I don't think it would fall under its weight, nor do I think it would wear on your neck holding it up.

    Onyx Ibex
    Onyx Ibex

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 6

    I very rarely work with leather, so I don't know much about how to work it. But I have seen people make rigid forms out of leather. I have no idea how it is done. But it would look really cool if you did it in leather. Please share pics, and a process, if you do try it :)