How To: Make a papier mâché mask

Make a papier mâché mask

Learn how to make a papier mâché mask. Make a papier-mache mask for Halloween, a masquerade party, Carnival time, or anytime!

You Will Need

* An old tablecloth
* A work smock
* A clean, empty plastic gallon jug, labels removed
* Strong scissors
* A craft knife
* An elastic band
* Newspaper
* White computer paper
* Unbleached flour or glue
* Acrylic paint
* Decorations

Step 1. Protect table and clothes

Cover your workspace with an old tablecloth or sheets of newspaper, and wear something to protect your clothes, like a smock.

Step 2. Cut the jug

With strong scissors, cut the plastic jug in half lengthwise. Turn the jug upside-down: The handle will serve as the mask's nose.

Step 3. Make paper strips

Tear newspaper and white computer paper into strips about one inch by six inches. Shredding the paper by hand works better than cutting it.

Step 4. Mix up some paste

Whisk two cups of flour and one cup of water into a paste, adding a bit more of either, if needed, to reach a gluey consistency.

Step 5. Dip and press

One by one, dip a newspaper strip into the paste, shake off the excess, and lay it flat against the mask horizontally, taking care not to cover the holes. Overlap each strip with a new one.

Step 6. Create a face

Apply the strips for the third layer horizontally. After you've applied three layers, mold some of the newspaper strips into features, like cheekbones and eyebrows.

Step 7. Apply the final layer

Make the last layer out of the torn computer paper, applying the strips vertically.

Step 8. Decorate

When the mask is completely dry, decorate it with paint, feathers, glitter, sequins, beads, fabric, rhinestones, or whatever will make it your own!


FACT: At 12 to 16 feet tall and several feet wide, the Igbo ijele mask is one of the largest ceremonial masks made in Africa.

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