How to Make a Carnival Mask
Carnival is a entertaining and exciting festival that occurs every year between February and March. Probably the most well known symbol of Carnival is the Carnival mask. These extravagant masks can be made at home with only a few easy to find materials. Learning more about the process and what materials you will need can help you get started in making your own great Carnival mask.
Making a Form For Your Mask
Find a balloon to use for your form.A simple and inexpensive way to make a form for you mask is to use a balloon. The balloon is inflated to a size that is roughly that of your face. The paper mache will be placed over the balloon which is later popped, leaving you with only your mask.
Get a piece of cardboard or poster-board.For a simple mask you can make use of cardboard or poster-board pieces to build the mask's form. Cardboard or poster board can be a great choice for your mask form, allowing you to create a stable shape that you find interesting.
- Cut out a flat piece of cardboard or poster-board that roughly matches the shape of your face.
- Cut out smaller pieces and glue them to the first flat piece to build features like noses or mouths.
Use paper and tape to form the mask.If you want your mask to be highly detailed and have complex shapes, using paper and tape to build a form is the best option. On top of a flat mask base made from a piece of cardboard, paper is wadded up into bundles and taped down, forming any shapes you might want.
- This method allows you to make detailed and complex shapes.
- Smooth shapes are possible to create with this method as well.
- Try to line up your masks eyes, nose and mouth with your own so that you can see and breath out of it once it is done. Hold the mask form up to your face to get a rough idea of where these features should go.
Making Paper Mache
Prepare your paper.The first step in making paper mache involves preparing your paper. The paper will bind with your glue and help to form the sturdy body of your mask. Take which ever type of paper you wish to use and tear it into narrow strips which will later be laid on your mask, covering the form and creating the mask.
- Tear the paper into strips.
- Strips should be around 1 inch wide by 6 inches long.
- Newspaper is the most commonly used type of paper.
- Colored paper can be used if you don't plan on painting your mask.
- When building your final layer, using white paper can help cut down on the amount of paint needed.
Create the paper mache paste.After you've prepared your paper you will need to prepare the paste which is the other key ingredient in paper mache. There are a few recipes for paper mache that you can make use of. However, all will have the final effect of binding your mask and making a strong material when dry. Try some of the following recipes to make a paper mache paste:
- Add ¼ cup water to ¾ cup and mix together.
- Boil 1 cup of flour mixed with 5 cups of water for about three minutes.
- Mix 1 cup of water with 1 cup of flour and mix them together.
Dip the newspaper strips into the paste.Once you are ready to start building your carnival mask, you will need to coat your strips in the paste. The paper will form the body of your mask and the paste will allow it to dry into the hardened final form of your mask. Dip your paper strips into your paste mix, covering them entirely before applying to your mask.
- Try dipping the strips in one at a time for the best control.
Making Your Mask
Apply layers of your paper strips.After dipping your paper strip in the paste mixture it's time to apply it to your mask. Take your time and try to apply the coated strip evenly and as smoothly as you can. There will likely be some overlap but try to make each strip cover as much of your mask form as possible. Continue applying strips until your mask has been completely covered in a few layers.
- Apply no more than 4 layers of paper mache strips.
- Work slowly and try to have each strip cover as much area as possible.
Let your mask dry completely.Once your mask has had the initial few layers applied to the form you will need to wait for them to dry. Adding more layers too early can cause problems with the first layers hardening properly, making the whole process take longer. Make sure your first application of paper mache is fully dry before continuing.
- This may take up to 24 hours for a layer to completely dry.
Cover the mask once again with layers of paper mache.If you feel that your mask is still to thin or not sturdy enough you may add additional layers of paper mache. Once the first layer is completely dry add more strips of paper mache over it, working slowly and making sure each strip covers as much area as possible.
- Apply no more than four layers of paper mache at this time.
- Repeat the drying and covering process until it's as thick as you like.
Make your mask wearable.On the final application of paper mache to the mask form you can add something to make your mask wearable. Exactly what you add will depend on the style of mask you are making. Whichever methods you use should allow your mask to be held to your face and let you see, breath, or speak through it.
- Between two paper clips, attach a length of string. Place one paper clip on each side of the mask and cover them with paper mache. Once dried, your string will be held in place, creating a strap to hold you mask on.
- A simple and traditional method of wearing a carnival mask is to attach a stick and hold the mask up to your face. Take a stick or pipe and attach it to the chin of your mask with paper mache, which when dry will hold the two together.
- Cut out eye, mouth, or nose holes with scissors or a knife. Hold the mask up to your face to get an idea of where these holes will need to go. Marking these areas with a pen before you cut can be helpful.
Remove your form.Once your mask is fully formed with the paper mache and has completely dried you can remove the form. Work slowly as you release the form from the paper mache mask to make sure they are coming apart without damaging either. Once your form is removed, you will be left with only your paper mache mask.
- It is possible to save your mold and make more masks.
- Work slowly to avoid damaging your mask.
Decorate your mask.Having a fully formed and dried paper mache mask calls for decoration. Carnival masks are known for their colorful and dramatic features and your mask will need to match that style. Feel free to let your imagination run wild as you decorate your paper mache carnival mask.
- Paint it with any colors or designs that you find appealing.
- Add decorations such as gems or feathers with a hot glue gun.
QuestionWhen were carnival masks first created?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerCarnival masks, or Venetian masks, were used as early as the 13th century in Venice, Italy as part of the Carnival of Venice celebrations.Thanks!
QuestionIs there a quicker way?Jacquelyn HelmuthCommunity AnswerYou could use a hair dryer to speed up the process, or put it in a cool, dry area so the glue dries faster.Thanks!
- Using different types of paper will result in different colors for your unpainted mask.
- Wait for the mask to dry fully between adding layers.
- Be careful when removing the form from your dried mask.
- You can buy pre-made blank carnival masks which only need to be decorated.
- Not waiting for your mask to dry between applications of paper mache can ruin your mask.
- Don't add more than four layers of paper mache at a time.
Things You'll Need
Paper (newspaper, colored paper, paper bags, etc)
Ingredients to make the paste (water and flour or glue)
Paper clips and string to make a head strap for your mask.
A stick to attach to your mask to make a handle.
Hot glue gun.
Video: Easy make it yourself , Carnival Masks for Kids
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