How to Make Carnival Masks

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Making carnival masks using a plaster bandage is a surprisingly easy technique for beginners to learn. Using plaster bandage strips and Vaseline you can create a mask that will fit perfectly to a person's face. Once the plaster mask has hardened, it is simply a matter of decorating the mask using paints, fabric, sequins or feathers to create a uniquely individual carnival mask.

Things You'll Need

  • Plaster bandages cut into strips
  • Small bowl
  • Tissue
  • Decorative items (paints, glitter, sequins and fabric)
  • Chopstick
  • Strong craft glue
  • Prepare your workspace. Cut the plaster bandages into small one-inch strips. Fill a small bowl with water for dipping the pieces of plaster bandage in. Prepare the person whose face you are making a mask for by tying back hair and applying a generous coat of Vaseline. Protect your subject's eyebrows and eye area by taking small pieces of tissue and covering the eyelashes and eyebrows.

  • Cover your subject's face with the first layer of plaster bandages. Take a strip of the bandage and dip into the water to activate the plaster then place it on your subject's face, overlapping the edges. Repeat the process until the entire face (or half the face if you are making a half mask) is covered, except the eyes, mouth and nostrils. The mask will need several layers to strengthen the mask. Continue to add layers of bandages in a different direction to the previous layer.

  • Once the mask begins to harden remove it from the subject. Typically it'll take about 20-30 minutes for the mask to begin to harden. Have your subject use their facial muscles, making faces to help loosen the mask. Gently lift the mask by the edges.

  • Trim and repair the mask. If there are any breakages at this point, don't worry, simply add a little more bandages to the top to help secure it once it is off the subject's face. Once off the face, allow the mask to completely dry. When the mask is dry, trim any raggedy edges from your mask.

  • Decorate the mask. What you do next will depend on how you plan to decorate the mask. If you plan to paint the mask, you should first rub spackle onto the mask so that the rough edges of bandages are covered up, resulting in a smooth finish. Once the spackle is dry, the mask is ready to paint. If you plan to decorate with fabric, you can skip the spackle and instead decorate with a layer of fabric like silk or satin. You can create sparkle by adding glitter to the mask. Simply apply glue wherever you want the glitter to go, then sprinkle the glitter on and shake the excess off. You can also add rhinestones, feathers, ribbons and gauzy fabric to the Carnival mask.

  • Build the mask handle. Use the chopstick to make your mask handle. Decorate the chopstick either with paint or ribbon. Glue the thinner end of the chopstick to the backside of the mask either at one side of the mask or at the bottom center of the mask so that when you are holding the mask your hand sits directly below your chin. Once the glue has dried, the mask is ready to be worn.

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  • Photo Credit Photo Courtesy Plaster Links
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