How to Make Indian Masks

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Traditional Indian masks varied from tribe to tribe. There were certain standards and styles used such as eyes and eyebrows were often painted black, hair was made of straw and many feathers were used to decorate the outer rim of the mask. A man made the masks to resemble animals, spirits and characteristics of spiritual symbols. Indian masks can now be found hanging on some people walls as décor and in museums. Authentic Indian masks are difficult to find and are expensive. However, you can make your own version of Indian masks and save yourself a lot of money.

Things You'll Need

  • Aluminum foil
  • Ash air-dry clay
  • 1 small cup of water
  • Needle
  • Cookie sheet - optional
  • Oven -- optional
  • Spray acrylic sealer
  • Acrylic paint
  • Gemstone beads
  • Glue gun and hot glue
  • Plastic stuffed animal eyes
  • Feathers
  • Silk ivy leaves
  • Roll a medium size ball of aluminum foil and flatten it into an oval shape. The foil base is to mold the face for the Indian Shaman mask.

  • Break-off a small piece of the ash air-dry clay (a little smaller than your fist). Knead the clay with your fists and fingers until it is flat.

  • Place the flatten clay over the oval aluminum foil and start shaping the clay into a smooth face plate.

  • Break-off another small piece of clay and roll it into a large snake shape. Begin shaping it to make a nose for the mask. Place the nose in the center of the mask and smooth the sides of the nose with your fingers to secure it to the mask. Use the pointed end of a pencil to make two holes for the nostrils.

  • Tear off two small pieces of clay and mold both pieces into a pork chop shape. Place one piece of clay on the sides of the nose to make the cheekbones. The large part of the pork chop shape should be close to the nose with the narrow end extended down towards the lip area. Dip your fingers in the small cup of water and smooth the pieces to the mask with your fingers.

  • Roll two more pieces of clay into short medium size snakes for the lips. Place the two pieces beneath the nose, horizontally parallel to each other. Smooth the pieces and shape the lips, leaving a small gap between them.

  • Use your fingers to make two depress areas for the eye sockets.

  • Press the back of the plastic stuffed animal eyes into the eye sockets. Pull off two more small pieces of clay and roll them into snakes. Break the two snakes in half to make four rolled pieces. Lay one rolled piece at the top and bottom of each eye. Dip your fingers in the water and smooth the clay around the plastic eyes so they appear to sink back into the mask.

  • Use your needle tool to make eyebrows and lines around the eyes and mouth. For the eyebrows, make lines that leans away from the nose on the top piece of clay above the plastic eyes. Use the tools to make lines around the eyes and mouth to age the mask.

  • Prepare the mask to add beads. Use your needle to poke holes along the forehead and any other place where you want beads.

  • Place foil on a cookie sheet and carefully place the mask and foil base on top of the sheet. Put the mask in your oven and bake it on a low temperature (250-degrees) until it is completely dry. Remove the mask from the oven and allow it to cool. Remove the foil base.

  • Spray or paint the mask with an acrylic sealer. Allow the sealer to dry.

  • Paint on black eyebrows with the acrylic paint (optional). Use your glue gun to secure beads in the holes punched with the needle tool.

  • Hot glue a gemstone to the middle of the forehead. Hot glue some silk ivy leaves around the back edge of mask and the front of the forehead to make a green leaf crown. Glue a feather above the gemstone in the middle of the forehead. Glue more feathers in other areas per your taste.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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