Fiberglass is a lightweight, strong material used in a number of industrial and artistic projects. If you need to make a series of masks, fiberglass can be an ideal construction material. By first sculpting the mask and making a mold of the sculpture, you can create dozens of identical masks. All of the materials required are available at your local art and hardware stores.
Things You'll Need
- Modeling clay
- Sculpting form (optional)
- Sculpting tools
- Acrylic enamel spray
- Molding latex
- Cheap paint brushes
- Plaster bandages
- Cardboard box and packing peanuts
- Fiberglass gelcoat and catalyst
- Fiberglass mat
- Fiberglass resin and catalyst
- Rotary tool
- Paint (optional)
Making the Mold
Sculpt the mask out of modelling clay. You can freeform it, but you will get much better results working on a pre-existing mask, face form or large styrofoam head.
Seal the finished sculpture with two thin coats of acrylic enamel spray.
Brush a thin coat of latex molding rubber over the entire sculpture, extending it slightly past the edges.
Allow the latex to dry. If desired you can speed this process with a hair dryer.
Brush on an additional nine coats of latex, letting each coat dry before moving on to the next.
Cut a piece of cheesecloth into several 3-inch squares.
Brush on another layer of latex, then press squares of cheesecloth into the wet latex until the entire mold is covered.
Continue adding latex and cheesecloth until another four layers are complete. Allow the latex to dry.
Cover the latex mold with five layers of plaster bandages. Dip each bandage in water to activate it before smoothing it onto the mold. This will form a support shell and help the latex mold to keep its shape. Allow the shell to completely harden.
Remove the shell from the latex mold, then clean the clay out of the mold. Return the mold to the shell once all of the clay is gone.
Making the Mask
Place the mold in a cardboard box filled with packing peanuts for support.
Spray a coat of mold release, available at industrial suppliers, into the mold. Allow it to dry and blot out any excess with a paper towel.
Mix a batch of fiberglass gelcoat and resin in a disposable bucket, follow the mixing ratio on the gelcoat container carefully.
Use a cheap paint brush to brush a thin layer of catalyzed gelcoat into the mold. This will form the smooth outer surface of the mask. Allow the gelcoat to harden.
Cut fiberglass mat into several 4-inch squares.
Mix a batch of fiberglass resin and catalyst in a disposable bucket.
Brush a layer of catalyzed resin onto the hardened gelcoat, then press squares of fiberglass mat into the resin. Completely cover the gelcoat, overlapping the squares slightly to ensure there are no missed areas.
Brush more resin onto the fiberglass, saturating it fully. Work out any trapped air bubbles with the bristles of the brush.
Apply two additional layers of resin and fiberglass squares.
Let the finished mask harden overnight.
Remove the mask from the mold and use a rotary tool to trim out the eye holes and clean up any rough edges.
Paint the mask as desired.
Line the inside of the mask with felt, held in place with hot glue or spray adhesive, to protect your skin.