There are many different ways to make masks, but papier mache is one of the best. It requires nothing but white glue, cardboard, tape, and newspaper to make the basic mask. It is also very easy to rework and modify. Its biggest flaw is that it takes a long time to dry. Be sure to make your mask several days before you intend to use it. That way, you will have time to let it dry. Once it is dry, you can paint it and wear it on your big day!
Things You'll Need
Water Based Acrylic Paints
Mix water and white glue in a bowl. I recommend using a 3 to1 ratio of water to glue. Experiment to see what works best for you.
Build the basic structure of the mask. The simplest way to do this is to blow up a balloon to an appropriate size. Alternately, you can cut out strips of cardboard and then tape them together to form a rough mold of a head. The latter technique, gives more control.
Use strips of newspaper to build up the basic mask. Tear off strips about 2 inches, and then wet them. Dip your fingers into the adhesive and smooth the glue onto the strips.
Once you have a uniform covering of the mask, start making facial features. A great method to make eyebrows, lips, eye sockets, and other features is to ball up pieces of newspaper, dip them in the glue, and then secure them to the mask. Then, cover them in layer after layer of paper-mache strips until you have the feature you want.
Make larger features out of cardboard and papier mache. For example, if you are making a nose, cut out several triangular pieces of cardboard in decreasing sizes, and tape them one on top of the other. Then, cover the whole thing in papier mache and shape the nostrils using the method in step 4. Finally, use strips of papier mache to join the nose to the rest of the mask.
Give the mask a chance to dry. You can simply leave it sitting there, or use a hair dryer or hot oven to speed up the process. Drying time will vary depending on the size of the mask.
Paint the mask. Pretty much any paint will work, but most people like to use cheap, water based acrylic paints.
If you prefer, you can make papier mache glue out of flour and water. Mix about 4 cups water and 1 cup flour in a bowl until there are no lumps. Then, put it in a pot and bring it in to a gentle boil for about 3 minutes. Allow it to cool before using.
Sometimes, large, heavy facial features will not remain attached to the mask using papier mache alone. If you run into this problem, wait for the mask to dry. Then, attach the feature with duct tape on the bottom. Finish it off with several layers of papier mache on the sides to smooth over the joint.