Midsummer Mask-Making Part 2

2015-06-10Full face masks are a great way to confuse your friends and troll your enemies. Or, of course, you might just want the classic look of a Venice masquerade. While designs for half face masks are tremendously varied, sometimes it’s just tough to deal with a full face of white. It’s like staring a blinking cursor the night before an essay is due. There’s so much empty space, your mind melts.

But you already know – this will be worth it.

The first step is to figure out your character or theme. Once you have that, go crazy. Here are two ideas to help bring your imagination to life and get the most out of a full face mask.

The Mechanic Doll

You will need:

  • A full face mask (available year-round at various craft stores for under five dollars)DSCF4999 (2)
  • Gold metallic acrylic paint
  • One step crackle (I used DecoArt)
  • Antiquing stain (I used FolkArt)
  • Empty paper towel roll / A paper towel
  • Colored plastic wrap
  • Ribbon
  • Super glue
  • Masking tape
  • Clear acrylic spray paint
  • White acrylic paint (optional)

Steampunks usually treat goggles as headgear, but since we’re preparing for a masquerade, what better way to salute your mechanical side than to add goggles to your mask? This makes for some truly wonderful double takes as well, because the extra layer of accessories tricks the mind for thinking – just for an instant – that your fake face is real.

DSCF4979First, put together your goggles. Cut rings from your paper towel roll, slitting them along one side. While I advise you to carefully fit the goggles to the mask you bought (different brands have slightly different features), you can cut out a lot of early work by making one side of the goggle cups narrower than the other (I advise making the slit side shorter). Once you have trimmed the goggles to fit the face, tape each cup’s loose ends together. Attach them to the face with super glue and fill any remaining gaps between face and goggles with masking tape. Now it’s time to break out that sparkly gold paint. I suggest waiting to paint the goggles until they are on the face because trimming cardboard is not an exact science, and you might find one side is narrower than the other. I treated the paint like eyeliner, adding a thin line on the mask itself to help give the mask a balanced aspect.

*You’ll notice that in the picture, I have the green lenses on before I painted anything. This was a mistake on my part which just made for more work in the long run. Don’t do it. It is unwise. Wait for my signal… DSCF4983

Remove the elastic from the sides of the mask so it doesn’t get in the way of the next few steps. We’ll reattach it at the end.

Even if your mask says to be primed and ready for decorating, it could probably use a little help. I suggest brushing a thin layer of white acrylic over the the face, but that is entirely up to you. Paint the lips with the same gold paint you used on the goggles. Leave everything plenty of time to dry.

Add a generous layer of your crackle ‘paint’ over the entire mask, including the sides of the goggles. The thicker the goo, the better the crackle.

Once the crackle is completely dry, take your paper towel and dampen it. Depending on the look you’re trying to achieve, you might need more than one towel. I soaked one towel and applied a TINY bit of stain, using the tinted water as a kind of wash for most of the face. I used a dry towel with slightly more stain to add the dirt marks (what can I say – I’d just seen Mad Max: DSCF4991Fury Road). I used that same trick on the goggles. Remember to dab. Pat the stain on, and pat it off. If you try to scrub at the mask, you’ll take off the crackle and possibly even the paint beneath.

Cover everything with clear acrylic spray paint. I used several layers, getting closer than you’re really supposed to get with spray paint because I wanted to make the face look texturally dirty, like my doll really was a mechanic. The affect worked wonderfully with the crackle, creating uneven lumps and damage from ‘years’ of abuse. It’s a proper mess, and I love it. However, if you would prefer a cleaner look, simply keep the spray paint a respectable distance from the mask and don’t go crazy.

One last time – wait for everything to dry. After that, use super glue to attach ribbon between the eye cups and from the sides of the goggles to the sides of the face. If you want, you could even have them tie behind the head.

Reattach your elastic.

Last but not least, add the lenses to your goggles. Fold your plastic wrap into a double layer, ring the top of the cup with superglue, and tap the plastic wrap in place. I used an X-Acto knife to trip the edges of mine, but you could use any sharp blade.

DO NOT TRY ON YOUR MASK FOR AT LEAST TWELVE HOURS! Why? There are now superglue fumes trapped in the goggles (where you EYES go). Learn from my pain. Don’t do it. Once they’ve aired out, though, they are perfectly safe and painless.

DSCF4998 (2)

Metal Head

You will need:

  • A full face mask (available year-round at various craft stores for under five dollars)DSCF5012
  • Gold metallic acrylic paint
  • One step crackle (I used DecoArt)
  • Antiquing stain (I used FolkArt)
  • A pencil/pattern
  • Hot glue / Hot glue gun
  • Paper towels
  • Clear acrylic spray paint

Who doesn’t enjoy something shiny? Whether you’re trying to make an ancient warrior’s battle mask, an automaton’s face, or you just can’t afford a forge right now, learning to imitate metal is a valuable crafting skill.

But you want a mask, not a face-shaped piece of sheet metal, so we’re going to get clever with some hot glue.

DSCF5008First, you need to find and/or make a pattern. I started a little ambitiously, but hot glue couldn’t live up to my demands, so I simplified a few things (teeny tiny swirls becoming dots, for example). You’re welcome to use the pattern I chose, but I made it free hand, so I don’t have any scanned copies. There are MANY mask patterns online, however, and you can borrow bits and pieces of them to make your ideal design. Trace or sketch your pattern onto the mask with a pencil. You’ll be painting over the white, so don’t worry if you leave smudges erasing lines.

Trace the pattern on the mask with hot glue. Burn off threads as you go, and remember that too little is easy to fix, but too much is a nightmare. Remove the elastic from your mask DSCF5009 (2)before proceeding to the next step.

Once the hot glue has set, dry brush the entire mask with gold acrylic. You could probably use spray paint, but I find the crackle product works best on basic acrylics. Be careful to get paint into the dips and swirls of your design.

After the base coat has dried, apply a liberal coating of the crackle goo. Too much, in this case, is way better than too little.

It’s easy to tell when the crackle has dried because, well, it’s crackled.

DSCF5014Add the stain by dabbing it on with a paper towel. It will take some time to get it into and out of the little pits and ridges of the hot glue pattern, but the results will be worth it. Remember to pat the stain on and pat the excess off. If you try much rubbing, you can take off the crackle and the paint beneath it. If the stain is being stubborn, just run a paper towel under some water and try again. The extra water will make for a lighter stain, though.

Once the stain has dried (I suggest leaving it overnight), carefully dry brush some more gold over the raised design. This not only allows the design to stand out, but it also gives you the chance to cover any little bits of white that peeked through as the mask was drying.

Apply a light coat of clear acrylic spray paint after everything has dried. Reattach the elastic.

Go forth and party.

M. Leigh Hood is a rare beast of the Cincinnati wilderness typically preoccupied with writing, nerding, and filming The Spittoon List. For more articles and stories by M. Leigh Hood, look HERE.


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