Midsummer Mask-Making Part 4

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It’s difficult to find a comfortable mask. It’s even harder to find a comfortable mask that still makes you feel alluring. Plastic and leather will make you sweat in a nice, air conditioned room. If you wear such a mask to an outdoor event, your make-up will survive approximately 5.3 seconds.

Here is an extremely simple mask that will nip face sweat in the bud and emphasize your inner diva.

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You will need:

  • Solid black sheer chiffon or tulle (scraps from former projects, or a quarter of a yard new)
  • Two hair clips or bobby pins (optional)
  • Super glue (optional)
  • A candle (optional) with appropriate safety measures (not optional)

DSCF5034First off, decide how comfortable you are with fire, because this will determine the kind of fabric you ought to use. This look works best with sheer black fabric (I used chiffon), but this material frays like crazy, and the only way to avoid Miniscule Hems of Evil is to singe the rough edges. I’ve used this trick on other fabrics with great success, and it doesn’t take much to melt the edge of a chiffon mask. I’ll go into more detail below, but if fire is simply out of the question, you can use black tulle, which doesn’t fray. Neither, however, does it have the same effect.

The width of your mask depends on your particular face shape, and you may need to experiment a little to find the size that suits you best. In the end, it will probably be between 1 ½ and 2 inches wide (the mask pictured is 1 ¾ inches). You can also, of course, go for a different style (ala Imperiosa with less grease paint). The length depends entirely on the size of your head and where you want it to fasten in your hair. If you don’t want the mask to clip on, simply make it extra long so you can tie the ends together behind your head, Dread Pirate Roberts style.

For the straightest possible edges, make a pattern out of tissue paper and pin it to the fabric before cutting. I chose not to use a pattern, because I didn’t want perfectly even edges.


Once you have your strip of cloth, it’s time to burn. Find a clean workspace and set up your candle on a nonflammable surface. Set up near a water source or keep a bucket/fire extinguisher handy. Dampening your fabric before applying it to the candle can reduce the risk of over-burning or setting the entire piece on fire. Using both hands, glide the outside edges of your mask along the flame. Start a little farther away than you think you need to be and work your way in. Keep the fabric moving, and take breaks if the fabric begins to feel too warm in your hands. Don’t forget to extinguish your candle when you’re finished.

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If you want to use clips or bobby pins, apply a generous dab of super glue to the non-opening sides and attach the edges of your mask.

Let dry.

Wear with pride.

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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