Wearable Papier-Mache Masks
Jen Thario of Denver, Colo., shows how to make lightweight, wearable masks.
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Jen Thario of Denver, Colo., loves masks because they are like portraits you can hang on a wall or just wear to a costume ball. Today, she is going to make a lightweight, wearable mask built on a plastic pivoting headgear.
Materials and Tools:
plastic safety headgear
old grocery bags
white office paper
Artist Note: Before you begin, be sure to cover your works surface and floor with a plastic tarp. This project's messy.
- Blow up a balloon and position it inside the headgear.
- Using duct tape, scrap paper and old grocery bags, build up the form over the balloon, and add features until the mask has the right shape and features. The form is the "positive" over which the mask is shaped, and it will be removed later.
- Cut white office paper into strips and wedges approximately one to two inches wide in varied shapes and lengths. Cut a lot of paper, as it takes a good amount to make a strong form.
- In a bowl, mix water and white glue until it is a bit soupy — about equal parts. Jen uses glue because it makes a stronger and more durable mask with a better surface for painting than a traditional flour paste. Plus, it dries clear and is nontoxic.
- Add about 20 strips of paper to the glue mix at a time, soaking them for just a moment.
- Run each strip of paper between the index and middle fingers to squeeze away excess glue.
- Apply the paper strips to the mask form in a random overlapping pattern. Do several layers this way to build up the form. The mask should be approximately 1/8" thick when this side is finished.
- Set aside to dry for the night. The glue mix should be covered and stored for the next day.
- When the front layer is dry, pop the balloon and remove the form.
- Trim an even edge around the outside of the piece with a pair of scissors.
- Use a hand drill to make starter holes to cut out the eye. Jen used a small saw to cut out the holes for the eyes.
- Flip the piece over and apply more layers of glue-soaked paper to finish the back, making sure to fully encase the pivoting "helmet" part of the headgear.
- Smooth the eyeholes and edges by wrapping additional pieces around all the edges. The piece will be about 1/4" thick when it's finished.
- Once the piece is fully dry, it is ready for painting. To prepare it, apply a single coat of gesso over the entire surface and let it dry.
- Use acrylic paint in the colors of your choice to paint the piece. Allow to dry, and the mask is ready to wear.
Web site: www.artchicken.com
Sandi Genovese adds extra photos and journaling with the combination of a fold-up card and journaling tags.