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Star-Shaped Carnival Mask

Amy Wood designs her star-shaped carnival mask with clay, plaster, paint and more.

As a young child, Amy Wood loved anything related to science fiction and the fantasy world.

Materials and Tools:

paper, pencil, scissors
polymer clay
generic facemask form
pasta machine
clay sculpting tool
pen tool
glue gun and hot-glue sticks
white glue
gloss black and gold acrylic paint
clear polyurethane sealer
velvet fabric
thin black fleece fabric
fabric glue
double-sided carpet tape
rooster and peacock feathers
newspaper, foam board, duct tape
craft paper, cardboard, measuring cup
Hydrastone pottery plaster (similar to plaster of Paris)
water, mixing buckets, stirring tool
strainer or sieve
household sponges and sea sponge
1/4" wide black elastic


1. Draw an original paper pattern for the mask in the actual desired size.

2. Cut out the pattern to form a stencil on half of the mask. The mask pattern will be flipped over to make sure the pattern is identical on both sides.

3. Run polymer clay through a pasta machine to condition it and create sheets.

4. Place the generic facemask form on a 12-inch square piece of foam board. Build a base layer of clay to the dimensions of the finished mask. Smooth the clay with your fingers.

5. Add a second layer of polymer clay sheeting and smooth.

6. Place the paper pattern on the clay and trace the pattern from the cutout stencil onto the clay using a wooden clay-sculpting tool.

7. Flip the pattern from one side to the other and trace it into the clay on the other half of the mask.

8. Use the edge of the sculpting tool to cut away the top layer of clay around the pattern insets. Press indentations into the clay using the end of a pen.

9. Cut four foam board strips to a height 1 inch above the top of the sculpted piece. Place them perpendicular to the foam board base to make four walls around the sculpted piece. Secure the foam board walls to the base with duct tape to make a leak-proof box.

10. Mix eight cups of dry plaster with three cups of water in a plastic tub. Stir for two minutes.

11. Pour the thick liquid plaster into the form over the sculpted clay. Let it harden for 20 minutes.

12. Tear off the duct tape and peel the foam board sides off the hardened plaster. Turn it over and remove the base, peeling the original sculpture out of the pottery plaster. The plaster is now a finished negative mold.

13. Tear small strips of craft paper and place them in a blender with water and blend to prepare paper pulp. Make about three cups of paper pulp. Drain the water from the pulp through a sieve.

14. Press the paper pulp into the plaster mold with a household sponge, removing excess water. Tamp the pulp down with sculpting tools inside the outline of the mask shape. Press the pulp with a sponge again, removing more water. Compress the paper into mold by pressing firmly until you have formed a thin, even layer approximately the thickness of cardboard. The paper inside the mold now forms the mask shape. Let the paper shape dry.

15. While still supported by the mold, hot-glue 19-gauge wire to the inside edge of the actual mask shape. This will support the mask and give it strength. Glue in wire loops near the outside corners of the eyes to be used to fasten an elastic strap to the mask.

16. Carefully peel out the wire-edged mask from the mold.

17. Paint on white glue to seal the surface. This glue soaks into the paper slightly, giving it greater strength and some flexibility.

18. Base coat the mask with gloss black acrylic paint on the entire surface. Let dry.

19. Sponge on metallic acrylic paint with a natural sponge to give a hammered metal effect to the surface. Let dry.

20. Seal the mask with a clear coat of polyurethane.

21. Place a strip of double-stick carpet tape onto the back of a piece of blue velvet fabric and a second strip of carpet tape onto the back of a piece of purple velvet fabric. Leave the protective paper strips on the back of the carpet tape. Use the paper pattern to trace the inset shapes of the mask onto cardboard. Cut out the cardboard templates.

22. Place the cardboard templates on the protective paper strips stuck to the velvet fabrics and trace around them. Cut the shapes out of the fabric.

23. Peel off the protective paper strip of the carpet tape exposing the adhesive and apply the velvet to the insets of the mask. Place an outline of fabric glue along the edges and stick the fabric to the mask to seal the edges of the mask between the raised sections of the design. This leaves you with a jeweled effect, with patterns in fabric between raised metallic lines.

24. Glue rhinestones on the outer points of the star-shaped mask.

25. Hot-glue a 10-inch strip of tall rooster feathers on the back of the mask. Turn it over to the front and place peacock eyes along the top edge of the mask to accent the design.

26. Glue in a precut fabric liner cut from thin black fleece on the back of the carnival mask.

27. Attach a black elastic strap to the wire loops at the sides of the mask, extending across the back of the star-shaped carnival mask.

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