How to Make Large Masks for Decoration

By Mason Howard

Its lightweight quality makes hanging papier-mache decorations a cinch. Painted papier-mache masks make appropriate decorations in almost any room, including dining, living and kid's rooms. You can create an impact in your home with a giant mask. Lay papier-mache, like a skin, over a customized wood and wire mask form, and after it dries, paint the papier-mache mask as desired. The paint will seal and protect the papier-mache for a long-lasting decoration.

List of Items Needed

  • 3/4-inch plywood
  • Pencil
  • Drill
  • Jigsaw or hand held rotary tool
  • Picture hanger
  • Hexagonal wire mesh
  • Staple gun
  • Wire cutters
  • Newspaper
  • Scissors
  • Mixing bowl
  • White flour
  • White paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Colored paints
  1. Draw the outline of the mask shape on a piece of 3/4-inch plywood. Cut out the mask shape with a jigsaw or rotary cutting tool. Draw another line, 2 to 3 inches in from and along the perimeter of the mask shape. Cut along the second line. Remove the center section to end up with a ring-like mask frame.

  2. Screw picture-hanging hardware to the top center of the mask frame. Turn the mask frame over.

  3. Shape wire mesh over the wood frame, bending and forming the desired facial features of the mask by hand. Bend the ends of the wire mesh around the wood frame and staple them to the back. Trim excess wire and cut out eye shapes with wire cutters.

  4. Cut a stockpile of newspaper strips, measuring approximately 2 inches wide.

  5. To create a papier-mache paste, add water to a mixing bowl. Then gradually whisk in flour until a paste the consistency of cream soup is created.

  6. Cover the wire form with approximately four layers of papier-mache strips. Dip the strips into the paste and squeeze out the excess between two fingers. Lay them flat onto the wire, overlapping and going in all directions. Continuously smooth the papier-mache covering by hand. Leave the papier-mache to dry. Heaters or fans placed nearby will speed the drying process.

  7. Apply at least two more coverings of papier-mache, allowing one covering to dry before adding another. Allow the last coat to fully dry.

  8. Prime the mask and cover up all the newspaper print with white paint. Paint the inside of the mask with white paint as well. After the white paint dries, paint the front of the mask with colors, adding any desired designs or decorations.

Tips and Warnings

  • If using a jig saw, drill a hole to insert the blade for the second cut.

© Demand Media 2011