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Mask Making
Violette : Creative Plaster Mask Making Art Project

Mask Making Project

Unmasking the Inner and Outer YOU!

By Violette

Outside of mask by Violette.One of the most transformative and creative acts you can undertake is to create a mask of your face. You can utilize an existing mask, however, it will not be as powerful as using an imprint of your own face.

Masks were traditionally made to ceremonially be used to appease or communicate with spirits or supernatural beings. Originally masks were created not as art objects but objects that were imbued with an incredible amount of sacred power. Some were made to heal the sick. A shaman would create a mask symbolizing his journey to and from the spirit world. It is in this tradition that we will be creating our own mask; we will be acting as our own shamans healing ourselves in the process! This particular mask will depict the inner and outer YOU!

You will need to enlist the help of a trusted friend who will lay the plaster bandages on your face. For those of you who may be a bit claustrophobic this might be a bit of a challenge; that's why I mentioned you will need a trusted friend who will help you through the process by giving you a play-by-play description of what they are now doing and how much time is left.

When I enlisted the help of my good friend during this mask making experiment, I couldn't help but notice how uncomfortable I was around my inability to instruct and direct. The lack of control on my part was very telling and a wonderful opportunity (albeit uncomfortable) to let go of control and surrender to the process. The fun part in mask making comes about during painting and embellishing. Like the journey of life, the creation of the mask teaches us lessons along the way if we are open to learning them.

Materials Needed:

  • Plaster bandages cut in 4" or 5" strips
  • Vaseline
  • Hairband
  • Towel
  • Acrylic paints
  • Gesso
  • Glitter
  • Glue, Mod Podge
  • Glue gun
  • Tissue paper
  • Fine tip indelible felt pen
  • Embellishments: feathers, discarded jewelry, gems, sequins, paint brush, bottle caps, etc.
  • Gold wire

Project Instructions:

Outside of Mask

  1. Outside of mask by Violette.Push hair back off of your face with the hairband or hairclips. Wrap towel around neck.
  2. Smear Vaseline over your face placing extra Vaseline around the hairline, eyes and eyebrows.
  3. Cut plaster strips ahead of time. Dip in warm water and smooth over face (there is a right side with more plaster on it — place this side up).
  4. Add three layers over entire face. Reinforce the nose area with extra strips. When the mask feels like it's pulling on the face (approximately 20 minutes) it is time to remove it. Let your mask dry for 24 hours.
  5. Basecoat the entire mask with gesso.
  6. Paint mask with acrylic paints.
  7. Paint a rim of glue around the eyes and sprinkle on some glitter.
  8. Adhere feathers, jewelry, gems, silk flowers, sequins etc. with glue gun to your mask.
  9. I added a painted and glittered old paintbrush to the mouth to represent the fact that I communicate through my art.
  10. Dangle a bottle cap that has been painted and hung from the brush with a piece of wire.

Inside Mask

    nside of mask by Violette.
  1. Paint inside of mask using light colored acrylic paints.
  2. With fine tipped felt pen write phrases on tissue paper that embody what goes on inside your head (the shadow side of you the outside world does not see).
  3. Carefully tear around the phrases, Mod Podge to the inside of your mask.

This is your opportunity to reveal the dark night of the soul stuff which you keep hidden away. Mask making is a wonderful project to do in a group setting. Upon completion you can discuss what was going on for you as you embellished your creation. If you are making the mask on your own use this as an opportunity to journal about the experience. •

Next: Namaste Sign Project »

© Violette 2006. All rights reserved.

VioletteViolette is a whimsical creative spirit living in BC, Canada. She can be found driving her Glittergirl van around White Rock and living in the Magic Cottage. More »

Updated 12/23/13