How to Make a Paper Mache Mask – 13 Tutorials for Major Inspiration


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If you've ever wondered how to make a paper mache mask, you'll be pleased to hear that it's quite easy, not to mention fun.

Chances are you have everything you need already (flour, newspaper, water) and you can make a very simple, basic mask or you can use some advanced techniques.

Whichever way you roll, kids love this craft.

It may be a little messy and it may require some patience, but it's all worth it because the end product is generally pretty dang cool.

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How to make a paper mache mask

Below we've compiled a list of 13 tutorials, so you can learn how to make a paper mache mask:

- Out of a recycled plastic jug
- With a balloon
- Using a face mold
- With facial features
- Of your own face (pretty cool!)

We've also included some excellent videos where you can learn how to make paper mache masks:

- Of animals (from giraffes to hyenas)
- Of dolls
- Of monsters 

But before we begin, let's make sure we know what paper mache is and how you make it.

Essential supplies

The supplies you'll need for the following projects are all more or less the same. Broadly speaking, you're going to need most of the following:

- An old tablecloth
- An elastic band
- Paper mache paste (like in the recipes and videos above)
- Decorations
- White computer paper and newspaper
- A clean plastic gallon jug with the labels removed
- A balloon
- Permanent marker
- Masking tape
- A smock
A craft knife
Acrylic paint
- Scissors
- Elmer's Art Paste
- Plastic face mask form

What is paper mache?

Let's discuss this medium, shall we?

If you're not familiar, paper mache, or papier-mâché, is a French word meaning "chewed paper". It's a versatile, composite material consisting of paper pieces or pulp, bound with an adhesive such as glue, starch or wallpaper paste.

How to make paper mache

Preparing your own paper mache is very easy.

There are tons of recipes out there, all of them variations using the same few household ingredients, which should be mixed until you have a smooth, lump-free paste.

We've highlighted 6 here. 

Recipe 1
Mix 1 part flour and 1 part water until it has the consistency of glue. You can thin out this mixture if needed by adding some water.

Recipe 2
Mix 3/4 cups of white glue and 1/4 cup of water. 

Recipe 3
Mix 1/2 cup of Elmer's glue and 1/2 cup of water.

Recipe 4
Mix 1 part flour and 5 parts water. Boil for 3 minutes and allow to cool. This is obviously a bit more involved, but it's also the ideal recipe if you want to make a stronger mask.

Recipe 5
Mix 1/2 cup of flour and 1 cup of liquid starch.

Recipe 6
Mix 2 cups of flour with 2 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of table salt.

Below are a few videos if you prefer to follow along.

Here are a few quick tips to make your paper mache project go as smoothly as possible:

- Store any unused paste in the refrigerator. Before you use it the next day, pop it in the microwave for about a minute.

- Prepare the paper strips (newspaper and computer paper) before you make the glue, just to prevent it from drying out.

How to make a paper mache mask out of a recycled plastic jug

Howcast has a pretty amazing video that shows you how to make a lion mask using an old water jug.

How to make a paper mache mask using a balloon

Another option is to use a balloon to make your mask. Wikihow has an excellent tutorial on this. This approach is also quite easy and is a great activity for kids. 

Colorful Kids Life also has a great video on how to make a mask using a giant balloon. 

How to make a mask using a face mold

You can follow along in the tutorial below, by intermediate school art teacher Katerina Kyriakakis, as she explains the initial steps for making a paper mache mask using a mold.

How to make a paper mache mask with facial features 

Here's a great tutorial on how to make a fox mask by Mr. Otter Art Studio. Once you get the principles down, you could make a paper mache mask with all kinds of cool features. 

How to make a paper mache mask of your own face

If you want to make a paper mache mask of your face, then you need to check out Anthony Roy's amazing 2-part video tutorial below. 

How to make a paper mache masquerade mask

If your child is headed to a masquerade ball-type party but don't have the right mask to wear, here is a fab tutorial from Whimsy Paper Mache on how to make a Phantom of the Opera mask. Truth be told, once you understand the technique, you can adapt it and make it however you like!

How to make a paper mache doll mask

While this project is a tad more complicated, the end result is so dang cute!

How to make a paper mache mask of an orangutan

Jonni Good over at Ultimate Paper Mache is pretty much the official expert on all things paper mache. You can learn how to make this amazing orangutan on her website. This is an intermediate craft, so it's best to try your hand only if you have some experience. 

How to make a paper mache deer mask

This tutorial is indubitably complicated but the steps are clear and the end result is pretty amazing.

How to make a paper mache monster mask

This tutorial from Dan at Gourmet Paper Mache will blow you away. He teaches us how to make a monster mask and the end result is, well, it's freaking awesome.

How to make a paper mache mask for Halloween

Over at Create Jubilance, they have a great tutorial on how to make a paper mache mask for Halloween or for the Day of the Dead.

How to make a paper mache half mask

If a full-on mask is too much for you or your kids, then you'll want to try this demi-masque tutorial. This involves a commitment as it takes a week for it to dry but it's well worth the effort.

Well that's about it folks. You are now officially experts in paper mache! Well, maybe not experts, but after you do it once, you know the basics.

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