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Friday, October 10, 2008

Paper Clay Mask, part II

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Last year I started to write about the paper clay mask I made my boy for Halloween. I abandoned the post because I made a major error in making the mask and had to scramble to come up with an alternative. But since it is costume time again I thought I would post what I did and what I learned for anyone else wanting to try.

First I would like to say that I LOVE paper clay for masks. It is so fun to work with. Dries relatively light, so wearing isn't too uncomfortable. It also paints up beautifully. Here is the link to when I started to post about it last year.

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Steps I used to make the mask:

1. I found a picture of the mask I wanted to make on the internet. In this case "The Blue Spirit" from Avatar: The Last Airbender.

2. I bought a cheap latex mask from the dollar store to use as a pattern. I modified the dollar store mask to fit the general shape of The Blue Spirit and enlarged the eye holes. Then I stuffed the back of the mask with newspaper wrapped in aluminum foil for it to keep its shape when I add the paperclay.

3. I smooshed (technical term) the paperclay right on top of the latex mask. Making a plain smooth mask surface and uniform thickness first, then building up the mask to look like my desired character. I used a bit of water to smooth the clay after I was finished.

4. I let it dry for a couple days and then painted it with acrylic paint.

5. HERE IS WHERE I MESSED UP: I glued a tight fitting hat to the forehead so it wouldn't slip around while my kid wore it. This would have worked beautifully if I had done it months before hand, because the only glue that would hold the paperclay and material together strongly enough for a four year old was E6000 and Oh. Lord. The. Smell. The smell goes away, but not in time for that Halloween. We could have drilled holes and tied string, but even after I removed the material, the smell of the glue stayed. Sooooo....

I did this.
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A felt mask. Which to be honest was better for the little guy anyway. More comfy, lightweight.
For the felt mask I printed out pictures of The Blue Spirit at the exact size I wanted the mask and literally cut them up and used the shapes as pattern pieces for the felt. I then assembled the mask with a combo of fabric glue and handsewing. I put some lightweight wire in the cheek and forehead areas to give it some shape. Attached it with elastic. Voila!

Here is what they look like on:
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Notice this mask wasn't totally finished. I had planned on adding the white 'ear' type things with a cardstock covered in modpodge, but the glue incident interfered.

Yes, I realize that this is a bit overboard for Halloween. But hey! It only comes around once a year :) Thank goodness.

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