How To Make A Paper Mache Mask

PaperMacheOnBalloonIf you dress up for Halloween, you may want to add a mask to accentuate your costume.  The easiest thing to do would be to buy a mask from a novelty store.  If you want to make your appearance unique, however, it’s best to make your own mask.

Although these directions explain how to make a very basic mask — once you are comfortable with the technique — you can take it a step further by giving your mask shape. This can be as simple as adding cardboard or sculpting clay to your balloon to create a nose. The basic technique, however, is simple enough to be done by almost all ages.

Make sure you cover you work surface well. This can be newspaper laid on top of wax paper, freezer paper, or even on old tablecloth or shower curtain. This is a very messy project! Also, you will need a few days to complete this project to allow your mask ample drying time!

What You’ll Need:

  • a large round balloon
  • lots of newspaper
  • flour
  • water
  • scissors
  • 1″ paintbrush
  • paints and felt tip markers
  • elastic band
  • optional: sculpting clay
  • optional: sculpting knife


1. Start out by blowing up a balloon and tying it closed. Find a bowl or cup your balloon can sit on while you work on it. Completely cover the cup or bowl with plastic wrap so the paper mache hopefully does not stick to it.

2. To add features, use sculpting clay for the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, etc. Add each feature with a dab of water to the balloon.

3. Tear newspaper into strips about 1- or 2-inches wide and 4- to 8-inches long.

4. Make the paper mache paste. To do this, you’ll need to combine 1 part flour with 2 parts water. In other words, for every cup of flour put in, you’ll need 2 cups of water. Stir the mixture until it creates a thick paste.

5. Cover half of the balloon with paper mache unless you want to make an entire head! Once you have on one layer of paper mache let it dry overnight, if necessary. Continue to add 3 or 4 more layers of paper mache and let dry after each layer.

6. When the mask is dry, deflate the balloon with a needle. Once the balloon is fully deflated, pull the pieces of the balloon off the inside of the mask. Then cut the shape you require.  If you didn’t use sculpting clay, cut eye holes into the mask and an opening for your mouth if you want one. Then poke holes in the sides of the mask near where your ears will be.

7. Paint the mask and decorate it to suit the character you are trying to create. Once the paint and  is dry, tie an elastic band through the holes by the ears to secure the mask to your head.

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