Have you ever made masks out of plaster cloth? I did it for the first time this weekend and it was so easy. Plaster cloth is like gauze covered in plaster, just in case you don’t know what I’m talking about.
My daughter’s class is getting ready for Day of the Dead and her teachers asked us to come by this weekend and help the kids make masks molded on their faces. Now, I think I’m some kind of mask-making master.
If you’d like to make your own, here’s what you will need:
- Plaster cloth cut into strips of varying sizes and shapes. Think skinny strips, rectangular ones, square ones and triangles. Different widths and lengths. They don’t have to be very long, maybe like 2 to 3 inches.
- Petroleum jelly to cover and protect the face.
- A hair band or something to pull hair back and keep it away from the face.
- A bowl with warm water.
- A space you can get messy in because the plaster can get messy.
Then all you have to do is tie your model’s hair back, slather their face (including eyebrows) with petroleum jelly and have them lie down if possible. The masks are made using the strips of plaster cloth you cut in advance. You dip each individual strip into the bowl of warm water and apply it to your
victim’s model’s face. Start around the periphery of the face and then work your way toward the center overlapping the strips. When you get to the nose part, use one of your longer skinnier strips to cover diagonally across the nose from the right eyebrow area to the left nostril area and then do the same on the other side. So basically you are making an X across the nose, then fill in and build it up with a couple more layers. Don’t cover the nostrils, though.
ALSO READ: Day of the Dead Sugar Skull Planters
Use your fingers to shape the strips of plaster cloth along the contours of the face and smooth out as you go along. The plaster cloth is really easy to work with and you will need about three layers total to make the mask sturdy enough. Once you are happy with the coverage and thickness of the mask, you wait a bit for it to harden and then gently remove it from the face. I used my finger to slowly loosen the edges and it came off really easily because remember the face had been prepped with petroleum jelly.
Once the mask is off, you can give it a more finished look by wrapping more strips around all the edges so the edges don’t fray or look raggedy.
Later you can decorate your fully dried mask with paint, glitter, feathers or whatever you like.
Anyway, that’s what we were up to this weekend? How you doin’?
I showed you mine, now show me yours.
ALSO READ: My First Day of the Dead Altar
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