Plaster your Face!

The company’s annual party in Seattle never fails to be a spectacle. This year, however, was the 10th anniversary, so the Masquerade Ball they were hosting would no doubt be over the top.

It was.

At this point, it’s worth noting that Sam and I can often be the laziest people in the world…but when it comes to a themed party, seldom is the term “half-assed” used to describe us. So while this post isn’t about some crazy photography technique I’m learning and want to share, it instead documents (with blurrybacks) the ridiculous lengths we go to when presented with a crafting opportunity. 🙂

Masks for Company Masquerade Ball

Step 1: Making the Negative Mold

It’s easy to deduce from this photo that we totally know how to spend a Friday night with a bottle of wine and a bowl of plaster. With a bit of plastic wrap over the hair and the eyes, we took turns applying strips of plaster to our faces.

How to spend Friday night with a bottle of wine and a bowl of plaster

Sadly, we hadn’t fully thought out the “communication” aspects before my mouth was sealed, so we relied on blind chicken scratches on a piece of paper. You think blindly adjusting the settings on an SLR to photograph a self-portrait is hard? I assure you that blindly AND silently teach someone how to use an SLR is even harder. 🙂

Poorly Planned Communication

You might consider using “nose straws”, just so you can make the nose accurately without much risk of suffocation. 🙂 Also keep in mind that this negative will be filled with Plaster of Paris, so the more “bowl-like” you can make it, the better the positive mold will be.

Creepy Likeness!

Step 2: Making the Positive Mold
Fill the negative mold with Plaster of Paris. Dry.

Positive Mold using Plaster of Paris

Step 3: Making the Mask
With the positive mold in a plastic bag, use Sculpey (or some other polymer clay) to build up the details of the mask. I went with the Pantalone mask…because that’s what YouTube told me to do.

Clayed-out Pantalone

Watch the 3-part YouTube video for the specifics, but the gist is to paint on the fast-setting papermache glue and stretch on pieces of blue Shop Towels to cover the entire mold. Do this twice with a final layer of glue on top.

Applying base coat of papermache concoction

Step 4: Power Sanders! Yeah, baby!
This is probably not so necessary if you have ANY papermache skills. I do not. And so my mask dried in a state of a wart-covered face, like a truly haggard witch.

Hmmm…more of a haggard old witch than a pantalone mask…

Fortunately, I have a plethora of sanding devices at my disposal to fix all of my mistakes…all it took was a belt sander, disk sander, random orbit sander, detail sander, fine detail sander and then a dremel, and I was able to cleanup the rough edges. Overkill? Hard to say, really. 🙂

What a little power-sanding can do…

Lexy fitted for masquerade

Step 5: Finishing Touches
Apply a thin layer of gesso to prime the surface then, once dry, lightly wet sand with a scrubber pad. Any acrylic paint works great and just spray sealant when you’re done. We used a hot glue gun to attach the trim and ties, as well as custom clips to attach the mask to my glasses. Tada!

Finishing touches


5 thoughts on “Plaster your Face!

  1. Thank you for every other informative blog. The place else could I get that kind of information written in such a perfect approach? I’ve a undertaking that I am simply now running on, and I’ve been at the look out for such information.

    • Thanks for your comments! You should check out this great YouTube video on making the mask:

      It’s a 3-part video and was VERY helpful for the mask-making! Good luck! Hope it helps!

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