Green Halloween: what can I reuse or recycle to make a Halloween mask?

Continuing in our Green Halloween series…

So yesterday, we looked at reuse or recycling ideas for Halloween masks – and I suppressed my desire to rant about shop-bought costumes. In my ever-so humble opinion, homemade costumes are way more fun – and they often reuse and recycle stuff, rather than using resources to make a one-off outfit.

In the past – way back in the past – we spoke about making Halloween costumes in general but I wanted to think about masks in particular this time – partly, because I mentioned yesterday, I sometimes need non-Halloween masks for theatre things and so the more suggestions the merrier.

What have you used to make masks?

Any suggestions for base materials – things that are malleable or things that already have a suitable shape? I guess the most basic type of mask is an oval of card (cereal box?), shaped and painted — but anything more creative?

Any suggestions for how to fix it onto your head/face? And getting a bit more involved – any ideas what to use for hair?

(The mask in the picture is

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6 Responses to “Green Halloween: what can I reuse or recycle to make a Halloween mask?”

  1. I have an idea, but don’t know if it can be made to work.

    How about using an old mask as a template, then stiching together orange peel to make fake skin. The mask would just act as a guide for the overall shape, and the beauty of this method would be the flaws in the mask construction would actually make the mask more realistic (orange peel has a very realistic leather effect, the stiching would add a gruesome effect, and if done well the overall effect could be better than a shop-bought mask). Even the skin colour would add drama.

    Larger fruit skins could also be used this way and involving the children in the mask construction would keep them occupied too. There would be technical problems (such as strength and smell), but it might work.

  2. Gioacchino says:

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  3. Lynn says:

    It all depends on the mask you want to make. A nice one can be made by quilting a few layers of fabric together, then decorating with bits of whatever you like. You could make a fabric one, for instance and cover it with feathers if you’re doing a bird mask.

    Another idea is to use thin fabric like muslin (assuming you have it around the house), soak it in starch, place on your face (or a balloon if you like), let harden, remove, paint etc.

    Paper mache is another great alternative.

  4. Karmae says:

    One year I spirit gummed my dog’s hair directly to my face to do the wolf person sort of thing. It looked great. I added a hairy chest for extra fun.

    Bark from the wood pile one year was cut out and wired to my glasses for a half mask for the Deidre/forest spirit look.

    If you choose papier mache I suggest the final layer be ripped pieces of flannelette for strength and to make it smooth for painting. I have some masks that are over 30 years old that are in greast condition.

    I also used an old hockey helmet and built it up with a chicken wire frame for papier mache. This was covered with an old faux fur coat to make a bear’s head. You see out of the nose that is covered with screen.

  5. bookstorebabe says:

    Fake fur can be very expensive. Old stuffed animals at the Goodwill, very cheap! Gut them for their fake fur. That might do for hair.
    Or, if the outfit includes a hat-glue or sew yarn, strips of fabric, ect. inside the edge to hang down.
    I’d probably go for paper mache if I was making a mask from scratch. I’ve done most of my girl’s costumes myself, and usually we skipped the mask. Makeup was used sometimes.
    Anyway, you asked for how to fix it on your face? Punch two holes, tie a ribbon or cord to it, to tie behind your head, is all I have, if it just covers the front of your face. If the outfit involves a crown or hat, maybe the mask can be attached to it somehow? A well fitting headband, and hair clips?

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