The ultimate mask tutorial

Today's post comes courtesy of Dan Reeder from, who has created what must surely be the definitive tutorial on making a paper mache mask and has very kindly given me permission to talk about it here.  I've made the odd mask out of paper mache and so has Dan, but unlike me has the skills to make a set of videos showing how it's done, and these are available on his YouTube channel.

In part 1, Dan explains how to custom fit the mask.

In part 2, he explains the process of constructing horns to go on the mask.  

     Part 2:

Part 3 discusses how to make the horns lightweight by hollowing them out.  These are very large horns, so making them hollow helps to ensure the mask isn't too heavy.  Part 3 also talks about putting eyes and teeth on the mask.  

Dan does something very, very clever with the eyes on his mask - he uses an old pair of glasses so that he doesn't have to worry about trying to fit his glasses under the mask.  Just take a minute to think about the possibilities here: even if you don't need/want to use prescription lenses you could have an awful lot of fun with, say, sunglass lenses or coloured perspex.

     Part 3:

Part 4 focuses on sculpting the mask's facial features.  Remember kids, don't use the blue masking tape on your paper mache.  It doesn't work.  I can vouch for that myself.

     Part 4:

In part 5, Dan demonstrates his signature technique, where he uses cloth to add skin texture to his project.  Cloth is very good for making skin textures, and it's also quite strong and durable.

     Part 5:

In part 6, Dan talks about finishing the mask, painting it, and making sure it's comfortable to wear.  I always get a kick out of Dan's painting technique.  He doesn't use a lot of colours - mostly just black and white and primaries.  Instead, he blends the paint to get a richly shaded surface with a lot of colour variation.  He also does amazing things with a blackwash.

     Part 6:

As always, I'm rather in awe of Dan's ability to make excellent, informative videos about his sculpture process.   He's also got a series of cool mask tutorial posts on his blog.  Thank you for sharing, Dan!