Papier-mâché is a perfect molding medium (although a bit messy) for making a handmade Halloween mask. You'll need to get started on your mask making early, as it requires overnight to dry. If you don't have time for papier-mâché, try making masks out of paper plates and craft paints instead.
Papier-mâché masks are somewhat cumbersome and could present a safety hazard if worn for trick-or-treat night. A full papier-mâché mask should only be worn indoors since it tends to obstruct a child's vision. How-ever, these masks are bright and decorative and can also be used as a head for a stuffed scarecrow, a ghost, or a witch.
Level: Moderately easy
Time involved: Two to three hours, plus overnight to dry
- 9-inch balloon
- Mixing bowl
- Mixing spoon
- Sharp scissors
- Craft paints
- 8-inch piece of elastic
Cover your work area with newspapers. Blow up the balloon and make a knot in it.
In the mixing bowl, make a paste out of 3/4 cup flour and a little less than 1/2 cup water. When mixed, the paste should be thick enough to thoroughly coat a piece of paper dipped in it without the paste dripping off the paper. If the paste is too runny (slimy), add more flour; if it's too stiff, add more water.
Tear the newspapers into 1-inch-wide strips. Dip the strips into the paste, and run your fingers down them to make sure they are coated. Paste the strips onto the balloon in a vertical direction from the knotted end to the top and back down again. Repeat this process several times until the balloon has several layers of paper covering it. Then paste strips around the balloon horizontally until you have about three more layers of newspapers on the balloon. Be sure the knot is not covered up by newspapers. (You will remove the balloon through this opening.)
Allow the ball to dry overnight or longer if necessary. Pop the balloon and pull it through the hole.
Starting at the hole, carefully cut the ball in half. You will have two masks. Cut two holes for eyes in each mask. (Parents should do this step.)
Paint facial features on the mask using craft paints and allow to dry.
Poke a hole in each side of the mask and thread a piece of elastic through the holes to keep the mask in place on the head.