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Who are they?

Who are they?

Children can terrify or amuse with these full-face Halloween masks. And making the plaster masks is as much fun as wearing them. You use foil to shape a face mold, cover it with clay, and then embellish it with ears, nose, horns, or other features. Wet plaster bandages pressed onto the clay harden when dry. You finish your creation with paint.

Cutout eyes, patches of felt lining, and fastenings cut from old stockings make them safe and comfortable. Though the masks aren't cheap (each costs $10 to $15), each one is unique. Mounted on a wall after the goblin season, they're dramatic decorations for children's rooms.

It takes 2 to 3 hours to complete steps through the plastering stage, then the masks must dry. Overnight drying before painting is best, but you can speed the process by placing masks in a warm oven for an hour or two.

Our captions tell how to make the masks, and the pictures show key steps. For five masks, you need a roll of 18-inch-wide heavy-duty aluminum foil, newspapers, a 25-pound bag of soft red clay (which can be reused), a roll of clear plastic wrap, 10 rolls of fast-setting plaster bandages (from hobby shops or orthopedic supply stores), paper towels, white glue, acrylic paints or fast-drying oil paints, clear water-base craft varnish (optional), 5 pairs of old stockings, and 1/4 yard of felt. You'll also need cardboard or brown paper to protect a flat work surface, bowls to hold warm water, scissors, a sharp craft knife, sandpaper, and paintbrushes.

Apply glue to inside edge of mask, then glue half of a 2-inch-wide strip of paper towel to mask's inside edge. Apply glue to outside edge; fold over paper towel. After reinforcing entire rim, brush white glue over toweling

Photo: Seven plaster characters mask their 7- to 13-year-old creaters. Masks take about 3 hours to make, another hour for painting

Photo: 1. Press double layer of foil firmly (but briefly) over face; remove, fold under excess, and mark eye positions. To create support for foil mold, crumple newspaper into a ball and wrap it with more foil

Photo: 2. Apply small portions of clay to foil mold until surface is covered. Mark eye positions, smooth out surface with wet fingers, then build up clay features for character

Photo: 3. Press a large piece of plastic wrap down firmly on clay mold, starting from nose and working outward to eliminate air bubbles. Dip a 4-to 8-inch strip of plaster cloth in bowl of warm water, position it on mask, smooth with wet fingers over clay contours. Repeat, using 1 1/2 to 2 rolls of bandages. Let dry 1 hour

Photo: 4. Remove plaster shell from clay by pulling plastic wrap; remove plastic. Trim mask's edge with scissors.

Photo: 5. With craft knife, cut eyes at least 1 inch in diameter. If desired, cut out mouth and nostrils. Poke small holes in mask sides for stocking ties. Let dry overnight. Sand, then paint with acrylic or oil. Let dry. For a glossy surface, finish with clear, water-base craft varnish. Seal inside of mask with glue or varnish

Photo: 6. Cut off feet and tops of two old stockings and pull each through a hole in side of mask. Knot one end of each stocking and use free end to tie mask behind head. Where mask touches face, glue in felt pieces to prevent chafing
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Title Annotation:how to make plaster masks
Date:Oct 1, 1984
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