My mask making process
My masks are made from paper mache. A fairly inexpensive method. They come out hollow and lightweight and are less likely to break when dropped as opposed to a solid clay mask.
1. I start with a full face base mask I purchased from a craft store.
Its is plastic so you can easily draw on it with washable pen, marker, or even pencil to map out special features of the mask to sculpt(in the case of the keaton mask I marked out where the ears would be on the head.)
It is also important to take note of the size of your base mask compared to your face. My mask is not proportionate to a humans so I must add more to the chin to make it lower.( I might have to lower the mouth and make the nose bigger too if it is to be a human face. At least this one is just the Keaton)
2.I then sculpt on the details particular to the mask. For this one that would be the nose and ears.(I also added to the faces shapes by adding cheeks)
For these masks I've been using Crayola brand air drying clay. Its a good amount of clay for the price. I choose air drying because I can sculpt pretty easily the details with my hands and tools and this brand can be smoothed by using my finger dipped in water.
Any clays you don't use just moisten and store away. I can probably get 3-5 masks out of one tub(depending on amount of detail I want on a mask)
Also, as a side note, I have the mask laying on a cookie sheet so I can easily transport it and keep moisture from the clay/ or paper mache from seeping onto and messing up a surface. It is also on paper, I was able to draw the ear shape to sculpt over
3. Let dry completely. Paper mache is wet and must dry so if the clay is wet beneath it prevents this from happening.
4. put on a very thin layer of Vaseline over the mask(this is so the paper mashe can pop of easier later)
5. Paper mache time!You can probably find a recipe for the mache paste online. I use flour, water, Elmer glue and salt(prevents molding) and mine comes out to the consistency of pancack or waffle batter. I then use newspaper in small strips to dip into the paste, wipe off excess so it isn't drippy and lay onto the mask.
Any paper material (printer paper, napkin, paper towel) could work, news paper is a good thickness and one issue could be enough for a couple projects.
Layer 4-6 layers. Let dry completely. Wiggle the edges loose from the base mask and it will pop off.
Wipe off the Vaseline from the inside of the mask. Now the magic of paper mache. It is paper so you can use scissors or an exact-o knife to trim away excess or cut holes for the eyes. Then use more strips and paste to thicken and strengthen thin areas and to smooth out and seal cut edges. More layers all over the better, to strengthen. Let dry
The worst is probably dry waiting time, I dunno how to make it faster. You can possibly use a hair dryer on a cool setting but if it dries too fast it may create cracks(that will show up in the painting stage) like the cracks that appear when mud dries fast.
Sand the mask smooth inside and out.
From there you can seal and paint or move on to other methods to smooth out any bumpiness.
Can find finished mask here: [link]