Manning Makes Stuff - Halloween decorations, paper mache masks, costumes, party ideas, and more

Manning Makes Stuff - Halloween decorations, paper mache masks, costumes, party ideas, and more

Posts tagged "skull mask":

Twin paper maché skull masks

A new project, a new experiment! I received a custom order for a pair of twin paper maché skull masks; the request was to base them on the design of my first Mardi Gras skull mask and keep them more or less identical, and there was a very short timeline to get them both done. So, I decided to try a reusable base! This was a first for me.

Twin paper mache skull masks - finished!

Luckily I have that article about how I made that first Mardi Gras skull five years ago; otherwise I probably wouldn’t remember how I did it! Of course it would be impossible to get these new ones exactly the same as that one, but I’d do my best to get them close. Read more…

Published by Manning on March 20th, 2017 | No Comments

Wolf skull mask — part 4; making the ears

This is part 4 of my paper maché wolf skull mask; see part 1 here.

I wanted to give my wolf skull some ears; I had this idea because in researching wolf skulls I realized that basically all carnivorous mammals’ skulls look almost indistinguishable, and the main different from one mammal head to another is the ears. So my hope is that adding ears will help people recognize my skull as a wolf (or at least a dog! I’ll settle for a dog!). Read more…

Published by Manning on March 2nd, 2017 | 2 Comments

Wolf skull mask — part 3; painting, etc.

Painting the skull

Before painting this mask, I applied a coat of gesso over the whole thing. Gesso is a thick white paint-like substance that can help smooth out any imperfections in your paper maché surface. In this case it really helped smooth out the teeth in particular.

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Published by Manning on March 2nd, 2017 | No Comments

Paper maché wolf skull mask — part 2

What big teeth you have!

Hooboy, the teeth were one of the hardest and most time consuming parts of this whole mask project! Like I mentioned in part 1, the four big fangs were made out of foam insulation tubing and masking tape; those were pretty easy. I tried a few different methods for the other teeth; I’ll spare you my failures and just show you where I ended up…

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Published by Manning on March 2nd, 2017 | No Comments

Paper maché wolf skull mask — part 1

Paper mache big bad wolf skull mask

I made this here paper maché wolf skull mask for Mardi Gras 2017! It’s got detachable ears, a movable jaw, and it’s one of my most lightweight and comfortable skull masks yet. It was a lot of fun to make; here’s how I did it!

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Published by Manning on March 2nd, 2017 | No Comments

Teeth-making tips for big paper maché masks

In all of the large paper maché masks and heads I’ve made, the teeth are always, always the most labor-intensive and challenging (and sometimes frustrating!) part. I’m always amazed at what a large proportion of my time and effort go into such a small part of the head! I’ve tried a few different methods for making teeth over the years, with varied success. Here are the methods I’ve used, and some pros and Cons:

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Published by Manning on October 3rd, 2016 | No Comments

Making big paper maché masks — advanced tips

In making all my big paper maché masks I’ve learned a lot of important things along the way — things I could only figure out through trial and error, but now that I know about them they’re a huge help in every subsequent mask I make. I’m by no means an expert! I’ve only made four big skull masks so far, and I have two more in the works (one skull and one non-skull) but with each one I can see them getting easier and easier to make and to wear, thanks to these tricks I’ve worked out over the years. Here are some of them…

Making big paper maché masks - advanced tips

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Published by Manning on October 1st, 2016 | 2 Comments

Cuckoo clock skull mask — part 3

This is part three of my cuckoo clock skull mask project. See part one and part two.

Where were we? Oh yeah, it’s time to paint!

Painting the mask

Cuckoo clock skull mask - roof and clock body spray painted!

I painted the clock body and the roof separately for the most part before joining them together. I first protected the screen in the eyes/nose/mouth with blue masking tape (the kind that’s really easy to remove), and then I spray painted the entire exterior of the clock white. I separately spray painted the roof black. I let these pieces air out for about three days outside.

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Published by Manning on February 9th, 2016 | No Comments

Cuckoo clock skull mask — part 2

This is part two of my cuckoo clock skull mask project. See part one and part three.

Scale-pattern shingles on the roof

Cuckoo clock skull mask - house-shaped clock body and roof panels

I started the roof with two foam board panels. My process for creating the scale-shaped shingles was kind of convoluted…

Cuckoo clock skull mask - close up of roof texture made with craft foam

The pattern on the roof is made with a few layers of craft foam (aka Wonderfoam). I made this way harder for myself than it needed to be! Since all my wall and roof panels were irregular shapes — there isn’t a single 90-degree angle on this whole mask — I needed the scale-shaped roof tiles to start out larger near the top of the roof and get smaller toward the bottom. I ended up designing the whole roof surface in Photoshop, starting with a nice regular scale pattern on a rectangular shape (figure 1). Read more…

Published by Manning on February 9th, 2016 | No Comments

Paper maché violin skull mask, Mardi Gras 2015

Completed paper mache violin skull mask, Mardi Gras 2015

I made this violin skull mask for Mardi Gras 2015. It was one of the most complicated things I’ve ever made. I bit off more than I could chew with this one, but I’m really happy with how it came out. Check out all these steps…

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Published by Manning on June 18th, 2015 | 11 Comments

Paper maché conjoined twins skull mask, Mardi Gras 2014

This year I was determined to give chicken wire another go, after my failed attempt the previous year. I had already sketched out my idea for this conjoined twins (aka “siamese twins”) skull, and I knew I wanted them to be different heights and sort of distorted and curved-looking. So I decided to start out with two big tubes of chicken wire.
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Published by Manning on June 18th, 2015 | 2 Comments

My first big paper maché skull mask, Mardi Gras 2013

My first Mardi Gras skull mask; photoshoot behind a warehouse in New Orleans

This was my first big paper maché project!

I started off by buying some chicken wire and trying to shape it into the skull shape I pictured in my head. It didn’t work out at all; I had no idea what I was doing and I just couldn’t get the chicken wire to do what I wanted. So I gave up on the chicken wire for this mask. (I used chicken wire again, with much better results, the next year!)

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Published by Manning on June 18th, 2015 | 10 Comments