How to Make a Carnival Mask: 12 Steps

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How to Make a Carnival Mask: 12 Steps
How to Make a Carnival Mask: 12 Steps

Carnival is an entertaining and exciting festival held every year between February and March. Probably its best known symbol is the carnival mask. These quirky masks can be made at home with just a few easy-to-find materials. Learning more about the process and the materials needed can help you with the process of creating your own carnival mask.


Part 1 of 3: Create a shape for the mask

Make a Carnival Mask Step 1
Make a Carnival Mask Step 1

Step 1. Find a balloon to use as a shape

A simple and inexpensive way to make a mask shape is by using a balloon. Inflate it to a size that is roughly that of your face. The papier-mâché will be placed on the balloon, which will then burst, leaving only the mask.

Make a Carnival Mask Step 2
Make a Carnival Mask Step 2

Step 2. Get a piece of cardboard or cardstock

For a simple mask you can use cardboard or cardboard to build the mask shape. Cardboard or cardstock can be a great choice for your mask, allowing you to create a stable shape that is interesting to you.

  • Cut out a flat piece of cardboard or card stock that roughly matches the shape of your face.
  • Cut out smaller pieces and glue them to the first flat piece to build up features like the nose or mouth.
Make a Carnival Mask Step 3
Make a Carnival Mask Step 3

Step 3. Use paper and tape to shape the mask

If you want the mask to be very detailed and have complex shapes, using paper and tape for the shape is the best option. On the flat cardboard base, place the paper in stacks fixed with adhesive tape, to form the shapes you want.

  • This method will allow you to create detailed and complex shapes.
  • It is also possible to create smooth shapes with this method.
  • Try to align the eyes, nose, and mouth of the mask with yours so that you can see and breathe out once you've finished it. Hold the mask mold in front of your face to get a rough idea of where these items should go.

Part 2 of 3: Making papier-mâché

Make a Carnival Mask Step 4
Make a Carnival Mask Step 4

Step 1. Prepare the paper

The first step in making papier-mâché involves preparing the paper. The paper will bond with the glue and help form the strong body of the mask. Take whatever type of paper you want to use and tear it into narrow strips that will then be placed on the mask, covering the shape and creating the same.

  • Tear the paper into strips.
  • The strips should be about 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide by 6 inches (15 cm) long.
  • Newspaper is the most widely used type of paper.
  • You can use colored paper if you are not painting the mask.
  • When forming the final coat, using white paper can help reduce the amount of paint used.
Make a Carnival Mask Step 5
Make a Carnival Mask Step 5

Step 2. Make the papier-mâché paste

After you have prepared the paper, you will need to prepare the paste, which is the other key ingredient in papier-mâché. There are a few papier-mâché recipes that you can use. If anything, they will all have the ultimate effect of setting the mask and making a strong material when it dries. Try some of the following recipes to make a papier-mâché paste:

  • Mix ¼ cup of water and ¾ cup of white glue.
  • Boil 1 cup of flour mixed with 5 cups of water for about three minutes.
  • Mix 1 cup of water with 1 cup of flour.
Make a Carnival Mask Step 6
Make a Carnival Mask Step 6

Step 3. Dip the newspaper strips into the pasta

When you are ready to start making the carnival mask, you will need to impregnate the strips with paste. The paper will form the body and the paste will allow it to dry into the final hardened mask shape. Dip the strips of paper into the paste mixture, covering them completely before putting them on the mask.

For more control, try dipping the strips one at a time

Part 3 of 3: Make the mask

Make a Carnival Mask Step 7
Make a Carnival Mask Step 7

Step 1. Apply layers with the paper strips

After dipping the paper strip into the paste mixture, it is time to put it on the mask. Take your time and try to lay the coated strip evenly and as smoothly as you can. There will likely be some overlap, but make sure each strip covers as much of the mask shape as possible. Continue applying the strips until the mask is completely covered with a few coats.

  • Do not put more than 4 layers of papier-mâché strips.
  • Work slowly and try to get each strip to cover as much of the area as possible.
Make a Carnival Mask Step 8
Make a Carnival Mask Step 8

Step 2. Let the mask dry completely

Once you have placed the first layers to the form, you need to wait for them to dry. Adding more coats too early can cause problems with the first coats setting, which will make the whole process take longer. Make sure the first layer of papier-mâché is completely dry before continuing.

This process can take up to 24 hours for a coat to dry completely

Make a Carnival Mask Step 9
Make a Carnival Mask Step 9

Step 3. Cover the mask once more with layers of papier-mâché

If you notice that the mask is still too thin or not strong enough, you can add additional layers of papier-mâché. When the first coat is completely dry, apply more strips of papier-mâché to the shape, working slowly and making sure each strip covers as much of the area as possible.

  • Don't put more than four layers of papier-mâché at this point.
  • Repeat the drying and coating process until it is as thick as you like.
Make a Carnival Mask Step 10
Make a Carnival Mask Step 10

Step 4. Make the mask wearable

In the last application of papier-mâché to the mask shape, you can add something to make the mask usable. Exactly what you add will depend on the style of mask you are going to make. Whichever method you use, it should allow the mask to grip your face and allow you to see, breathe, or speak through it.

  • Connect a string between two clips. Attach a paperclip to each side of the mask and cover them with papier-mâché. Once it dries, the string will stay in place, creating a strap to hold the mask.
  • A simple and traditional method of wearing a carnival mask is to attach a stick and hold the mask to your face. Take a stick or tube and attach it to the chin of the mask with papier-mâché, which, when dry, will hold it in place.
  • Cut out the holes for the eyes, mouth, or nose with scissors or a knife. Hold the mask to your face to get an idea of where these holes should go. It may be helpful to mark these areas with a pencil before cutting them.
Make a Carnival Mask Step 11
Make a Carnival Mask Step 11

Step 5. Remove the shape

When the mask is fully formed with the papier-mâché and completely dry, you can remove it. Work slowly as you release the papier-mâché mask from the shape to ensure it is pulling apart without damaging. Once the shape is removed, you will only have the papier-mâché mask.

  • It is possible to save the mold to make more masks.
  • Work slowly to avoid damaging the mask.
Make a Carnival Mask Step 12
Make a Carnival Mask Step 12

Step 6. Decorate the mask

A fully formed and dried papier-mâché mask is ideal for decorating. Carnival masks are known for their colorful and dramatic features, and yours will have to match this style. Feel free to let your imagination run wild when decorating the papier-mâché carnival mask.

  • Paint it with any color or pattern that looks attractive to you.
  • Add decorations like gems or feathers to it with a hot glue gun.


  • Using different types of paper will result in different colors for the unpainted mask.
  • Wait for the mask to dry completely between coats.
  • Be careful when removing the dried mask from the mold.
  • You can buy pre-made carnival masks in white that just need to be decorated.


  • Not waiting for the mask to dry between layers of papier-mâché can ruin it.
  • Don't put more than four layers of papier-mâché at a time.

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