How to Make a Horror Mask at Home

by Steve Sparkes
Painted papier-mache or cardboard additions give the cast mask a particular look.

Painted papier-mache or cardboard additions give the cast mask a particular look.

Hemera Technologies/ Images

Make a sturdy, long-lasting horror mask at home to complete Halloween costumes or to play scary practical jokes. A plaster cast tape mask fits snugly so it's comfortable to wear and the rough, bandage-style finish makes it perfect for horrifying looks. The mask is firm and reusable, so apply different features to the base each year to give it a new scary look for Halloween. A plaster cast horror mask is inexpensive to make. Start making it two days before you want to use it to allow for drying times.

Items you will need

  • Plaster cast tape
  • Scissors
  • Bowl and warm water
  • Red acrylic paint
Step 1

Cut the plaster cast tape into 1-by-4-inch pieces with scissors. Make a variety of larger and smaller strips, too.

Step 2

Apply a layer of petroleum jelly to the wearer's face. Pay special attention to the eyebrows and hairline and make sure the area covered by the mask has jelly all over it.

Step 3

Dip the strips into a bowl of warm water and apply them to the wearer's face. Hold each strip briefly under the water before applying. Place the tape with the thickest layer of plaster facing out and rub the plaster around so that it covers all the bandage material and any holes.

Step 4

Make the outline of the mask neat and overlap at least three layers of tape around the outside. Fill in mask area with layers of tape placing the strips in different directions so that the crisscrossing effect will make the mask strong. Reinforce narrow and potentially fragile areas with thicker layers of tape -- the bridge of the nose and around the eye holes, for instance. Use smaller strips in detailed areas. Leave holes for the mouth, nose and eyes.

Step 5

Remove the mask after 10 to 15 minutes drying time. The wearer may need to crunch up his face to get it off. Ease it off gently and leave to dry for 24 hours on wadded-up newspaper.

Step 6

Apply red acrylic paint to show blood trickling from eye, mouth and nose holes. Add some blood splashes. Bandage head and nose before wearing the mask for a scary bandaged-zombie look.

Tips & Warnings

  • Transform the plaster cast mask base with alternative features. Add papier-mache horns and a pointed chin glued in place to create a devil mask. Paint red and black for effect. The basic white plaster mask worn with a black trilby hat and dark glasses makes an ideal Invisible Man. Stretch out the eye and mouth holes with black acrylic paint for a Scream mask. Lengthen the chin with a pointed papier-mache attachment and wear a length of black cloth draped over your head.
  • Keep the plaster tape away from water before use or it will harden and become useless.

About the Author

Steve Sparkes started writing professionally in 1982. He was a journalist and photographer for "The New York Waste" magazine for a decade. Sparkes has a diploma of art and design and a Bachelor of Arts in history of art from the South-East Essex School of Art. He also has a Master of Arts in photography from the London School of Printing and Graphic Arts.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images