Sunday, June 1, 2014

Making your own masks

I spent yesterday making my own masks so I'm going to share with you how I go about doing that. Be sure to read till the end for some tips and tricks in getting the masks you want!


To make your own masks you'll need: 
  • Clear tape e.g. packaging tape or scotch tape -- the larger the width, the faster the project will go and the easier time you will have. 
  • Images to form your mask. You can use images from magazine pages (like this) or newspapers and even hand drawn images. I tend to collect them and make all of them at one go. 
  • Cutting materials such as scissors and craft knife
  • A non stick surface. Here's I'm using a large foam sheet but you can do this on your table, floor, whatever. You want something that will make it easy to remove your clear tape. Experiment with your tape before settling down somewhere. 

Steps to making your own masks: 

1. Lay the image you want to cut out as a mask on your non stick surface. Here, I am laying it landscape as I prefer to work with my tape down the length of the image. That way, I will work with less but longer strips of tape

2. Estimate a length of the tape you will need to cover one horizontal section of the image and cut that out. For the first strip of tape, I like to stick the tape to the surface so that it will hold the paper to my surface, allowing me to focus on laying the tape down and prevent any tape disaster (you know, the one when the tape sticks to the tape or even worse, when it veer off course and stick crookedly).

3. To prevent the tape disaster, lay the tape onto the image from one end to the other, smoothing out the surface so that the image will lie flat and parallel to the tape.

4. Continue to lay the tape down strip by strip, making sure to cover all parts of the image with some border surrounding it. You would want to make sure the strips overlap so that no parts of the image is left uncovered. You should now have something like the picture below.

 5. Now, flip the image over and do the same thing, laying down tape to cover the back part of the image. To check if you have fully covered the back part of the image, hold it up against the light. You should be able to see the silhouette of your image like in the picture below.

6. When both sides of the image are fully covered, you are ready to start cutting it out. I like to use a pair of scissors to cut the outline and craft knife for holes within the image.

If you accidentally cut off or cut into a part of the image, do not worry because this can be easily fixed. You can just cut a piece of tape big enough to cover up the whole area and then cut off the excess tape.

Here I accidentally cut into the legs of the ballerina. 

So I laid tape over it on both sides and trim along the correct edge of the ballerina.

7. After cutting out the image, you mask is ready for use! Test out your mask to see if you like the look of the masked out shape. If there are any modifications you like to make, you can trim off more parts of the image. To add to the image, use the same trick mentioned above with clear tape to correct the image.

The first print is the one on the left. I didn't like the hole under her hands and how her legs looked so I made some modifications and made the second print on the right.

Some tips and tricks when you're making your own mask: 

  • When you first start to do this, pick images with well defined edges. The ballerina I chose here have some edges that are hard to see due to the shadows which was why I made the mistake of cutting into her legs. Once you are more comfortable with the technique you can then expand your image selections. 
  • If you like your masks to be more sturdy and less flimsy, you may want to lay down more then one layer of tape on each side to make it thicker. 
  • When cutting out your image, I find that it is easier to feed the paper into your scissors and/or craft knife knife. Turn your paper rather than the angle of your hand. 
  • When testing out your masks, I suggest using acrylic paint or any kind of dry media. You want to avoid using any water-based media. More about this in the next post! 

And that is all! Thank you for reading and supporting my first ever tutorial. It was difficult and tiring editing all the photos to include "My Craft Diary" at the corner but I really like how it turns out. Be sure to check back for the next post! 

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