Elaborate masks worn at Venice's famed "Carnevale" inspired these avian creations. The long nose on this papier-mache mask becomes a bird's beak, surrounded by crepe-paper plumage in gray or yellow. This mask calls for two types of crepe paper: thick florist crepe paper in gold, and regular (or fine) crepe paper in the remaining colors.
Before you start, learn Crepe Paper Basics.
- Papier-mache mask, mardigrasoutlet.com
- Foam brush
- Acrylic paint in a base color (gray or yellow) that matches the feathers to be added, misterart.com
- Gold florist crepe paper, black crepe paper, and gray crepe paper, castleintheair.biz and misterart.com
- Glue stick
- Broad scallop scissors
- 2 ribbon ties to replace elastic (we used twill tape)
- Bird Mask template
Cut off the existing elastic band from a papier-mache mask with a long nose. Using a foam brush, paint the front and back of mask with acrylic paint in a base color (gray or yellow) that matches the feathers to be added. Let dry.
Cover the beak: Cut one beak piece from gold florist crepe paper, or cut two beak pieces from gray crepe paper, using the template. Apply a glue stick to one side of beak piece, and smooth it into place on the mask's nose, leaving an overhang around the tip and side edges. Repeat if using gray crepe paper, gluing and attaching second beak piece onto the first for added opacity. At the tip, fold the overhanging crepe paper under the beak, adhering and smoothing it. Then fold under side edges, and secure; for a snug fit, you might want to cut small slits in the crepe paper, up to the beak's edge, to aid the folding. Cut two small ovals from black crepe paper for the nostrils using template; glue them near the bridge of beak. Cut two narrow strips from black crepe paper for the sides of the beak if desired; they should be as long as the beak and 1/8 inch wide. Glue them along each side of beak.
Make fringed feathers: Cut several 3-inch-by-15-inch strips of crepe paper (gray or yellow). Fold one strip in half lengthwise; set the rest aside. Then fold that strip in half widthwise, and in half again (the resulting folded piece will be 3 3/4 inches by 1 1/2 inches). Using broad scallop scissors, trim the open (unfolded) edge of the strip. Using regular scissors, snip into the scalloped edge, making a fringe along the entire length. Unfold the piece (leaving the first, lengthwise fold intact) for a long, double-layer fringe strip.
Glue fringe strip to mask: Apply glue stick to the underside of fringe strip at the folded edge. Position one end of strip under the inner corner of one eye, with strip's folded edge about 1/2 inch from the eyehole; press to affix strip. Continue securing strip around eye, then over the bridge of the beak and around the remaining eye. Trim any excess, or add more fringe as needed.
Repeat step 3 to cut additional fringe strips. Using glue stick, affix them, one at a time, behind the first fringe strip, working around mask until you reach the outer edge. Then cut a small piece of crepe paper (gray or yellow, to match fringe strips) to cover the exposed mask between the beak and fringe strips; affix it using glue stick.
Glue individual feathers: Using glue stick, create a double-layer sheet of dark-gray crepe paper for added thickness, or use gold florist crepe paper. Cut out 16 feathers using template. Glue feathers in place around eyes (notched sides pointing out) using glue stick.
Add two ribbon ties to replace elastic. We used twill tape, which comes in lots of colors and ties into good, tight bows.