Remember when the Doctor saved Madame de Pompadour from harlequin faced robots?
One of my favorite episodes of Doctor Who is "the Girl in the Fireplace", starring the 10th Doctor, Rose, and Mickey on a spaceship that has 'windows' into the life of 18th century French courtesan Madame de Pompadour. (I am kind of obsessed with Marie Antoinette, and French Fashion of that era...) Madame de Pompadour is followed around her entire life by these ticking-clock robots decked out in Rococo-garb, wigs, and these awesome evil harlequin masks. I re created one of my own a few years ago, in a mask making class. (Then I put it away and forgot about it, until now). I decided to make a second one and share my process. I plan on making lots more!
Wanna try your hand at making one of your own? Get ready, this is kind of a lengthy one, kids...
NOTE: this tutorial also appears on my blog, (link in my profile!)
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You Will Need
Grab some Vaseline and smear it onto the front of your styrofoam head. Don't just concentrate on the face, apply some to the sides of the head, beyond the face. This is so your paper mache mask can lift off easily when it's dry, and so it won't get stuck to the head. Wipe your hands clean.
Take your clay and mold out two balls that fit into the palm of your hand. Press and slightly flatten them onto the cheeks of the styrofoam head. Then take another piece of clay and mold it out into a long tube for the brow/forehead. This will give your mask the cool facial structure of the original, (see reference photo).
Starting with your newspaper/computer paper strips and pieces, start paper mache-ing your styrofoam face. You do this by dipping the strips into your glue/water mixture, squeezing out the excess with your fingers and smoothing them onto the face, and on top of the clay. Do one to two layers of this paper and let them dry completely.
After it's dried, lift your mask off of the head, (gently!) Hopefully, it's in one piece and you smoothed the paper on nice enough to where you can still see where your styrofoam head's eyes and lips are. Use these as guides as you start to paint the harlequin face. (Use a reference photo!)
**EXTRA STEP FOR ME: As you can probably tell, the pink paper I used had a decorative motif on it that was just too soft, and therefore ended up muddled and you can't even see it properly anymore. I decided to paint some of the flowery designs on myself, before starting on the face. You can certainly do this yourself for your own mask, but it's not necessary if you use paper with a strong enough decoration on it to begin with. Lesson learned! **
After the glue has dried, take your metallic paint again, and paint over the glue. Allow to dry completely.