44 Responses

  1. Teresa
    Teresa at |

    Hi Jonni,

    I love your masks and am eager to try your techniques. I’ve never worked with paper mache so I have a question about its stability. For my current project, I am considering making a paper mache mask form and then covering the mask in beadwork. I created a cyborg mask this way by using a plastic mask form (you can see it here: http://news.vanderbilt.edu/2013/10/nightmares-exhibit/). I would like to create a custom form in paper mache which I would then bead over. Do you believe that the paper mache form would be stable enough to handle the extra weight of the beads?



  2. Jesse
    Jesse at |

    Hi Jonni! I was wondering something today. Could I make a batch of your paper mache clay and put less flour or less paper in it, to make the clay able to be “piped” onto a mask, like piping cake frosting? I thought this could give some really neat details. What do you think?


  3. flaire
    flaire at |

    Hello Jonni

    Came across your videos when considering to make a japanese demon Hannah mask. Love the video’s and your work. I haven’t got very far in my project as of yet. Apart from making my own mask form; by using plaster of Paris and bandages on my face. Don’t worry, I followed health and safety on that one :) I thought doing some research before putting plaster on my face would be a wise idea haha. You talk in your video about a gesso recipe that gives you a porcelain finish. I just wondered what that recipe is, as I want a smooth shine surface to my mask.

    Thank you so much Jonni been having fun following your works and hope to do some more crafting soon.

    Flaire (London,UK)

  4. Orla
    Orla at |

    This might be helpful for other’s trying out masks who cannot get their hands on Shop Towels. I’ve heard of a women in West Cork, Ireland using J-Cloths. I don’t know what her exact method is but it might be worth a try if people are stuck. J-Cloths seem to universally available but they would make the process more expensive.

  5. Juliet
    Juliet at |

    BTW I’m from the UK and the Shop towel is also available from Halfords (much easier than Costco) and don’t have to buy in bulk….

  6. Juliet
    Juliet at |

    Hi Jonni, I love your masks and videos, thank you so much for sharing. I am going to make the Pantalone mask for our amateur dramatic performance of a Commedia De L’Arte play..
    I was wondering if you could tell me the type of paint you used (were they oil / acrylic ??) and I could tell you said Cadmium Light, but couldn’t tell the other colour.
    Very many thanks

  7. Tony
    Tony at |

    Hi Jonni,
    I’m getting quite familiar with your site now as I keep coming back and checking out other projects that you’ve produced. Love all of your work by the way, think what you are doing is wonderful and you are a true artist…
    The Pantalone mask was the first project of yours that I came across which is why that was the style that I chose to try out first. I’ve included a photo of how it turned out, I was quite pleased with the finished result and enjoyed dry brush layering different shades of colour to give it a leathery or wooden effect. I did have trouble with the plaster of paris though, I just found that it dried way to quick for me, I like to take my time with things and the paste ended up becoming unusable before I had time to get the towels to a state that I was happy with. I ended up using Pollyfiller which is a powder mixed with water to fill small cracks and holes on walls, it dries a lot slower than plaster of paris, I found I had 30mins+ before it started to thicken too much. I didn’t use Elmer’s but replaced it with a general PVA Bond that I found in a local hardware shop, I also didn’t bother with the vinegar because of the naturally longer drying time. The shop towels are an amazing product and I managed to find them in Halfords (UK) after a quick Google search.
    Anyway enough of my rambling, thanks again for your wonderful Website and I look forward to my next attempt at paper mache making an Orc mask using this same recipe but may try to use a third layer of shop towel just to add a bit more strength… Thanks again, Tony…

  8. Annie
    Annie at |

    Hi Jonni. I want to start by saying how much I love your site. What a wealth of information! I can’t wait to whip up some of the new PMC recipe (as soon as I find my scale ;) But for now, I have some questions/issues with this shop towel technique:

    I had recently begun making a PM dress form, using the standard newspaper/craft paper flour technique (layered onto the outside of a foam dress form. The plan is to cut it away afterward). After 4 layers, I realized I no longer had the patience to go on, ;) So I headed over here to see what new techniques you had to share. I was super excited to see this plaster/shop towel technique, and I already had the shop towels! I love how stretchy the shop rags are, but here’s my issue: I’m finding that the torn edges of the towels make quite an obvious ridge where they overlap. 20 times more noticeable than brown grocery bags. As much as I’ve tried smoothing them, getting them extra saturated, using fingers, tools…they are extremely apparent. I don’t think gesso will cover these ridges. How come your mask didn’t look this way? Even before the gesso, it looked great! I noticed a guest post here about using wood filler to smooth things out, but there wasn’t very much of an explanation about it. I’m sure it would take a lot of wood filler! I’m wondering if it’d be possible to do a “skim coat” of joint compound with a spackling knife over the entire surface, just like what they do to walls. Would this be prone to cracking? I really want to figure this out. Sorry for the rambling question. :)

  9. celie
    celie at |

    Why can you not cook the clay?

  10. Sierra
    Sierra at |

    Hey Jonni,

    Scanning the internet looking for good tutorials on a mask idea I had, I stumbled upon your youtube videos and was wonderfully impressed! They were exactly what I was looking for and a lot less complicated then many of the heavy chemical moulds others had done. I have just a few questions about the work though.
    I wanted to make a wolf mask and was wondering if you had any tips on the muzzle area because I don’t want to include the lower jaw so as to wear and breath easy. Would this just be tin foil/super sculpey/cardboard for continued support?
    I’m also planning on having the mask cover to about mid top of the head (not quite to the crown) because I wanted to add bits of leather and beads as a sort of neck hairs/mane. Do I need to add more layers to compensate for the weight or to help secure everything? I have hot glue to work with but just making sure it’s enough.
    Last – is the Super Sculpey re-usable? It’s about $40 (not too bad I guess) but it’s going to be my first sculpted mask (no high school egypt project) so if I mess it up will I need to buy more?
    Thanks so much for reading and I hope I haven’t kept you from your fun too long. :-)


  11. Jon UK
    Jon UK at |

    Hi Jonni,

    I’ve tested the recipe you used for this mask, but unfortunately haven’t had much luck.
    The mix didnt apply nearly as smoothly as yours and dried very powdery. I think it might be down to the plaster of paris I’m using. Its a fine ‘casting’ plaster of paris, but I see I can also get courser powders called ‘Herculite 2′ and a harder setting version called ‘Crystacast’. Can you give me any details on the type of plaster you are using ?

    On another note, for those in the UK, Scott Shop Towels can be purchased from Halfords car accessory dealers, whose branches are a lot more common than Costco’s over here.


  12. Tkaz
    Tkaz at |

    Hi Jonni!!

    I love all the tips and tricks you have on here. I have just one problem though, when I went to make the recipe you used for the mask, it came out rubbery. it did that with another recipe somewhere on here too.

    I did what you did in the video and it didn’t turn out like yours did. do I use less plaster maybe?
    Thank you for any advice!

  13. Gia Davis
    Gia Davis at |


    I am working with your Pantalone mask with students.
    They are studying Greek mythology and we are making ‘Zeus’ mask
    Thank you so much for all your helpful techniques.

    We are working with ceramic clay rather than super sculpey – do we need to put Vaseline (or something else down) before we apply plaster?

    Many thanks!

  14. Rachael
    Rachael at |

    Hi Jonni,

    I’m a fan from Australia and I really love your work! I only recently came across this interesting technique and I want to try to make a mask or two of my own. I am not overly accomplished in this area, but I know practice makes perfect, so the only thing that bothers me is the shop towel. What is a shop towel? I have tried to find out by searching Google, but I still don’t know if it is one of those ‘super absorbent’ types of paper towel, or if it is more like a chux (thin, easily torn, synthetic material commonly used for wiping up messes) . I’m trying to find something similar to shop towel near me, but I can’t find any good explanation of what it is, can you help out?

    Again, I am a big fan & I think your work is fantastic!


  15. Denise
    Denise at |

    I wanted to let you know that I am extremely pleased with the results I acheived by following your brilliant tutorials. As I explained in another post, I am making costumes for a production of Toy Story. I used a beach ball as the armature for the Slinky Dog head. I was so pleased at how simple it was to make the paste and how few blue towels it took to acheive a really sturdy base for this project. The piece was completely hard and dry inside and out in only one day. All of your hard work and time spent finding the perfect combination of materials has made it easy for the rest of us.

    I will post pictures when the costumes are finished.

    Since I work in a Public Library, I was wondering if you would like to have your book become part of our circulating books collection?? I belong to the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium which would mean that the book would be available to people who have cards from 35 different libraries in Northeast Massachusetts.

    Let me know so that I can ask our director of acquisitions to purchase a copy or two.

  16. Tam
    Tam at |

    Just got the book – and while I have yet to try anything yet (because I’m at work), the techniques in here are completely brilliant! I have tendonitis on both hands (I hope to find very soft modelling clay) and paper mache is easiest for mask-making. After much research and experimenting using types of paper/cloth mache, I’ve had some success, but not satisfaction. The techniques in this book look like they may be my holy grail (or at least a variation of them). I’m thrilled to have a three day weekend to play with this, and I will blog my mad science crafting and post here with results.

    Thanks so much for sharing this – especially from the POV of an experimenter – it makes a huge difference! –Tam

  17. Joanne Gennarella
    Joanne Gennarella at |

    Well Jonni – let me just say that I simply love the outlaw and Pantalone masks. I hope there are instructions in the book for the new recipe you used. Does your book go into the mold making for the entire process? How you use plastic to get the mask form off, etc.? My best congratulations on your new book – can’t wait to get my copy. Yours, Joanne.

  18. Sharon M
    Sharon M at |

    Your mask came out so nice!
    I’m going to do one now that my daughter was so sweet to bring me her bucket of plaster.

    I put my Bear up on my blog (sharonsfancy) today. Amazon isn’t an affiliate of mine (I don’t know how to do that), but, with the image I made reference to your new book. Immediately I received a comment from one lady who said she was going to come over and check this out. (Surprising anyone comes by since I probably post something once every 2 or 3 months). Just want to let you know your book is generating interest! Congratulations!!

    I will also leave feedback on Amazon once I’ve read my book cover to cover.

    Can’t wait!



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