Star Wars Mask is Done

Star Wars Mask, WolivanI added the paper mache to the Star Wars mask, added lots of wrinkles, and painted him pink. This was a silly project, but I had a lot of fun with it. I may even go to the thrift store for a black hoodie, since my old paint-splattered grey one doesn’t quite do it for me.

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This was an easy project, with two major challenges:

First, it would be nice if I could see out a little better. It’s OK  if I’m just answering the door to trick-or-treaters, but I wouldn’t walk around near a busy street without making those eye holes bigger.

The other challenge is making the skin color more interesting. All those wrinkles do add lots of shadows and shapes to look at, but I wanted the paint to be more lifelike, too. I think I managed that by using one final coat of acrylic varnish that had just a few drops of white added to it. It gave the skin a slightly transparent look, which helped make it appear more alive.

Of course, one could get really carried away and use traditional portrait-painting techniques for the skin on this fellow, but there was a limit to how much time I wanted to spend on him. Too many projects, not enough time!

If you’d like to see a more in-depth video series about making masks with the shop towel mache, visit this page and scroll down to see the Commedia del Arte Mask – Pantalone videos.

And click here for the recipe for the joint compound and white glue paste. (Yes, it’s the same as the home-made gesso that I use all the time. Same stuff, different way to use it.)

Next time, I’ll finish the lizard dude, then I have a bird to make with the epoxy clay, maybe a mouse, and after that, who knows? What would you like to see next? Do you have any suggestions for me?


24 thoughts on “Star Wars Mask is Done”

  1. I just wanted to thank you for your air dry clay recipie. I had a lot of fun using it to make a mask for Halloween and thought I would share.

  2. This turned out great! Your new kitty is pretty and so loving! I really like the glue and joint compound idea! Do you mix it 50/50? I use the Walmart Pro Form All Purpose Joint Compound in your paper clay recipe and it works great for that too. I used this method for forming wrinkles in my elephant some time back. I will try to post a picture of it below. It worked great for that too and yes it was a challenge as I did several layers of wrinkles going different directions using a one ply paper towel. Thanks for all of your great ideas! I used to make paper mache masks for my kids when they were little. Missing those days! Happy Halloween!

  3. Jonni, He sure is a cute little feller. Especially like the close-ups. I really hope you do wear it for the trick-or-treaters, although that might engender some mask envy. I forget your new kitty’s name. Love her (him?). Was horrified that you almost threw out the horny toad (lizard) guy. He’s wonderful. Makes me sad to think what awesome works you HAVE thrown away in the past. Sigh.

    • Kitty’s name is Molly, named after the bloodhound in my second cozy mystery novel. She moves a lot faster than the Molly in my book. My trash can does fill up sometimes (when I worked on the doll book, I’m sure the garbage men wondered about my mental health, because of all the baby animal heads rolling around in the can …)

      But I usually throw out things that don’t work. And there are a lot of those. That’s what happens when you experiment as often as I do. With the lizard dude, I thought I ruined him by adding a little of this, a little of that, to see what happened. Then I figured out that I could cover up my experiments, and save him. I’ll paint him today.

      • Jonni, the synopsis of your book “A Lonely Way To Die: A Utah O’Brien Mystery Novel” does sound wonderful and apparently a lot of readers agree. I couldn’t help think of “Murder, She Wrote” but that may not be a good comparison. The artwork on the cover is very pretty. Is the artist you or your daughter?
        Had mixed emotions about the sanitation workers wondering about your mental health. It was a cute quip, of course, but a lot of us would have loved to have (or at least get to see) all those baby animal heads you threw away. I’m telling myself that maybe someone salvaged them. It’s too bad that craft stores don’t have a place where people can take their abandoned projects for others to take if they want.
        Kitty Molly is adorable. I bet the fictional bloodhound in your novel is too.
        Cannot wait to see lizard guy (you could make a little crown and call him the Lizard King). PLEASE do not throw him away. Again.

        • Hi Shelbot. “Murder, She Wrote” is an excellent comparison. I loved that show. The cover is a compilation of photos I purchased and messed around with in my faux-Photoshop program. My daughter would have painted something wonderful, I’m sure, but she has her hands full with her own projects.

          And all those baby animal heads ended up in the trash because I was experimenting, and most of my experiments didn’t work. Back when I sold the dolls at art fairs and gift shops, I had to get help just to keep up with the orders. I discovered that my father was the only one who could successfully make them the way I did. Other people tried, but they just couldn’t get the hang of it. When I decided to write the book, I started over to find a brand new method for making the heads, and here were many, many tries that didn’t quite work. That’s OK, though. I really enjoy experimenting, even when the experiments don’t work. Or maybe especially when they don’t work, because that means I have an excuse to try something else.

          The lizard guy is almost done. I still don’t know what to do with him – he doesn’t really fit in with my decor, and he wasn’t designed to hang on a wall. He’d need a stand of some kind, I guess. I didn’t bother to finish the inside, so I’d be embarrassed to give him away, assuming anyone would want him after they see how he came out. But, it was a successful experiment. I’ll explain why I decided to do the plaster cloth and epoxy clay experiment in the next video. And I came up with a new recipe, too, while I was messing around. It’s a variation on the home-made gesso, but it dries as hard as the epoxy clay. It’s really super hard. But what can we use it for? I hope to get some suggestions after the video goes live.

          • Jonni, I still watch “Murder, She Wrote” sometimes. Besides mentioning your cozy mysteries & paper mache books here, do you do any other kind of promotion? You are so talented, I’d hate for people to miss out because they don’t know that you/your books exist. Do you “cross pollinate” with many other artists’ sites?
            Would still love to have (or have seen pix of) the little, experimental, baby animal heads : ).
            As I whined about many times, I have zero $, but if someone offered to pay postage/handling would you consider sending the (unfinished inside) lizard guy to them OR having a contest to win him? I realize that you don’t have time or money to waste, so probably not, but it would bring someone much joy.
            Friends have given me almost all of my art/crafts supplies. I try to mostly use things that are non-toxic. Can the new recipe be made with non-toxic ingredients?

            • Do you mean the recipe I played around with that dries really hard? No, I don’t think it could be called entirely non-toxic, although zillions of people use wood glue and joint compound every day with no ill effects. And I still don’t know what to use it for anyway, so it might not be worth a lot more experimentation.

              I wouldn’t mind re-homing my lizard guy, but I’m not too excited about the paint job just yet. Let’s see how it actually turns out.

              And you can see some of the doll heads here and here. The rejects looked the same, but they weren’t made with a system that could be easily reproduced, and that was the purpose of the experiments. Of course, they weren’t attached to bodies, either – just round, earless bunnies, kittens and puppies rolling around on the floor or filling my trash bin. You’re right – I should have taken a picture, but some people may have found it a tad creepy …

              And no, I don’t do much cross pollination with other sites, at least on purpose. My videos end up on a lot of other sites, we get 5,000+ visitors to this site every day, and I have 33,000 YouTube subscribers. My books tend to be at the top of the list on amazon.com for their categories, except for the doll book, which I’ve never really promoted. I don’t know why not. Just moved on to the next thing, I suppose.

  4. Jonni, This mask is great! You do such fun stuff! ?I see the kitty loves you and the camera as much as your old one did. I didn’t catch what kind of Plastilina you used. The Plastilina I’m currently using is VERY stiff even when I warm it in a toaster oven. This stifles my creativity and makes sculpting a chore!
    Thanks for another great video and Happy Halloween?

    • Hi Julie. Yes, the new kitty loves to help. There’s something about the video camera that makes all the pets come running into the studio. Maybe they think I’m talking to someone?

      I’m using Sargent Plastillina. It warms up quickly while I’m working with it, and it gets a lot softer because of the Vaseline I use as a release, and the help make the surface smooth. It isn’t as soft as wet clay, though, which I love to use.

      And Happy Halloween to you, too!

      • I love wet clay too but I probably wouldn’t use it often enough to try to keep it around and fresh. Thanks for the tip on the Sargent’s plastilina. I’ll look into that. Perhaps my stiff Plastilina will soften with the addition of Vaseline or mineral oil, over time. I actually use medium microcrystalline wax for sculptures but I want something soft and fast for masks. Now that I think of it…..wax might be a great idea for a general mask form as it keeps its shape very well. Also very good for fine detail.


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