Sunday, June 12, 2011

Majora's Mask Tutorial

Seriously, who doesn't like Majora's Mask? Do you really need a reason to make it? You actually need a reason to NOT make it. Let's just jump right into the tutorial!

- Wood Hardener
- Acrylic paints
- Sealant spray
- Majora's Mask Papercraft
- Tape
- Celluclay
- Flour
- Elastic cord
- Water
- Salt
- Sharpie marker
- Scissors
- Newspaper
- Plastic wrap
- Large bucket
- Funnel

Total Cost Estimate: $60
(based off what I had to buy)
Currently Selling For: $70

Project Duration Estimate: 7-8 days

Many of these materials can be purchased at nearby arts and crafts stores, even Walmart.


This is a long process that requires several hours in between steps to allow the materials time to dry. This tutorial creates a heavy, delicate mask with protruding spikes. It's unwearable, and eyeholes should not be made due to it's thickness.

Chemicals used in this tutorial may be harmful when not used correctly.
WOOD HARDENER is a very dangerous and flammable chemical. The fumes it gives off are harmful if inhaled. Always work in highly ventilated areas and wear gloves and eye protection when dealing with it while it is wet! If you're under 16, get an adult's help before you continue. Remember to ALWAYS read the warning labels on products you are unfamiliar with.

Always make sure you read through the entire process before beginning to avoid mistakes and get a general idea of how the project will progress.
Now let's make get started:

Step 1: Making the Papercraft
Unlike my previous paper mache mask tutorial, this one starts off a bit differently. Since the shape of this mask is unique, we can't use the foam mannequin head to make our shape for us. In this case, we will be using a papercraft to get the general size and shape. A very nice papercraft of a life-sized version of Majora's Mask is available here. The papercraft is a bit annoying to assemble, but you should be able to do it in under 10 minutes. Use the tape to fasten the pieces together. At the end, do not attach the backpiece of the papercraft. Instead, leave it open. Also, don't attach the horns. We will add those at the very end.

Step 2: Mixing the Paper mache
This paper mache recipe is a very simple one and consists of even parts water and flour (and a teaspoon of salt for some reason).
In my previous mask tutorial, I used 2 cups of water and 2 cups of flour to make 5 masks, but for this mask, you may need less. Start off with only 1 cup of each and add a bit of salt for the recipe. So you'll do:
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt
Mix these together with a large spoon until the mixture becomes pasty. Try to get rid of any balls or layers of flour that may compress and not get mixed in properly. Once you get it all mixed up, get some newspaper and begin cutting it into long, thin strips. You may use scissors, but a papercutter saves time and makes the newspaper strips much more even.

Step 3: Adding newspaper paper mache
Now here's the fun part. You have to be careful for this step, I found it rather aggravating and tricky. You must layer the paper mache on the papercraft WITHOUT wetting it excessively. If you apply too much mache, the papercraft will not be able to hold its shape and will melt. A good way of starting off is to begin with the inside of the mask. Place the mask face-down and use the curve of it to your advantage. Only apply ONE layer of mache that's very very lightly dipped in the flour mixture and allow it to dry. When dry, flip the mask over and repeat to the other side with just ONE layer. Once you've got at least 2 layers on each side, let it dry completely.

Step 4: Soaking in wood hardener
Now that you're mask is dry, it should have SOME sort of shape to it. If there is no shape or the mask is way off from what it should be, you should probably scrap this mask and repeat the steps until you get a better one. Once you dip the mask into the wood hardener, there's not much you can do to alter the shape. BUT assuming you did a good job (hopefully you did), you can begin soaking it into the wood hardener.
Wood hardener is a very strong smelling liquid, so you should work with it outdoors. To soak the mask in the wood hardener effectively, we will use a large bucket (that fits the mask inside nicely) and a funnel. Hold the mask on the inside of the bucket and slowly pour the wood hardener on top of it. Soak the mask thoroughly, getting every inch of it wet. Once you're certain you've got it right, pull the mask out and place it somewhere to dry completely. Next, place the funnel on top of the wood hardener's container and funnel the liquid that you poured into the bucket back into the container. That way you won't waste it.

Step 5: Shaping the mask
Once the mask is dry, you can now coat it with many layers of mache without worrying too much. You'll still want to let the first few layers dry completely before adding more so you don't stress the mask out. This step is looong. It will probably take around 2 days to completely finish. Not only will you be layering the paper mache along the mask, but you will need to crumple pieces of newspaper into certain areas of the mask to raise them. For example, the eyes of the mask should bugg out and the "mouth" area needs to be elevated while the "forehead" area needs to sink down. Since we used the papercraft, it should have already captured some of the mask's geography, but much more needs to be added to properly see it. Folding and crumpling several newspapers in the areas that need to be elevated and then smoothing them over with newspaper strips is a nice way to get these surfaces. Once you're done with this step, make sure to sketch a quick Majora's Mask face on the surface to decide where you want the eyes to be. It'll be important for the next step.

Step 6: Adding the celluclay
Once you're happy with the basic shape of the mask and you have some elevated surfaces and depressions, you can add the celluclay! Celluclay is a papermache type clay that's kind of chunky since there are newspaper bits inside it. The box has instructions on how much water to add in relation to clay, but I just kept adding water until I had a workable clay. You probably need to add more water than you expected. If you don't add enough, the clay dries out quickly. Anyway, knead it for about 5 minutes before you start using it, that way, you'll get some of the bumpyness of the newspaper bits worked into the mixture. Once you're tired of it, just apply it onto the mask. I avoided the eye parts (I hope you drew them) and just added a nice, even layer of clay to the surface of the mask. For the eyes, I made two half-spheres and placed them where the eyes should be so they would be elevated much more than anything else on the mask. Also, to aid me in painting. Once you add an even layer of clay, wet your hands and smooth it out as much as you can. Sometimes you can only do so much and there may be some bumps left over, but it's nothing hindering of the final piece. Once finished, let the mask dry completely. I'd give it overnight just to be sure. Once it is dry again, you should re-mark the eyes and doodle on some other features to aid in painting.

Step 7: Painting the Mask
This can be the most exciting or the most stressful part. Painting the mask will require alot of patience, especially since Majora's Mask has so much detail. For paint, I went to my local craft store and brought a reference picture from the game to compare the colors. The purple and the red gave me the most trouble, and I had to mix a few colors to get them to the right tint, but the other colors are pretty straightforward. Remember, when you switch colors, alwayysss let the previous color dry completely. Acrylic paints are great because they dry in minutes and you can get painting done pretty quickly, but sometimes fabric paints can also be considered multipurpose paints and they have nice pigments and go on darker in less coats. The paint you use is really up to you. Also, don't stress if you mess up. The great thing about paint is that you can just let it dry and paint right over it.

Step 8: Making the horns
Now that your mask is nice and painted, all that's left is to make and attach the horns. Using air-dry clay is nice, since it's usually very lightweight and cheap. I used paperclay, which is kind of annoying to work with, but it's pretty sturdy and very light. For this step, simply cut the clay into even sections and make cone shapes. When you're done shaping the horn, find the position on the mask you'd like it to be, and press the bottom against the mask so it fits into position nicely. This way, you shape the bottom so it can attach easier. I made each horn a different size so that I remembered which ones were positioned where. The two top horns were the easiest to tell, since they were long and skinny. As for the others, make each horn a bit different to make it easier, if not, just place them onto the table near the place on the mask they should be so you don't forget. After you're done, wait for the paperclay to completely dry. Once it is, paint all the horns in a nice yellow color and allow it to dry. After that, select the horns on each side of the mask (3 pairs) and paint the tips lightly with red, blue, and green. To give the fade effect, simply give your brush a touch of paint and dab it on your hand or a piece of paper until it begins to fade, then brush it lightly along the horns.
Once you're done painting, all you have to do is glue them into place! I used a hot glue gun and it worked pretty well.

Step 9: Sealing your mask
Once your paint is dry, it's important that you seal the mask. You can find sealant spray at most craft stores and it's a very nice step to keep your mask looking good. A couple coats of the seal should be sprayed on the front and back of the mask. The sealant spray makes the mask a bit more water resistant and helps dirt and debris slide off the mask easier. It also keeps the paint from chipping more. It's not completely necessary, but I would recommend it.

And blammo
There's your nice fancy Majora's Mask.
Go hang it in your room or something

For more information on purchasing jewelery and other props in my tutorials, requesting a custom item, or an idea for a new tutorial, feel free to email me at Kanti-Kane@hotmail.com (:


  1. A friend of mine used a giant heart shaped balloon for a much bigger mask :) It made a great paper mache base!

  2. Hi Kanti! I glued the paper craft to construction paper for a more sturdy base. Do I have to soak the mask in wood hardener?