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The "Crafty" Witch   

With Samhain just around the corner I thought I’d share with you some ideas for masking. First of all this is done best in groups or at least with a partner.

  1. Begin by deciding what kind of mask you want to make. Do you want to hang it on a wall, or wear it? Is it to be a butterfly, or an elephant, or a unicorn? If you plan to wear it, then it should be a bit stronger, than if it is to hang on a wall.
  2. Assemble your materials: plaster tape* (cut into small strips), a bowl of cold water, petroleum jelly, towel, and paper towels.
  3. Apply the petroleum jelly to the entire face so that you will be able to easily remove the mask when it is done. Drape the towel around the person’s neck/chest area. Give them some paper towels to wipe away excess water. Then begin by dipping the plaster strips into the cold water, removing the excess water, and applying them to the face area. Using the fingertips, smooth the plaster strips, overlapping them together as you build the mask. When the mask is finished it should be at least three layers thick with the strips. You can cover the mouth, but the person will not be able to talk through the mask after it is dry. Do not cover the eyes and use caution around the hair! Try to avoid getting the plaster on your clothing, it does wash out, but is annoyingly difficult. After removing the mask, just wash your face with hot water and soap!
  4. When the mask is finished, let is dry until you can easily remove it from the face. Place it on some newspaper to dry thoroughly. When it is dry you can go over the mask again smoothing it out and finishing edges with additional plaster strips. At this point you can also add horns, beaks, ears, whatever. Using poster board, fashion the needed shape and attach it to the mask using more of the wet plaster strips. Be generous with them and create a strong attachment. After drying, it may be sanded smooth if desired. It is now ready to decorate, paint, etc.
  5. Decorating is the really fun part of this project. There is no limit, only your imagination! I have seen people use real snakeskin, fur (real and fake), paint, glitter, and feather their way to some pretty spectacular masks that were quite suitable for hanging over an altar afterwards. We have even made unicorns, hummingbirds and stag horns from the poster board.

We use our masks to wear during the traditional Samhain ritual to disguise ourselves from the spirits and bring in the energies of our totems. Usually as a part of our workshop, prior to making the masks, we do a meditation to assist those who are unaware of their totem. This is a great way to introduce and discuss the meaning of Samhain with your children, by creating a masked costume with them.

Blessed Be, StarrWalker



Last updated Friday, September 18, 1998 08:19 AM. Copyrighted Temple of The Triple Goddess, P.O. Box 38113, Phoenix, AZ 85069-8113. All rights reserved.