Assembling images for "The Cask of Amontillado" post last week plunged me deep into two subjects: crypts and Carnivale masks. Of course crypts are right up my alley, and looking at ossuaries and Parisian catacombs fit my morbid tastes quite well...Carnivale masks were a different story altogether. They freak me out in a way that chandeliers made of skulls and femurs will never do. But because "Amontillado"is set in Venice during Carnivale, and both Fortunato (the victim) and Montresor (the victor!) take part in the festivities and don masks, I couldn't just forgo the masked bit...
Obviously it all turned out fine. I'm now mostly immune to the creep factor of masks. Good thing because when I found some simple masks at JoAnn's for $1.99, it seemed like fate that I create my own Carnivale-inspired mask. And inspiration wasn't too difficult to find considering that Carnivale 2014 is dedicated to the fairy tale, the wonderful, the fantastic, Nature, and "The Great Forest." A mask inspired by nature and the fantastic? Easy peasy: let's go crow!
You'll need a mask, crepe paper roll (2 pack at the Dollar Tree), scissors, and a glue stick.
Measure the crepe paper out against the brow of your mask, cutting the end of the crepe paper on a slant. The crepe is a little wide for this project, so cut the strips in half lengthwise. You'll end up with a slightly shorter strip, which is just what you want. Cut your strips progressively shorter and feather the tops with your scissors. There's no specific number of crepe strips required--you can always cut more--but something like the assemblage below should suffice.
For the nosepiece, measure the crepe against the mask's nose and then add at least an inch, so the crepe paper beak will hang over the edge. To make the point of the beak, just fold the front edges under. Cut a couple feather pieces to give it some texture on top.
Apply glue to the mask and lay the longest strips along the brow on either side. Gently mold the crepe to the contours of the mask, ending with the angled edge on the outside. Lay the next strip on top of the first, making sure that no white shows through. Repeat until most of the top half is covered.
Add the solid nosepiece and then the feather accents, largest to smallest.
Start filling in the bottom half of the mask, working from the outer edge in, following the contours and overlapping the crepe edges of the nosepiece. Remember to make sure the feathered ends of the crepe paper are pointing away from the eyeholes. When you come to the side with the elastic band, it should fit nicely between the feathers.
Use the smallest crepe pieces to finish the corner of the eye. If you happen to have any white gaps, you can touch them up with a black Sharpie or cut a few filler pieces of crepe to cover any holes.
The mask is finished! But in order to wear it you'll require some eye makeup...something I didn't really think about beforehand. Luckily, I happened to have some black sparkly Urban Decay eyeshadow in my makeup cache. No applicators though, except what my momma gave me.
Catherine will hate this picture. She deemed most of the mask-wearing photos too frightening to use. Since I was desensitized to creepy masks after looking at all those Carnivale mask pictures, I didn't see what all the fuss was about.
I thought I put on a TON of black eyeshadow, but as you can see, I missed a few places. Lesson learned: don't be stingy with that eyeshadow.
There you have it: the paper crow mask. And if you're feeling ambitious, the layering/feathering technique could be easily adapted to another bird.
If you're still not in the DIY costume state of mind, you might need to visit our Halloween page for costume inspiration. You might also find your Halloween party decor and playlists there...you never know.