Umbra Hominis

Gunmetal blue cloth-mache mask with golden and copper highlights. Covers top half of face only. Edges cut to form triangular leaf-like patterns. A rhinestone is on the end of each leaf.

Primary materials: Cloth, glue, metal mesh, acrylic paint, metallic wax, rhinestones.

This is one of the few masks I have made with a very specific use in mind. In this case, a Halloween Lindy Hop dance. For this purpose, it needed to be light, with good visibility, breathability, have nothing that would hit my partner in the face, and be simple enough to make that I wouldn’t get too upset if something happened to it in the course of the night.

It is the thinnest and lightest cloth-mache mask I have made. Most of it is only one layer of cloth thick. After getting the initial shape I wanted, I removed all the metal mesh, both to save a little weight and avoid the issue of either having my face scratched up by mesh, or having to double the weight by covering the inside with cloth.

Being so thin and light means that this is flexible. It bends, rather than cracks. Some of the “leafs” on the crown are so thin that they will slowly bend by gravity if the mask is stored incorrectly. When thinness is taken to this extreme, it is simultaneously more durable and more fragile than a thicker mask, depending on the situation. If I was making this again I’d reinforce them a bit.

Front of mask. Golden tones predominate. A rhinestone is on the end of each triangular leaf.

Left side of mask. Lighting dramatically accentuates the tones of gunmetal blue, gold, copper, and silver.

This isn’t supposed to be anything in particular. I just quickly cut out a somewhat-asymmetrical pattern that I thought looked interesting and fit all the design parameters. For color I painted it black and then applied four colors of metallic wax. I added one rhinestone on the end of each leaf for added pizazz.

So how did it hold up?

It exceeded my expectations. I never had an issue with it slipping around, and nothing fell off or broke. I designed it for potentially only one use but it could easily be used again.