Retro Inspired Halloween Mask How-To

Of all the things I collect – my vintage Halloween masks might be my favorite. I love the neon colors, the goofy monsters and sometimes I am even lucky enough to find them still in the box.  The thing is the masks are very fragile so not very many survived from the 60’s and 70’s. This ‘rare’ aspect makes me love them even more. It also makes me want to supplement my collection by making my own DIY vintage Halloween masks.

Paper mache Halloween mask in a box.

Through the years and via many flea markets I have amassed a large collection of retro Halloween masks, many from companies such as Ben Cooper and Collegeville.  Since children wore these masks A) the boxes probably got ripped open with glee and thrown out and B) kids break things – including plastic Halloween masks.

Enter my idea to try my hand at making my own…

DIY Style Vintage Halloween Masks

The supplies you will need to make a Halloween mask.

Supplies for Making a DIY Retro Inspired Halloween Mask

Plastic craft mask
Wooden shadowbox
Craft paint
Hot glue
Plaster wrap
Air dry clay

Apply plaster wrap to plastic Halloween mask.

Step 1 – Cover a ready made mask with plaster wrap 

Plastic mask forms are easy to find during Halloween. In the off season they can be located at most large craft chains. Cover your mask with plaster wrap. The masks are plastic and slick so this gives the clay something to stick to.
Apply air dry clay to your Halloween mask.

Step 2 – Sculpt the Halloween Mask With Clay

After the plaster wrap dries apply air dry clay. You could also use paper mache.  Use the clay to augment features and make your DIY mask more spooky.  I was making a werewolf mask so I needed bigger cheek bones and eyebrows.

Tip: Want more help on sculpting faces with air dry clay?
Sand the rough edges of your Halloween mask.

Step 3 – Sand the Halloween mask

Allow the clay to dry overnight in order to completely harden.  Use sand paper to smooth over rough edges.  Remember, this is a DIY vintage inspired Halloween mask so it does not have to be perfect.  You’re not trying out for the next season of a reality show about making monster costumes.

Paint your Halloween mask.

Step 4 – Paint the Mask

Using craft paint make your monster mask spooky.  Most of my vintage Halloween masks are bright day-glo colors so I went with a neon green paint for the mask.

Add detail to your Halloween mask with paint.

Step 5 – Paint Features Onto the DIY Mask

Using craft paint or paint markers give the mask features.  My werewolf has fun upturned teeth and long eyelashes.  To each his own right?

Step 6 – Make a Halloween Costume Box

Remember how I said the boxes were rare and elusive when it comes to vintage Halloween mask collecting?  I needed to make that part too.  Use a raw wood craft store shadow box.  Paint the shadowbox black and allow to dry.

Attach mask and yarn pompoms to shadowbox.

Step 7 – Pompoms Make Everything Better – Even Vintage Inspired Halloween Mask Crafts

While your paint is drying make yarn pompoms galore. This step is not necessary, but I wanted my monster to be ‘hairy’.  Glue your pompoms around your mask and into the box.

Tip: Not sure how to make pompoms?  Check out 8 ways to Make a Pompom

Etagere full of retro Halloween masks
I think my new ‘hairy and scary’ creature fits right in with the rest of my vintage Halloween monster costume collection. Kinda has a werewolf meets watermelon vibe to it.

Make your own vintage inspired paper mache mask

Do you remember wearing these plastic 60’s Halloween masks as a kid?  Which one was your favorite and more importantly do you still have it (or the box).  If you answered yes, email me if you want to sell it 😉



Want to see more of my vintage Halloween mask collection?  Keep reading!

Purple Halloween tree with vintage monster masks by Jennifer Perkins

The Queen of Halloween Decorating – Country Living Magazine once said it, not me.  Who am I to argue with them?  Love the time I covered my purple Christmas (Halloween) tree vintage my plastic Halloween mask collection.

Halloween fireplace screen cover by Jennifer Perkins

DIY Fireplace Screen – The tutorial is more about how to trim tablecloths into this amazing screen, but there are also some sweet shots of my Halloween mask boxes over the mantle.

Hot pink tree with vintage Halloween masks on a gold etagere

Halloween Home Tour – For the last several years Apartment Therapy has profiled my house dressed up for Halloween.  Check out the 2017 spread, complete with hot pink Halloween tree covered in kitschy plastic masks.


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