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Join our free Costume Sites on the WWW #6:Masks, “Fursuits” and Puppet Making

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By

Tara Maginnis

Masks and mask making tutorials also can be found on the WWW, along with crossover how-to information on “fursuit” and puppet making techniques that apply to mask making as well.Latex mask making tutorials have been excluded from this listing for later inclusion in a future article on theatre makeup.This listing just has a taste of what is out there.Many other mask links may be found at This article is mirrored online at the page

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Mask for Uncle Sam, designed by Tara Maginnis and made by Jess Pinnow for Theatre UAF's

Yahoo Nation, 2001

More masks from

Yahoo Nation, 2001

PhotosDisk10Mvc-022f.jpg built by Melissa Lueke

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built by Kelly Stables

Mask Collections

Masks.org broken link One of the largest online databases of traditional and designer masks online.Also includes articles on historical masks, how-to articles, and a large number of links to other useful mask sites.

Agayuliyararput: Our Way of Making Prayer: The Living Tradition of Yup'ik Masks yupik@160x120.jpg http://www.si.umich.edu/CHICO/yupik

Has a large collection of masks from the Yup’ik Eskimo, along with lots of text about the historical and cultural significance of masks in Alaska & Canada.

U’Mista Potlatch Collection Broken Link shows a smaller collection of masks from the Kwak’wala speaking groups of Northwest Coast Indians in British Columbia, along with the story of their repatriation.

Indigenous Dance/Drama/Carnival Masks from MesoamericaBroken link is a great example of a commercial site that operates as an online museum of images of traditional masks they have sold in the past, as well as their current offerings.Includes online bios of many of their mask artists.

The Mask Project Broken Link archives mask designs made by artists and celebrities as part of the New York Mask Project, a charitable fundraiser.

Mask How-to

Leather Mask Workshop @160x120.jpg http://www.csu.edu.au/faculty/arts/commun/cycle/mask/

Complete coverage of the 10 day (90 hour) workshop in the design and construction of leather performance masks by Paolo Consiglio, at The Crago Mill Regional Arts Centre, Piper Street, Bathurst, NSW, Australia. Includes photos and instructions for all the days projects, with QuickTime video of important bits.One of the best how-to sites on the web.

LeatherworX nick@160x120.jpg http://www.pclink.com/nick

has a shorter page of tips for making leather masks under their page “how-to”.

Maskmaking: Doing it Yourself diy.htm@160x120.jpg http://members.ozemail.com.au/~dhell/diy.htm

details a method for making Commedia masks of felt and glue.

Mendel’s- Mask Making mask.html@160x120.jpg http://www.mendels.com/mask.html

describes plaster bandage mask making clearly enough with words and pictures, that I give the URL to my students who are absent on mask making day in class, and they can do the project at home.

A Milliner’s Approach to Maskmaking mask.html@160x120.jpg http://www.library.yale.edu/~lso/drama/mask.html

is an online reprint of a Yale University School of Drama “Department of Technical Design & Production Technical Brief” of 1994, describing Katherine Snider’s method for making buckram masks, with pictures.

“Fursuit” How-to

Strange to say,there is a whole little world out there of hobbyists who make “fursuits” aka fur-covered creature costumes similar to sport-mascots or the cartoon character suits worn by hapless young actors at theme parks.These folks have put lots of useful how-to sites on the WWW, of which this is only a very small sample:

FURSUIT: The Furry Costume Information Exchange @160x120.jpg http://www.fursuit.org

Is the home of the Fursuit FAQ list, which complies the tips and supply sources of all the aspects and techniques of fursuit building.

Yahoo Fursuiting Workshop fursuitingworkshop@160x120.jpg http://clubs.yahoo.com/clubs/fursuitingworkshop

Is an club, egroup, and information links site for the fursuit making community.The archive of posts answers many how-to questions, and the links connect to most of the important, and unimportant fursuit sites.

Carving a Foam Head fursuit.cgi?design-foamhead@160x120.jpg http://www.nicodemus.org/fursuit.cgi?design-foamhead

Is a single highly useful page in a larger site.It describes how to carve an animal head out of insulation foam and cover it with fake fur as part of making an animal costume.

Puppet How-to

The Puppeteers' Cooperative Home Page ~puppetco@160x120.jpg http://www.gis.net/~puppetco

has thumbnail sketches of dozens of good ideas for the sort of big street theatre puppets beloved of radical protesters, costumed marathon runners and children.Part costume, part mask, part sculpture, these napkin doodle type plans are simple enough to be used by amateurs, and flashy enough to have great applications in theatre costuming.

The Puppetry Home Page puppetry@160x120.jpg http://www.sagecraft.com/puppetry

While having many useful pages within it’s own site, is mainly handy for it’s many links pages to other outside sites that collectively render it one of the largest databases of molding, casting, sculpting, mache, etc. information.

Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry const.html@160x120.jpg http://www.sp.uconn.edu/~wwwsfa/const.html

Descriptions of materials used for molding puppets, as well as instructions on casting, sculpting and carving, many of which also apply to maskmaking.

Author's note: If you have good web links for any topic related to costume, please e-mail me at

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