Anubis – Mask

Inspiration and ideas

I spent a good deal of time trying to figure out how I was going to make the jackal head for the mask – starting just with what mask I was going to use for a base! I had a headband mask (which would be very well supported, but fans out at the sides and might look silly when covered with the headdress – plus it’s such a pretty black velvet and I hesitate to cover it all up…) and a large mask blank with an elastic back (which would be easier to work with, but didn’t quite cover as much as I would have liked…).

I decided to start with the mask blank.

From there I made the ears, and then got to focus on the nose.


Figuring out how to shape the nose of the jackal;  I thought about making a wire form and covering it with paper mache, of sewing a fabric nose and making it into the mask, using expanding foam, molding it in leather, making it in foam-clay (like model magic), making it in paper and covering it with plaster, and a few other ideas.

I decided at first that expanding foam might work best.

I took a look at Angela’s blog where she has a tutorial on how to make a super-light-weight sword using expanding foam.  She has quite expansive instructions. (including a reminder that this takes a while due to all the drying time), but the basic steps are:

  1. Cut out a one-dimensional template out of card
  2. Spray the template with expanding foam on each side
  3. Carve away the excess foam
  4. Cover the foam with masking tape (to seal the foam)
  5. Cover the masking tape with paper mache and let dry
  6. Cover the paper mache with celluclay, let dry, sand, then paint. (The celluclay gives it a smoother surface than just sanding the paper mache.)

Another similar tutorial from Kamui Cosplay

I thought that this would be a fantastic way of making a nose that I could shape the way I wanted (through the carving of the foam) much like making the nose out of clay, but much lighter…

Avianna used a similar technique to make a mask – but added in model magic to add extra details to the mask.  Her instructions are quite good as well, but the basic steps are:

  1.  Put the paper mache over a mask blank
  2. Adding features with paper mache, paper towel soaked in paper mache glue, and model magic
  3. Evening out the surface with paperclay
  4. Sanding the paperclay, and finally finishing the mask with paint and details like eyelashes, hair, etc.

So, I figured that if I combined the two, I could make the mask with the nose on it, while keeping it quite lightweight.  Ronnie Not The Bear suggests that paperclay is great because it’s easy to sand, and has some example pictures of the benefit of sanding.  Also I was really impressed by the shine she got on her horns by sanding…
Although the photo of this ‘inspiration’ mask isn’t very illuminating – I did love the comment about using a taxidermy nose for the nose of the jackal – and picked up a teddy bear nose at the Creative Stitches show – with the intention of using it in this mask too.

Getting started

Once I had my plan, I needed to actually get started on it. Since this was one of the most challenging aspects of the costume, I spent a lot of time working on the easier projects first so I could mull over the ideas in my mind before moving forward… I also needed time to shop for that expanding foam.  Note to self – Home Depot is useless – it’s so hard to find things in there! I found the foam at Rona easily – along with all of the other things I (thought I) needed.

… and then I changed my mind.


I cut the ‘nose’ shape out of cardstock to start with – with the intention of spraying foam on it – but once I cut it out, it just seemed too small to really make any sense out of with the foam.

  1.  Instead I went back to the foam core that I had used for one of my two ankhs, and traced my nose shape out of foamcore, then four subsequently smaller shapes and finally two “cheek” pieces. I previewed what the plastic nose piece would look like on the foam nose too.

    Previewing the plastic nose

  2. These are layered   4 3 2 1 2 3 4 with “1” being the original nose shape and “4” being the ‘cheek’ pieces.  (I also cut out the centers of some of the pieces to lighten it further.)

    The layers of foam core

  3. I glued the layers together using hot glue and filled in some of the space with hot glue as well.  Looking back I could have also carved in the angle into the individual steps of foam, but I didn’t.

    All of the layers glued together

  4. Next I covered the  nose with a layer of paper mache, trying to fill in some of the hollows with paper mache to make the nose “curve” in three dimensions.
  5. Once dry, I glued the nose to the mask with hot glue, filling in any of the minor spaces between the two with glue.  Then I blended in the nose to the mask with more paper mache.

    The nose glued to the mask with the first layer of paper mache

  6. Once that dried, I started covering the nose and the mask with wood filler, and pressed the black plastic nose into the tip of the foam/paper/filler nose.

    Mask with wood filler.

  7. Once that was all dry, I took it outside and spray painted it black.  Note to self – try to do these projects when it isn’t -16 outside…
  8. Since I didn’t really want to spray paint again for the back side (It was just too cold out there!) I brought the mask in when dry and used acrylic paint to continue the  paint job on the front of the mask and the back of the ears. Although the paper mache seemed really smooth on the ears without the wood filler – once the paint was on it was really clear that it wasn’t – the paint seemed to exaggerate the texture. It was a bit too late to do anything – so I just kept at it. I had read that a product called Mod Podge was self-leveling; something like this might have helped as a starter coat before the paint, but that’s something for next time I guess!  (I ended up doing a layer of acrylic paint, a layer of paint mixed with glue, and then a layer of gloss black acrylic paint… all of those paint layers smoothed out the roughness of the paper mache pretty well.)
  9. Next I mixed some copper and some gold acrylic paint, and painted the ears of the mask and around the eyes.
  10. Then I punched the hole for the earring, painted the inside of the hole (and the back of the ear where some of the paper had been exposed during the punch) with black paint, and then painted the whole thing with a layer of clear gloss varnish. Despite the fact that glossy finishes show off imperfections more -I really did like the look of the glossy paint when it was wet more so than the dry matte finish, so I wanted to get that shine back.


I loved the look of an earring in the Anubis’ ear, so I looked around all over the place for a chunky cool bold gold ring to make into an earring.  I really couldn’t find anything that appealed to me that was also … well.. cheap.  I found packages of golden-tone rings for chain mail – but I didn’t really need 100 Anubis earrings! I found packages of golden ‘wedding’ rings for wedding favours – but again, I didn’t need 50 rings either.

I ended up finding a curved key holder that vaguely resembled a curved barbell earring – but it was silver-tone! One coat on either side of the key ring with some golden spray paint (appropriate for metal) and I’ve got a golden Anubis earring!

The key ring works by unscrewing one of the two balls, passing the ring through the ear-hole, and screwing the ball back on again. (Just like a curved barbell.


Finally, for the mask I needed to attach the elastic to wear the mask, and lining the inside of the mask with felt.

The inside of the mask filled with black felt to make wearing more comfortable. I used clear-drying glue, but you can see a spot of white through the felt while the glue was still wet.

2 comments on “Anubis – Mask

  1. […] try some photos again with it… I just need to find a photographer to help me out! *hint hint* Read the full post about the mask […]

  2. […] Read the full post about making the mask here.  […]

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