other crafts

Gold mask

This card mask has been floating around my craft room for an absolute age, waiting for the right idea to come along. My first thought was to create a green-man-styled mask with lots of foliage, but that never got past the thinking about stage, though I still think it could work nicely, especially now I have the Cricut for cutting out lots of leaves. I may have to pick up another mask blank and give that a go.

The idea for this design started when I was peeling acrylic paint off my palette — I’d thought about using acrylic skins in mixed media pieces before, but never got around to actually doing it. I knew I wouldn’t have enough for the whole mask so I divided it in two on the diagonal and filled one half with the paint scraps and painted the other half gold.

Note: the choice of palette can make a huge difference when it comes to peeling off the skins — some palettes I’ve had have been absolutely horrible to clean. The last time I placed an order with Jackson’s (a brilliant UK art supplies company), on a whim, I added an Art Advantage non-stick palette to the order and I am so happy I did. It’s a nice size to work with, the paint just peels off and any bits left over can be quickly removed with a scraper or old credit card.

I wanted a bit of texture or something on the gold side, so I covered it in DecoArt crackle glaze. You don’t have to be eagle-eyed to notice a distinct lack of crackles on the mask though. Other than a few tiny ones at the corner of the eye hole, absolutely nothing. I don’t know what went wrong, I didn’t skimp on the glaze, I had some areas thicker than other for variety, and I left it to dry naturally. Nothing. I had even tested it beforehand by smearing a bit on some paint on my cleanup paper and that came up with some nice fine crackles. On the mask though, it just looked like I’d done a rubbish job of varnishing it… A layer of gloss varnish evened it out somewhat. And a layer of matt varnish on the other side added to the contrast.

It needed a little something to complete it. I spent too much time going through my bits and bobs to find the right thing — balancing half pearls on a curved varnished surface is not the easiest thing to do — before eventually deciding that this simple single square faux druzy was perfect; it even echoes the colours of the acrylic skins.

I experimented with adding ribbon ties, but wasn’t totally happy with them and I wasn’t planning on wearing the mask anyway. Then I remembered I had a couple of gold tassels left over from an old Craft Box subscription, actually managed to find them quickly, and then glued them over the tie holes.

Once it was all finished I just had to work out what to do with it — I didn’t want it to just end up floating around my craft room again. After a bit of searching (no, I don’t want to buy hangers for COVID face masks thank you), I found a basic design and made my own version from a piece of an old wire coat hanger (really thought I had thrown all of those out long ago) and used some shrink tubing (my other half does electronics so I got to raid his stash this time) to cushion the ends. So now it’s safely hung up on the shelves beside my craft desk.

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