Do you want to know how to make a green man mask? Well, today I will show you! 🙂
The “green man” is a sculpture or a painting made from leaves. You’ll often find architectural ornaments like this on the walls of european churches. This symbol exists since the middle ages and is found in many cultures around the world. It is often linked to natural deities. The green man is interpreted as a symbol of rebirth, nature and the cycle of growth each spring. In many may day celebrations (especially in Great Britain) people will dress up as a green man in parades and festivals.
I’m a fan of these old customs and the mythology that surrounds it, and I love all the elaborate designs of the green man masks. I’ve often admired beautiful green man masks that are made of leather. I’ve never worked with leather as a crafting material, so I tried to replicate a green man mask with polymer clay. I used Fimo, (available here*) but you can also use Sculpey (available here*).
polymer clay (available here*)
paper mache mask
acrylic paint (available here*)
You don’t have to spend a lot of money on this craft. The materials are quite cheap. You will need a paper mache half mask. (Don’t use one made of plastic!) You can get one in most craft supply stores for 2-3 $. For the leaves I’ve used about 2-3 blocks of polymer clay (available here*). It doesn’t really matter what color they are, since you are going to paint over it. To color the leaves, I’ve used acrylic paints. (available here*).
How to make a Green Man Mask
1. Knead the polymer clay thoroughly and roll it out flat. The rolled out polymer clay should be about 3 mm thick (or 0,1 inches). You can use leftover polymer clay from other craft projects.
2. I sketched out the shape of an oak leaf on a piece of paper, and tried to replicate it with a toothpick on the polymer clay. Cut out the shape with a sharp knife. You’ll need a few different leaf-sizes for your mask. I used some longer ones for the areas above and under the eyes.
3. Draw little details such as veins with your toothpick and smooth out the surface. Try to bend the edges between your fingers, to give the leaf an interesting shape.
4. Press your leaves gently onto the mask. I placed the mask on top of a flower pot, to prevent the leaves from being “bended” at the edge of the mask. Bake the polymer clay in the oven according to what it says on the package. (That’s why a plastic mask wouldn’t be a good idea.)
5. After the fimo is hardened, you can use a little white glue in the gaps between the mask and the leaves. Distribute it with a toothpick.
6. When the glue has dried, you can apply a base color to your mask. There is a special varnish you can use on polymer clay. I was out of it at the time, so I just used some acrylic paint (available here*) and it worked out fine.
(Update: Three years later and my green man mask still looks great.)
7. Draw little details on your leaves like highlights and shadows with acrylic paint in shades of green, brown and yellow. I used a little sponge to smudge out the paint. Concentrate brighter colors in the middle part and darker colors on the outer parts of the leaf. If you want, you can finish it off with a coat of spray paint.
And that’s it! 🙂 I don’t wear my mask, but use it as decoration and I really love how it turned out.
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