This project was originally intended for my University of Hawaii Art 101 class, but I realized that this could be used by other folks who would like to create a representation of their furry selves, but don't think they have any artistic talent. It's quite easy to do, and the only big problems I think one would encounter while doing this are trying to collect all the materials, and taking the time to actually do it. I'd reccomend taking a few hours each day to work on this, because I've found that if I worked more than 2 or 3 hours, I'd end up with a sore back and shoulders for the next day or two. I managed to finish this up in 2 1/2 weeks, but individual results may vary.
I don't take any responsibility for what might happen to you if you go through with this project. I have tried to make the instructions as clear as possible.
Excellent question. If you already have an image of your furry or animal self in your mind, by all means use that. For those who aren't sure which animal to do, go to the library and browse through an encyclopedia of animals or watch TV. Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel are good sources for animals. Pay attention to animal behavior and personalities. Are you intrigued by the social structure of the Wolf? The speed of the Cheetah? The playfulness of the Dolphin? Find an animal that you feel you would like to emulate (or feel like you have a connection with) and find pictures of it. Sketch them out on pieces of paper. These sketches will be very helpful when you actually set out to do the mask.
What you're trying to do is find a totem animal. You can find more info on totems by going to these sites:
Furry Lifestyle Webring: For websites of folx who know they have animal totems.
alt.lifestyle.furry: The newsgroup for those who have totem animals, feel that they were meant to be furry, and a whole bunch of others who feel the influence of animals in their lives. Please take a look at the FAQ for the newsgroup and lurk for at least a week before posting there, so you can get a feel for what our atmosphere is like.
A bunch of time, for one thing. :) Other than that, you will definitely need:
the type I used was low-fire and was in a 20-25 pound bag. I suppose any type of clay can be used, as long as it's mallable enough for you to work with. Ask your local craft store. I used 10 pounds of clay for my mask, but you may need more or less, depending on how big you need the mask to be.
everyone has access to old newspapers. I hope you won't have any trouble finding a lot of sheets of these.
Brown Paper Bags:
Brown paper bags will also be extremely helpful when you start layering your mask. I'll explain later in the instructions.
You use the paper towels as the final layer of your mask. It helps give your mask a smoother look.
Trust me, you'll be glad you have this when you attempt to remove your papier mache mask from the clay.
Papier Mache Paste:
This came in a powder form which I just added water to. Again, ask your local craft store for papier mache paste.
Acrylic paints, felt, feathers, pipe cleaners, fake fur, and other what have yous that you want to use to decorate your mask.
Gee...well, ok. Let's go...