Off to a masquerade ball this New Year's Eve? There's something so romantic and mysterious about a veiled soirée, and the tradition dates back to the Venetian Carnevale— an indulgent, pre-Lent festival where medieval citizens would dress up in fantasy costumes with elaborately embellished masks. Unfortunately, the high price of these decorative disguises (and the cost of a plane ticket!) makes it difficult to own one. Luckily, you can design your very own veiled work of art on a minimal budget with the help of makeup. Creativity is key, so use our general directions and materials list as a starting point, then let your own artistic vision shine.
White or black plastic masks Available at your local craft store
Soft lead pencil
Art brushes and a pair of tweezers
Nail lacquer and clear topcoat
Elmer's glue and Super Glue
OPTIONAL: Fabric, ribbon, feathers—anything and everything you can use!
Remove the elastic string that comes with the mask so it doesn't get dirty. Use light pencil strokes to create a basic geometric design on your plastic mask. We're using a half mask (called the Columbina in Italian) so only half of our face is covered. Paint on your base colors with craft acrylic paint and art-store brushes. Be sure to cover the entire surface of the mask with an even coat of paint. Allow your mask to dry for 20 minutes.
Give your dried mask some Venetian-style pizazz! Apply nail lacquer over the acrylic for an enameled finish—no one will ever know the mask is plastic! Apply multiple coats until you're happy with the finish, and let the mask dry for 45 minutes.
No Venetian mask is complete without a healthy dose of sparkle. Adhere any glitzy decorations with Elmer's glue or clear nail polish. Using a pair of tweezers, we applied a few jewel-like gems over our argyle design for a medieval touch.
To take this mask from conventional to contemporary, apply dramatic, modern false lashes. We're using our favorite sets from the lash experts at Faux. Apply the strips just as you would on your own eye, but use Super Glue instead of lash adhesive for an extra secure hold.
Let the mask dry for a few hours. When you're ready to go, reattach the elastic string or tie your mask around your head with a ribbon. You're ready for the ball.