Fickle Face Masks by guest: Melissa Esplin

When my husband Chris asked me on our first date, he decided that we would do dinner and plaster face masks. Chris is unique. Making face masks is the antithesis of dinner and a movie, a super-memorable first date, and terribly difficult to do with eggs. You could call it successful in that we hooked up for the rest of forever, but the masks themselves were an utter disappointment. The root of the problem was plaster-impregnated gauze. All of the advice we found online said, "Start with plaster impregnated gauze...", but we couldn't find any. I decided that gauze and egg whites ought to work fine. The egg whites were supposed to harden just like they had on my hair before dance recitals. Negative. The night was a sticky, egg-drenched mess. We waited and waited. The eggs stayed syrup.


We have since switched out the egg whites for plaster of paris (found at Home Depot). Plaster is the best way to go, but you have to get the PERFECT consistency in order for it to work correctly. You also have to use gobs of Vaseline. After my last attempt I spent two hours crying in the shower trying to pry each little plaster chunk out of the few eyelashes I had left. Chris's latest outing (pictured above) was much the same, minus the crying. Miraculously, Chris managed to sacrifice his hair follicles to keep the mask intact. Chris assures me that it was not easy and hurt like crazy.


After making the masks and allowing them to dry, we slathered them in Vaseline and made positives (or Death Masks). I love the tangible reminder of our courtship, and it never fails to get conversation going with our living room guests.


Learn to make your own Fickle Face Masks with this tutorial.

For more tutorials and crafty home and baby ideas, please visit my blog, IS•LY at


Lyssa said...

We totally used to do this when we were kids! I cannot remember where we found the plaster impregnated gauze - I am pretty sure it was at a craft store, but I do remember it working very well and did not hurt. What a fun trip down memory lane and what a great first date!

Viewtiful_Justin said...

Very neat, despite being, at first, an utter failure. It looks like you snagged a cute partner for all of forever.

samantha hahn said...

I'm and art teacher and have done this a lot. One trick that will help you forgo eyelash pulling and vasoline all together is a thin layer of wet paper towel over your whole face. You can put the gauze on top. Also you can get plaster gauze from an art store and all you have to do is dip it in water. It's really easy to use. Try it!

deanna said...

that sounds like an awesome first date! my husband and i met as silly art school kids and had several dates that evolved into crazy art projects. Some of them were successes, but most were huge failures. No matter how it turned out, though, the collaboration process was super fun.

Sarah said...

That looks so fun---well, minus the missing eye lashes! :)


Melissa said...

Samantha, The thin paper towel is GENIUS! Thanks for the tip. I'll have to look harder for some plaster gauze.

Lauren said...

After putting Crisco or Vaseline on you face, use dental Alginate (what the dentists use to make mold of you teeth) for the mold. You get a very detailed mold. It's flexible, dries fast, and doesn't hurt when you remove it. Then put gauze dipped in plaster over it for support. This was the process we use in my college sculpture class for death masks and whatever else you want to make a mold of. I have molds of my hands in different positions.

Anonymous said...

I had a mask done on me the other day and I had no problems with it sticking to my face. We used plastic wrap for facial covering. One piece for the bridge of the nose and above, and one for below the nost and the neck. We didn't cover the nostrils so that the person could breath easy, and so we did the nose afterwards.

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