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Creativity Unmasked!

Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013

Posted By Katie Wilber

It's not too late to create something awesome for Halloween. For us at Artist & Craftsman it's hard being around so many art supplies and not partaking in the creativity. 


Read below for how Deanna from our North Boston, Saugus store, created her mask from one of our paintable masks. Also check out a sampling of some of the ways our employees transformed their masks into amazing creations.


*NOTE: Not all blank mask styles are available in store and/or online. Click here for our online selection*


Things to think about when making your mask:

  • The ability to breathe, (making sure you have proper breathing holes is key)
  • The weight of the mask on your head, (you may not want it too heavy on your head)
  • Visibility, or making sure that you can see when you’re walking around.  

My masks always start with a sketch. I draw out what I want the mask to look like in three different ways: a front view, another is a side view or a three quarter view, and then a top view so I can get an understanding of what the form should look like as a 3-D object. It’s better to do this sketch in color so you know how to paint the mask when it’s finished. For this mask, I found a blank face mask from Artist & Craftsman that had the basic shape I was after in my sketch and one that fit my face properly. I bulked up layers of crumpled paper towels or crumpled pieces of masking tape, (you can also use newspaper or any other light material that you find), in strategic places to create desired facial shapes. I covered each mass with layers of masking tape to smooth out the bulks of paper towels, and to attach them to the mask surface. If the shape I made didn’t look right, I would edit the shape by carving or cutting into them; for instance, if the bridge of the nose felt too big, I would use a box cutter and carve out what I didn’t want. I would then cover the exposed paper towel or innards with more masking tape to prevent it from coming out or tearing.  Using these materials in this way allows me to sculpt unique shapes that change the surface and shape of the mask quickly, all while preventing the mask from getting too heavy, too quickly. It’s also pretty inexpensive, you don’t have to wait for a form to dry, and you don’t need terribly specialized tools.



Mask 2

At this point, you can paint it without doing anything more to it, but I like to get rid of all the lines that are left by the masking tape. For this mask, I covered the outside with a layer of Golden molding paste.  Doing this makes a great opportunity create a desired texture in the paste while it’s still wet, like a fur texture or wavy lines. It takes about a night to dry completely. I initially used Sculptamold, but the product became too heavy, so a lot of it had to come off. Once dry, I sanded the molding paste to a smoother finish. The remnants of the masking tape have disappeared, and I have a solid surface to paint on and beat up if I wanted to.


I know already what colors I will use to paint the mask from the sketch I did in the beginning. I use primarily Golden Fluid acrylics. Before painting, I cut out paper into the shapes I would use for the protrusions on the head and cheeks. Crescent moon shapes were ideal, specifically so they would pop up when I attached them correctly. I painted these first with initial coats of reddish, orange. I then cut translucent Sculpey in teeth shapes and baked the Sculpey at 275° F for 15 minutes in the oven. Then, I painted the rest of the mask with a coat of paynes gray and burnt umber before adhering all of the shapes. I used some Liquitex heavy gel to adhere the shapes on, and then proceeded to blend the shapes into the rest of the mask with layers of color. The Sculpey teeth were an added effect; they can be painted onto the mask with a paint brush or palette knife, but I wanted something extra. I painted the gums on to the mask and yellowed the teeth with a mixture of Golden matte medium with slight amounts of titanium white and Indian yellow hue.  Highlights and shadows were painted onto the facial features with, and I hit the whole mask with a mixture of iridescent bronze, iridescent gold, and mat medium. Golden gloss medium was added to the teeth after everything had dried. This gave the teeth a wet slimy look.


You can always create the foundation for the mask yourself with 14 gauge galvanized wire and masking tape, or even plaster. The combinations of materials are endless.






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Spotted! Artist & Craftsman Supply on Project Runway

Friday, Oct 11, 2013

Posted By Katie Wilber

We were surprised to see a familiar sight when watching Lifetime's reality fashion show, Project Runway last night.  


One of the finalists on the show is from Philadelphia and during her trip home the front of Artist & Craftsman Supply Philadelphia was shown!


Check out a couple screen captures below.


0 Comments | Posted in News

A Brief History of A&C – Philadelphia

Friday, Jul 26, 2013

Posted By Larry Adlerstein

A Brief History of Artist & Craftsman Supply

Philadelphia, PA, established 2007

By Larry Adlerstein, Founder & President of A&C




Philadelphia Store Manager & Northeast Manager.

”Over 10 years on the job at A&C and

I enjoy it now more than ever.

These people, the employees, and

our customers, are like a big family to me.

It’s been a pleasure getting to know all of them.”

Our Philly story is simple. Rob, our Cambridge manager, complained to me about housing costs in Boston. He said his wife, Jamie, wanted to start a family.


“Ok Rob, where do you want to move?”


Rob had visited Philly. Lots of people from New York & Boston were moving to the city of brotherly love. So we went to Philly, Rob to find his new home and me to open another Art Supply.


Rob’s family has grown and I’ve gotten six years older.



0 Comments | Posted in Notes From Larry

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