How to Make a Goalie Mask

By Kirk Maltbee

Hockey goalies are a rare breed. Not everyone is willing to routinely step in front of a small frozen puck that can be shot at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour. Luckily, goalies are equipped with masks that help protect their heads, necks and faces—something that was unheard of in hockey until player Jacques Plante donned a homemade mask in the 1950s. Although DIY masks have been banned in league and professional play, and are not recommended for personal use, many old-school aficionados still make the fiberglass masks of yesteryear.

Step 1

Mix the Plaster of Paris (gypsona can be used in lieu of the plaster if necessary) according to the package's instructions to create a mold of your subject’s face. Wet your subject's face to prevent the plaster from sticking to the skin, then apply the plaster with a craft stick. If you are casting your own face, you may need help from a friend in order to accurately create the mold. Keep the plaster on your subject's face until it dries. Remove the plaster.

Step 2

Use generous amounts of modeling clay to create more specific features of the mask, such as brow lines and the chin drop, which is the portion of the mask that covers the mouth and juts downward to cover the chin. Shape the mask according to your preferences.

Step 3

Cut several pieces of fiberglass and lay the pieces horizontally across the mask, using resin to wet the strips. The resin will help the fiberglass adhere to the surface of the mask. Cover the mask completely. Take care not to apply too much resin; it will add additional weight and negatively affect the mask's strength. Allow to dry completely.

Step 4

Use a pencil to mark places for the eyes, nose, strap and ventilation holes. Make sure your holes are even with one another on each side of the mask. Cut the holes with an electric drill, and use the rotary tool to smooth away the interior edges of the holes.

Step 5

Sand the entirety of the mask, first with rough grit paper to remove any burrs or imperfections on the mask's surface, and then with fine grit paper to “polish” the mask. Paint or clear-coat the mask as desired.

Step 6

Apply self-adhesive padding to impact areas inside the mask, mainly the chin and forehead areas, if the mask will be functional. Also attach a back plate or harness to strap the mask to the head.

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