Masks for masquerade ball follow no strict rules for how to design a mask, nor the final shape of your mask designs. Having said this, there are some popular shapes for masquerade ball masks as follows:
Eyes only Mask: A masquerade ball mask shape that only goes over the eyes. It is not much more than a frame for the eyes, resembling a twin set of figure eight symbols.
Half Mask: There is a lot of variety with this shape, but within this the mask typically spans most of the forehead, eyes and nose.
Face shaped Mask: This mask spans the entire face. Sometimes there will be an open space for the mouth is often open, but many masqueraders prefer a mysterious, cover-all approach to enhance the mystery.
Head Mask: Talk about cover-all, this shape really does cover all. Encompassing the whole head, this mask shape gives the wearer an opportunity to showcase mask designs that include usually features on top of the face or at the back of the head that can also twine into the wearer’s costume.
The mask types above represent the basics. Some variations on shape that are a bit more complex and creative which you may want to consider include the following:
Asymmetry: One side of the mask extends lower (or higher) than the other side, giving the wearer a more edgy look. There are more ways to do this than can be easily counted.
Split mask: This shape is made of two separate pieces that join together at the eyes. An example of this would be two ovals sitting on the right and left cheeks that are merged together at the bridge of the nose, eyes and forehead.
Regardless of what level of coverage you decide to go with, a masquerade ball mask can be adapted from almost any geometrical shape: round, oval, rectangle, diamond, trapezoid, window, lattice. Name the shape, and chances are you can build that shape into your mask design.
If you’re unsure as to what kind of base shape you want to go with, try working out which overall shape suits your face best. You can do this by cutting a generic pair of eye-holes into a piece of inexpensive fabric, and experiment by holding it against your face in front of a mirror folded different ways to create different shapes.
A degree of consideration should also be given to what shape the eye-holes of your mask should be. Some of the possibilities are round, symmetrical almond shape, almond shape with the outer edges turned up, almond shape with the outer edges turned up, quarter moons facing up, and quarter moons facing down. Size and dimension possibilities vary greatly, so you may want to do the same 5 minute exercise in front of the mirror as per above with either fabric or paper to work out which specific eye-hole shape looks best.
Another important point with eye-holes: if you’re portraying a specific type of character with your mask, or idea that has an emotive quality, this absolutely needs to be reflected in the shape of the eye-holes. The design of your masks’ eyes will convey more about your assumed persona than the colours you wear, the general shape of the mask, the style of the lips, or anything else to do with your overall presentation.
Last but certainly not least, we come to the nose. Assuming that your basic mask shape covers part or all of the nose, it can be fun for the nose of your mask to extend beyond the natural contours of your nose. This can be a short pointy extension or the full-on plague doctor mask nose. Or even in the shape that imitates the nose of a particular animal if you feel like going feral for an evening.
When in doubt, bring it back to the concept: what do you want your mask to be based on (or convey to the other masqueraders)? Your chances of achieving the ‘wow’ factor with your masquerade ball mask will be significantly improved if the overall design (including the shape styling) aligns with the overall theme for your look.