The flamingo's beak is a very distinguishing characteristic. According to the San Diego Zoo, the abrupt bend halfway along the beak allows flamingos to feed comfortably on algae and small invertebrates while standing in shallow water with their head upside down. The key to a great flamingo costume is a convincing beak, appropriately shaped and colored. Cardboard and papier mache make for a sturdy, lightweight beak.
Things You'll Need
- Masquerade-Style Half Mask
- Pink Feathers
- White, Pink And Black Acrylic Paint
- Posterboard Or Other Light Cardboard
- Masking Tape
Cut three pieces from the posterboard in order to create a three dimensional beak: two sides and a bottom. The sides should be shaped like a lopsided boomerang, with one shorter, tapered side and one longer, blunt side. Cut one of the sides, then use it as the template for the other so that they match. The bottom piece should be a long, narrow triangle. Make the bottom a bit longer than the sides so that it can be cut to fit later.
Tape the sides together along the top edge.
Tape the other edge of each side to one edge of the bottom triangle, resulting in a hollow beak with an open base.
Hold the beak over the nose of the half mask, and trim the beak bit by bit until it fits well on the mask. Then tape the beak into place on the mask.
Trim the bottom edge of the mask so that it curves up to meet the corners of the beak.
Mix a papier mache paste of one part flour to two parts water.
Rip the newspaper into small pieces, approximately 2 inches square, and dip them in the papier mache paste. Use them to cover the joints where the pieces of the beak meet, and where the beak meets the mask.
Add papier mache to the sides of the beak to make it more rounded. Allow to dry overnight.
Paint the whole mask and beak white to cover the newsprint. Allow to dry.
Paint the mask and beak pink. When dry, apply a second coat of pink paint if it seems necessary.
Paint a 2-inch long section of black at the tip of the beak.
With black paint or a permanent marker, draw the line between the top and bottom halves of the beak, using a picture of a flamingo as your model. Allow to dry.
Add pink feathers to the temples of the mask. Use larger feathers at the outer edges, then smaller feathers as you get closer to the eyes. Overlap smaller feathers on top of larger feathers.
Ripping the newspaper rather than cutting it into strips with scissors results in a smoother surface.
Grace Grimm has been a professional writer since 2008. Her work on birding and the environment has appeared in "The Jack Pine Warbler: The Magazine of Michigan Audubon," "The Pine Press" and on numerous websites. She is an ecologist with a bachelor's degree in zoology and a master's degree in conservation biology.