Note: I will be posting build updates at the bottom!
Because of the nature of this design, i thought i would have a little mercy and create a mini tutorial/guide to help with builds. PLEASE , oh please pleeeease do not take this as an opportunity to email me for help on projects- i'm just providing what i have here and that is all. I have to be a hardass about it because my time is really valuable to me and i don't want anyone to get angry because they got the wrong idea because im sharing this information. There is not enough time in my day to help every person who asks!
This is a somewhat advanced build and i strongly encourage beginner builders to start with something easier or to go into this ready to learn and maybe make mistakes.
Here is a great place to learn about prop builds: http://www.therpf.com/
Adafruit also has a ton of tutorials if you want to light the thing, install a voice changer, etc. Dig around that whole site but the Halloween tag is nice: https://blog.adafruit.com/category/halloween/
I wanted to make the mask proportionate to a human body which means it's a tight fit, especially if you want to make the jaw hinged. I also had to engineer the helmet so that it can be put on while still encasing the wearer in the back paneling. There are other ways to do this but this is what worked for me.
The buyer can expand the jaw and head with heat or even remove/modify parts. For example i was thinking that to make a looser head, one could remove the rounded jaw parts below the ears, attach them to the cast lower jaw , expand that with heat and make one large jaw that is removable and re-attachable. Perhaps with magnets? Buyers could also chop out parts and use elastic to re-attach it inside so the mask "expands" when you put it on? There are many ways to approach this!
HOW THE MASK SITS ON THE HEAD: The mask will sit angled down a bit on the wearer's head, not straight out!
The buyer may also need to do some patching/reinforcing with lightweight putty or fiberglass inside the mask after the mask is fitted to their head to make sure the mask doesn't warp once it is finished. The buyer may also need to dremel the inside parts to make a looser fit- this is going to be a PROJECT.
So here we go!
I mounted the soft neoprene back panel to a balaclava ( head cover, like a ninja hood. You can buy them on amazon.com. This will hide your face when you open the mouth and will help sweat not get in your eyes) and attached magnets so that the rigid mask "clips" in with the rigid back panel attaching via corresponding magnets inside of it. Please excuse how quick and dirty this build was!
Here is the inside of the mask with the hinges outlined. I used 1/4" chicago screws to make the pivot for the hinges. Angle the elastic so that it attaches to the jaw so that it can have the right "snap". You may need to take a dremel and thin out the hinges if there is not enough room in the mask for your face!
I would also like to thank Crystal Grant of Crystumes immensely for letting me use her hinges as a base to work from. Please check out her work here: https://www.facebook.com/Crystumes/?pnref=lhc
She does not sell hinges right now - there are sellers on etsy who do!
You can find a lot of help and info on hinging masks by googling:
The chin/underjaw is a u shaped panel made from flexible neoprene that I split in half and added snaps to. When i put the mask on, i unsnap the chin , pull the mask on, open the jaw and stick my own chin in- then snap it closed once it's snug. Dont' forget to leave room for the balaclava when you are mounting the soft piece to the jaw. I made the raw cast of the panel large so that it can be trimmed down as needed. You can probably add elastic or a fabric piece inside that goes across the split chin to snap or magnet closed. It just needs to be firm enough so that your chin can press it down to move the jaw without it flexing TOO much and doing nothing.
I also installed a tiny fan on the inside of the mask so that air blows on my face! You will want to vent part of the head, the design is made so that you can drill out vents and vision while still hiding it. I glue sections of screen from a door behind the holes to hide things while still allowing air to pass through.
These are easy to make. I mount them on door screening into the mask. I used smaller ones in the front so i can see around them. Vision is also through lines drilled in the snout/nostril/top nose. The back eyes aren't really seen through anyway so i installed big ones. A friend suggested using goggle lenses in the front eyes so you can see through them- i might try that!
2 part clear epoxy, clear round cabochon and some flashy clear wrapping plastic. You can use nail foil, reflective paper...whatever will look cool behind the clear cab!
Blorp out even amounts of the epoxy!
Slap the mixture on the back of the cabochon. Try not to get it over the edge like i did! ( was taking picture and holding cab, oops) If you lecture me about having dirty nails i will forever think you are an idiot.
Press it down on your clear wrapping plastic!
Press it HARD to remove air bubbles!
Let it cure! You might not be able to get all the bubbles out but try your best!
Trim it! Silently scold myself for using fabric scissors on trimming epoxy. Whatever!
If you back it with black, it helps the iridescent effect flash a bit more! So lets do that.
Add more epoxy!
Mash it onto some black fabric! I put it on a metal table so it would come right off once cured- glue will seep through fabric.
I did a garbage job on this but you get the idea!
Once it's cured, pop it off with a creepy rusty knife.
Trim it up! The fabric backing will allow you to hot glue the eye on a screen or whatever you want!
Chicago Screws: https://www.amazon.com/Tandy-Leather-Nickel-Chicago-1290-02/dp/B001E5XSS6/
Balaclava hood: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00I4OCDTK
Mask fans: https://www.etsy.com/listing/176209886/fan-kits
I tried out the suit at Son of Monsterpalooza and the fan inside the mask made things difficult in the vision department- especially in a chaotic, darker indoor environment like a crowded convention. I can see out of the front eyes but it causes a lot of disorientation with prolonged wear and made it hard for me to balance myself since i was looking out one eye or another with the middle of my vision blocked by the fan. Ok for a short bit but after 15 minutes my eyes were not happy! Pushy indoor crowds already make me anxious so having my head wrapped in a hot plastic bucket that impaired my senses didn't help, haha!
While it is a nice luxury, when it's too hot the fan doesnt really do much so i removed it and widened the vents for better vision. A HUGE difference! I have a smaller fan i could use but that's even less effective. Oh well....less cords to fuss with anyway!
I will lightly sand where the paint flared up thanks to dremeling and will paint the white plastic inside vents black to hide them...
I wanted to post this update so people can try this out if they want to avoid falling on their face or stepping on small children in a crowd!
I also replaced the first set of eyes with sunglasses lenses! Easier to see!
Troubleshooting ( rough draft)
- My jaw won't move fluidly!
.... Try to adjust the angle of the elastic you use to control the jaw. Look closely at how i angled it. I had issues until a friend suggested that!
- It's too tight!
... If the mask wont fit even after heat expanding it, you may have to dremel or carve out the inside of your helmet to get it to fit right. One of the toughest parts about making masks is that everyone's head is different! I've been looking at buying one of these lovelies: https://www.dremel.com/en_US/products/-/show-product/tools/8050-micro
You can always cut the helmet apart some more to realign it and perhaps re-attach with elastics so that it fits on you better and can expand as you put it on! I wasn't kidding when i said this would be a PROJECT! But you can do it, i believe in you!
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