-So how do i buy a mask?
I make my masks in small editions aka number of copies i will make, one design ( sculpt ) at a time. The current design will have a limited number of Do It Yourself ( DIY) blanks and finished masks made. The best thing to do is keep an eye on my social media for new designs and announcements on when they will be for sale:
- Once a new mask design is created I will post a pre-order date on social media. This is when the pre-order will be live and orders can be placed.
- Once the pre-order opens, a certain amount of blank masks are made available. There may be another pre-order for the same design available later once i fulfill the orders for the first round but try to get in on the first one if you can! After a round or two of pre-orders i usually offer a few batches of ready-to-ship blanks of the current design. After that has run it's course I move on to the next design and discontinue this one.
- Usually it will take 4-8 weeks to create all of the masks for a pre-order batch. I usually keep within that estimated time but there is a possibility that it may go longer due to unforseen events ( illness, emergency, schedule). However, I always fulfill my obligations on pre-orders. If you choose to participate in a mask pre-order, please be prepared to wait. You will be able to check in on the status of the current pre-order production by checking in the news section of my shop.
I will also produce finished, ready to wear, one of a kind painted FINISHED versions of the current mask design. They are available in small numbers every few weeks. They are posted for sale as they are completed. I try to post a heads up on upcoming finished masks a day or two before they are put into the store. I post on twitter, tumblr and instagram under @missmonstermel ( links are above).
Once the DIY edition has sold out and finished masks have run their course, i retire the sculpt and move on to a new mask idea. I do this because these masks are produced one at a time by one person and it's easy to get burned out producing one design for too long. These are art pieces and having a low number of each design will help the masks retain value for the buyer while allowing me to stay excited about making masks. A new design is introduced every few months!
When i have a batch of finished, ready to wear masks ready i will post a heads up on when they will be in the shop on my Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter or Instagram!
Masks are only available during the time a pre-order is open or when a finished and painted mask is listed on ebay or in this shop. If the listing says SOLD OUT the mask is not available for purchase at that time. Please follow one of the social media links above to get a heads up on when a new mask will be available.
- Well if all the older masks are sold out, why do you keep them up in the store?
I like people to have a gallery of older designs to look through! Masks are arranged in the mask category from newest to oldest. Since i post in so many places and make so many varieties of work, it can be hard to see all my mask designs in one place without scrolling through years of posts on tumblr or facebook. You can see a bunch of my old mask work on deviantart though i am no longer active there.
- Will you tell me the exact time/day/etc of when you are going to list X mask? Can you reserve/paint one just for me?
When i post about an upcoming pre-order on my social media outlets, i will include exactly what day and time it will be opened ( time is listed USA PACIFIC TIME). If I'm going to post a few of the finished masks, i usually announce the day before.
If you want to have a heads up on future mask design editions please follow my Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter or Instagram or watch the store's shop update page for news, release dates and progress pics. New mask sculpts come out every few months!
I cannot reserve pieces or do special work. I am a small business but please understand that there are a lot of other customers! If i made exceptions for everyone, I would go crazy (crazier). I can no longer reply to folks who ask for this, please don't take a lack of reply personally!
- My mask is too thick/thin! I can't use it!
- There is no industry standard when it comes to urethane mask thickness. Some makers make paper thin masks in the interest of making the piece very light so that it can be added to without becoming overly heavy, sometimes with the knowledge that the buyer may decide to reinforce it. Some make theirs thicker to make them more durable and less prone to warping/cracking. Design and detail deepness also factors into how thick a mask needs to be. I try to find a balance between the two depending on the mask's design. If a mask has a thin spot, this is not considered a flaw or something that makes the mask damaged or unusable. A mask being thicker/thinner than another maker's mask does not indicate better/poorer quality- it is simply the preference of the maker vs. preference of the individual customer. We cannot predict your preference. If it is too thin for your liking, add lightweight putty to the inside spots you want to be thicker. If it is too thick, you can dremel the inside to make the mask walls thinner.
- My mask has grey spots on the inside of it...what is that?
- Sometimes low spots in the sculpt can come out thinner than the rest of the mask and will be patched with lightweight , strong putty. There is nothing wrong with your mask, you will be able to finish and wear it just fine!
- Can i wear glasses with your masks?
Not really. The mask will not allow for room and even if they did they would press into your glasses since some of the weight is usually rested on the nose or forehead bridge or your temples will be touching the sides of the mask. You may be able to wear glasses with my lower face covering half masks but that is still slim. I do not have plans to design a mask for glasses. Sorry!
- Will you sculpt me my mask idea? Will you sculpt a mask from ( movie/video game/pokemon/pop culture)?
I'm not open for commissions and I'm not really interested in making work that's not my own thing. There are plenty of other makers who can fabricate custom cosplay items for you, please give them your business! Many of them are on etsy!
-What are they made of? What comes with buying a finished mask?
These masks are cast in urethane which is basically a type of plastic! It is just slightly flexible, just enough not to snap when a little pressure is applied.
Finished masks will have elastic straps attached and soft foam glued to the inside. Buyers may need to add or subtract this foam to get a better fit. A perfect fit is not guaranteed! Masks with "black out" eyes can be seen through but WILL have darkened vision. Please wear in well lit environments to prevent you from falling on your face/ass. More detailed information is posted in the mask listing themselves.
If your finished mask smells a little funky it is because i use industrial strength NON-TOXIC hot glue to attach straps and foam. This will go away. Put a few dryer sheets in the mask to get it smelling just the way you like!
BLANK DIY ( Do It Yourself) MASKS:
BLANK masks are introduced first as a small pre-order to fund the cost and labor of creating molds. People pre-pay for a mask and once the molds are built, i pour the pre-order masks and mail them out. This whole process usually takes a few weeks. After the pre-order is fulfilled, batches of ready to ship BLANK masks are offered for purchase as they are made or I may just open for another pre-order. I usually offer them every week or every other week. These will have a limited number produced overall.
*** I really need to stress the fact that blank masks will take work to finish! You will need to use a rotary tool to knock down the sharp or thick flashing edges, small bubble holes may need to be filled, the mask will need to be washed with dish soap and maybe even lightly sanded before primer is applied. A lot of work goes into a mask just to take from fresh from the mold to ready to paint! These are not ready to paint right out of the box. Please make sure you are comfortable with this before you buy. ***
FINISHING YOUR BLANK + PATCHING PIN HOLES:
-These are produced one at a time in my own studio and there will be some imperfections in the blank raw casts. The buyer will need to sand/remove the flash edges themselves. There may be minor air bubbles that can be patched. You can use apoxie clay, plumbers putty or green stuff! Most epoxy putties will work.
-A plastic nipper, a rasp , sandpaper or a dremel can be used to refine edges.
-Buyer can chose to reinforce their mask by adding lightweight putty or epoxy on the back.
-Buyer should add foam to the inside of the mask to customize the fit.
-Elastic straps can be attached with high heat hot glue, epoxy glue or other strong adhesive. Clamp while curing /drying to secure the bond better. Score ( roughen) the inside mask's surface where you will be attaching the straps so everything will stick better! Have the strap go across the widest part of your head and be sure to account for the elastic's stretch when measuring the length of the strap.
Here is a small example of using heat and an exacto for cutting part of the mask:
Some craft/paint/kit building knowledge is recommended. I cannot provide build help beyond the info included here. Please do not purchase an unfinished mask if you do not know what to do to complete it.
-Please be sure to provide the correct address when placing your order, all orders will be shipped to the address I'm provided with. No exceptions, sorry!
-There are no refunds on pre-orders. Please do not buy a mask if this is an issue or if you are not comfortable with waiting.
-You may want to brush some rubbing alcohol on the DIY mask before painting. This will get rid of any lingering mold release that can make painting difficult. Applying a spray primer before painting will also help paint stick to the surface better.
I cannot provide build help beyond the info provided here and in listings!
-How do i paint blank masks?
Once all of the sanding/finishing is complete and you have washed or wiped the mask surface, lay down a coat of spray primer before painting. Spray primer or automotive primer can be found at hardware stores in the paint department as well as craft shops. This will help paint stick to the surface of the mask. You can usually buy primer in black, grey or white to provide an appropriate color base to work off of. You can then use a variety of techniques to paint the mask- craft acrylic works well, airbrushed or even spray paints can also work depending on the design you want. You can even use alcohol based markers to create designs! If you are doing graphic patterns or lines, it helps to lay down some guiding lines on the primed surface of the mask with colored pencil before tackling the paint application. Once the paint is complete, allow it to dry and then hit the mask with a few coats of clear acrylic spray- you can use gloss, matte or satin finish! Let everything dry for awhile before wearing the mask!
Again, i cannot provide much more help on finishing a mask beyond what is written here! Please do not message the shop about this!
- Your finished, ready to wear mask includes an adjustable sliding elastic strap with loops attached to the mask itself in case you prefer to replace with your own straps.
- Finished masks are painted, sealed and ready for wear. The inside will have foam pieces to help with fit and comfort. Trim the foam ( or add more) to desired, customized fit. A perfect fit is not guaranteed! All masks will have a level of small discomfort or inconvenience, it is just the nature of strapping a big chunk of material to your face. Please be realistic. If you expect the mask to feel like you are wearing nothing, these may not be for you.
- There will be slight variations between each mask due to the hand made nature.
- If a finished mask gets dirty or scuffed, wipe with a moist cloth. Do not use rubbing alcohol or anything solvent based to clean the front of a painted mask. It will rub off the clear coat and the paint! Please treat these masks with care to prevent the paint from being worn off! I cannot take responsibility for damaged masks after purchase, it is the buyers duty to take care of their piece.
If your BLANK mask is a little tight you can use heat to shape it. You can also adjust any warping due to heat exposure. The oven method is the fastest but please be mindful that over heated urethane could off-gas some fumes and this isn't something you want to do often in an oven meant for food! Open all your windows! Warm the mask in an oven ( low temp setting around 170 degrees, place on a cookie sheet and only heat for 4-7 minutes) Shape while the urethane is warm, once it is cool it will stay in place ( dunk in cold water to accelerate cooling) You can prop it on an unturned bowl or some sort of sturdy object that has the width you desire while it cools. You can also warm masks by immersing in hot water or using a heat gun or hair dryer, applying heat to the front and back. If all else fails and you want the mask wider, you can sand out some of the interior with a dremel+ drum sanding attachment. Please use common sense when using heat, i cannot accept responsibility if you damage your mask or sustain injury while heating. Be careful, kids!
To heat shape FINISHED masks i recommend using a heat gun or hair dryer on the back to warm, so that the paint job on the front is not damaged. Heat until the urethane is pliable and gently pry open to make the mask wider. Place warm mask on a surface that will hold it open until cooled- an upturned bowl, rolled up clothing, etc. PLEASE be careful!
Taking care of your mask:
Please store these masks out of super hot direct sunlight so it doesn't become hot and soft then sag or warp! Just like many urethanes, they are sensitive to heat and can buckle under their own weight when softened. If it does, you can shape it back to normal using the methods described above. Display them on the wall by their straps or attach a loop to the top to hang on a nail. If you let your mask sit on it's sides or "cheeks" , they may settle and curve in. Try to store it with some support. These masks are durable and this may make them sound as fragile as glass but with a little care and proper display/storage, they will last you a very long time!
WAIT TIMES ON PRE-ORDERS:
I can't stress this enough: If you decide to purchase a pre-order product you must be ready to wait. The estimated wait times are clearly stated in mask listings. Please do not message the shop to ask when your mask will ship before the time has passed or before checking the store news page to see if there are delays! Pretty please , checking in stresses me out big time!
I realize that i cannot control what people do with my masks but i can at least state some boundaries:
-Feel free to resell blank masks you purchased from me that you have painted and finished ! Feel free to resell any finished or unfinished masks you have purchased from me. Charge whatever you want, if you make a profit that's great. I only ask for the courtesy of crediting me for the original sculpt in the posting or store listing. Feel free to buy my masks second hand from people who purchased them from me originally.
- Feel free to use the mask for a youtube/disguise persona - this is a question I have been getting a lot lately. I only ask that you perhaps credit me as the mask maker somewhere in the video's description and please not create merchandise based around that design. Please refrain from creating merchandise to sell that uses the mask design.
-If you use a mask base of mine for a portfolio piece posted online or in print for your professional individual or company/commission promotion i must insist that i get a courtesy credit for the base sculpt. Hobby is one thing, but company/pros are another- crediting others is a basic professional courtesy. Using others work to misrepresent skill level or originality is a tactic seen often in amateurs who want to appear professional... and it's not super cool.
-Please do not recast these or remake/mimic my current or older designs for your own profit. Make rad masks that YOU designed!
-Feel free to create original characters around my mask designs! Make art of them, go for it! I would love to see the artwork! :)
I do not do custom work. Being a DJ, in a band or a themed restaurant owner, etc will not change this.
These masks are pieces of art made for light costuming and display. They should never be used in place of safety equipment or as protection. Do not use this as a welding/metal working mask. Do not use this as a hockey/airsoft/paintball mask. Use common sense, please. I would not recommend this as a piece to use for any LARP that may result in any blows to the face. I will not be responsible for any injuries sustained or damage to your mask because of bad ideas!
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