People are always asking “how do I make a mask?” Here’s my step-by-step guide including links to where you can obtain the necessary supplies online.
I am writing this as a general how-to, but not including if you want to sculpt your own mask. I have never done it, its easier to buy blanks…..as with any type of guide, I am sure others have their own ways to do stuff, and it goes without saying to be careful with tools, if you take out an eye, it is not my fault. Some may not agree with some of the things contained herein and have their own way of doing things, and that’s great, write your own damn faq then.
1. Prep the mask: This includes cutting the eyes, the nose, mouth and earholes if desired as well as slitting the back. If the eyes are not sculpted in, draw them on the surface of the mask before you cut. It is better to have made them too small than too big, adding material is a royal pain. Most masks have some kind of line on the back where it is to be slit for wearability. Using a sharp scissors, cut up to the desired height, then use a leather hole punch to make a hole at the top. DO NOT try to use a regular hole punch, it won’t work and you’ll bend it. You can pickup leather hole punches for around 7.00 at Walmart in the crafts section or online.
http://www.dickblick.com/zz605/09/?wmcp ... ther+Punch
At this point, you can also dremmel the surface of the mask to remove imperfections, bubbles, and latex pimples. Use the white circle buffer attachment and GO SLOWLY. As with the eyes, its much easier to take away than it is to add on. I prefer the model I have, which is a variable speed that you control. That way you can put it on a slow setting for detail work, or a high setting if the mask has a seam (latex in a line from the bottom of the neck which goes from under one ear to the other.)
Although it is not 100% necessary to make sure the paint sticks, you can also clean off the surface of the mask with citrus cleaner. For some reason I have found that the citrus scented stuff works the best.
Paint: Mask paint is made of liquid latex mixed with pigment. You can make your own, or you can buy it. It is more expensive to purchase pre-made paint, but less of a pain. Get some white and some dark flesh. As with anything, you pay more per ounce if you get a smaller bottle.
http://www.monstermakers.com/product/mo ... olors.html
Airbrush: Masks look best when the paint is applied with an airbrush. You can use spongebrushes to put it on, but believe me, latex paint gets very sticky very fast, so I use the airbrush. The one I prefer to use is the paasche H external mix. For basecoating with white or flesh, I generally use around 90psi on my air compressor (which you will also need to buy, just make sure you have some way to adjust the pressure output.) If you decide to add weathering with the airbrush, crank the pressure back a bit, you want it to be subtle, not like Myers meets Marilyn Manson.
http://www.dickblick.com/zz250/05b/?wmc ... rbrush+Set
Hair: Simply put, get whatever you think looks the best. Camel top is the “industry “ standard, and what is found on the regular warlocks.
A Blank Mask: Most makers will sell you a blank, some will not. Its their choice. Some do not because a blank can be used to make a new mold (recasting.) You can get some blanks from Andrew (http://www.jackintheboxmasks.com), different ones come up on ebay from time to time, or you can just email makers and ask them. Since you are most likely a new mask collector/maker, I’ll go ahead and save you the trouble or sending an email. DON’T BOTHER ASKING JUSTIN, TERRY, NIK, BOOGEMNANMASKS, ETC. FOR A BLANK OF AN EXPENSIVE MASK THEY ARE CURRENTLY PRODUCING. Unless you know them personally, ya ain’t getting one.
Sponge brushes, artist’s charcoal, and acrylic paint: I generally get all 3 at Wal-Mart, but they can be found at Hobby Lobby. Brand, etc. is irrelevant.
Crappy Clothes: WARNING: Latex does not come out of fabric. End of story.
Patience: I’ll throw this out there right away. Your first mask will not come close to looking like work from any professional maskmaker. We’ve been doing this for years, and it takes a lot of trial and error. If you wanna practice, pick up a crappy DP chalkface before you test your new skills on a higher quality blank.
2. Painting the mask: There are many different ways to do this as well, this is the way I do it. First, make sure you have something to place the mask on which will not tip over while you’re painting. Generally whatever you use to display your masks works fine.
Depending on what mask you want to paint, start with either a flesh or white basecoat. For H1 and H2, start with flesh. Use the #5 needle and adjust it so the paint comes out smoothly. To test, spray some on your hand, don’t worry it will come off. For H1, hit the mask with flesh on the neck, behind the ears, the (eventual) sideburn lines, and other spots if you want the mask to have more flesh peeking through. Let the paint dry for about 5-10 minutes before you switch to white. Spray the white on the mask, making sure to make light, even coats. If the paint pools, you’re gonna have a very shiny spot on your mask. Make sure to paint any part of the mask which will not be covered by the hair, as unpainted latex will “rust,” more quickly than painted latex. Don’t worry about painting over your first coat, you are supposed to, believe me.
3. Weathering: Most makers have their own method of weathering, just figure out what works best for you. The most common ways of weathering are using artists charcoal and acrylic washes.
http://www.dickblick.com/categories/cha ... edcharcoal
For charcoal, use artists charcoal, not the stuff from your grill. I generally get the sticks, then put them in a plastic bag, whack em with a hammer to bust them up, and then put the charcoal powder into a glass jar. When you put it on, you can pretty much use whatever you want. Q-tips work well for the eyebrows and harder to get to areas, whereas circular sponge brushes work well for the nose, ears, and eye corners.
Another method of weathering is called an acrylic wash. This is exactly what it sounds like. You mix a few drops of acylic paint into water, and then use a sponge brush or a rag to “wash” the mask with the mixture. What happens is the paint will get into the nooks and crannies of the mask, giving it a naturally weathered look. After you put the wash on the mask, just blot it off with a dry rag or paper towel. Try different color combinations to determine what looks best to you…the most commonly used myers colors are black, grey, and brown.
When you are happy with the look, you must now decide on whether or not to seal the mask. If the mask is going to be for display only, you don’t necessarily need to seal it. If there’s any chance it will be going outside, being worn, etc. its probably better to seal it. I generally use acrylic matte sealer (in a spraypaint can) for any mask other than a shiny H2. For shiny H2’s, I use crystal clear. The matte sealer is in the same place as the acrylic paints. Spray from about a foot and a half way in broad sweeping strokes. You do not want to be putting a ton of sealer on, as it is not the most flexible thing in the world and can crack if you do it wrong.
4. Hairing: Once again, decide what looks best to you. Personally, I use the foldover method in the front, it makes for a nice, clean hairline. Some people don’t do it, as that is not how the original mask was done. Either way, do whatever you like.
I am not going to go into how to put hair on, there are already tutorials for that, but I will comment on the types of ways to adhere it.
a) Latex: Latex will make a permanent bond to the mask. It is extremely hard to get the hair off if it was put on with latex.
b) Elmer’s tacky glue: It’s basically like school glue, except it dries clear. You can also use this for the sideburn lines. It will give a good hold, but if it gets wet, it will soften and hair will come out.
c) Hot Glue: My personal choice. Does not hold as well as the Elmer’s or the latex, but your job will go a lot quicker if you go this route. Several of the major mask companies use this.
In general, my theory is this: if this mask is going to be carried by the hair or thrown around, you should probably not be making it. Get yourself a cheapie to destroy. My opinion is that these are works of art and collectibles, not things to be used and abused. So, if you plan to beat the crap out of it, use latex. Any of the glue types will hold the hair, provided it is properly done. The hot glue is the easiest to get off, but you still have to pull on it