Introduction: How to Make an Anglerfish Mask

Picture of How to Make an Anglerfish Mask

I wanted to make a Halloween costume that I could scare all the little Japanese kids with, and that I could take off quickly when dealing with stoic Japanese businessmen. So I needed something that was just a mask.

I got the idea for this mask from this guy, earlier this year:

Step 1: Paper Mache a Balloon

Picture of Paper Mache a Balloon

This step is pretty basic - find a balloon that's larger than your head (much larger, if you want breathing room)

I ended up using two balloons, so if the balloon color changes, that's why. One popped while I was taking a break.

Good instructions for paper mache-ing can be found herehere

Cooking the paste really works- I never did that when I was a kid, but things worked. Cooking the paste works BETTER.

Step 2: Attach Cardboard Fins and Such

Picture of Attach Cardboard Fins and Such

Use a large bowl to hold the balloon in place as you glue. You can also use this to hold the balloon while drying.

I figured i couldn't sculpt the whole fish out of paper mache, so I cut some cardboard pieces to mold to the shape of the fish that I wanted.

Wait until the paper mache dries for a day, then I used hot glue to secure the fins.

After you're FIN-ished (sorry, couldn't resist), use more paper mache layers to cover the attach points.

Step 3: Mark and Cut the Holes

Picture of Mark and Cut the Holes

After the body is dry, you can pop the balloon and mark up the head.

This point is very crucial - you have to make sure that there are no serious weak spots on your paper mache-ing. This is critical because the paper will have to withstand some abuse from people patting your head, spilling drinks, people trying your head on, and others.

One way to check is to hold the head up to a light, or to put a flashlight on the inside and look for light spots. I made the mache approximately a 1/8th of an inch (2-3mm) thick.

Also, you're going to be making cuts to the mache, so you'll inherently weaken the overall integrity.

Step 4: Assemble Electronics

Picture of Assemble Electronics

I found 2 flashlights at the dollar store, and some decorative xmas LED's that fit around mini trees. I think the latter is pretty easy to make, I just found one that was pre-made.

I cut the flashlights threads off the cap, and saved the light portion. I spray painted the housing and reassembled the light potion.

I then soldered wires to the contacts.

I soldered those wires to the battery box of the LED case to connect them in parallel so the voltage across the LEDs would remain the same.

I then installed the eyes and lights.

Step 5: Attach "fishing" LED

Picture of Attach "fishing" LED

This one was kind of chintzy, and you can feel free to improve on it if you like.

I got a coat hanger and bent it form a hook on the end. I then slid some coiled spring things I had from a cheap-o broken mini-tripod onto the wire and bent the remaining end into a curved piece.

I sandwiched the curved piece in two pieces of cardboard with hot glue. I cut a small hole in the forhead of the fish. I fed the end of the wire thru the hole.

I then hot glued the cardboard to the interior of the fish.

Step 6: Paint the Thingy

Picture of Paint the Thingy

I used black paint as the base, I wanted to cover the newsprint completely.

I also used the black as an undertone for the silver so it made the silver stand out more.

Step 7: Finished!

Picture of Finished!

I didn't have time to put together a proper head support mechanism, despite the fact that I thought long and hard to try to figure out what I was going to do to support it on my head.

I ended up putting a beany on my head to cushion the whole assembly sitting on my head.

I tried making a cardboard ribbing on the inside, but I sweat a lot and the paper started to get pretty damp and disgusting. I just resolved the fact that I wasn't going to wear the mask very often.

The kids loved it tho!

Total cost and parts:
Newsprint: free advert mags from outside of the liquor store - collected over 2 weeks.
starch: 2 bucks
flashlights: 2x 1.00
led chain/LED keychain: 2x1.00
posterboard: 1.00
broken mini-tripod: 1.00

total project cost: approx 8.00+-1 dollar.


bgepp1 (author)2013-10-04

this is really cool - nice work

Kaiven (author)2007-06-06

where you wrote "here" (as a link), i would like to know how you did that

laernmoer (author)Kaiven2007-06-06

where it says "link" in the title bar of your editing windo, click link.. or do you mean the paste? I'm confused.

harpreetmattu (author)laernmoer2011-10-25

click link

HIGHVOLTAGE-Z (author)Kaiven2007-07-26

this has nothing to do with the topic but "COWS WITH GUNS"

What do you mean?

Kaiven (author)HIGHVOLTAGE-Z2007-07-26

yup :P

harpreetmattu (author)2011-10-25

I like the way they did it and the way you do it you click on Good instructions for paper mache-ing can be found herehere the are 2 here one is a link simply click on that and it will com.
But i would like to know on the picture the bottom is not with newspaper.
Please tell me somebody.

deathnotx101 (author)2011-09-19

I guess you think your very pun-ny?

deathnotx101 (author)2011-09-09

"Yeahhh, the deep sea Angelfish has no reason to be happy, but she has no fricking idea, what else to be." A song about Angelfish by Hank Green AWSOME mask, you stun me with your creativity, not that I have a reason to be surprised anymore with all this talent. Thanks for the DIY <3 ^_^

flammablesquid (author)2011-02-07

I loved this and took the liberty of trying it for Halloween! It was the hit of the party! Thanks so much for the Instructable! Mine had battery pack mini led's and it took half an eternity to hot glue the scales on. The eyes were tap lights covered with balloon latex.

laernmoer (author)flammablesquid2011-02-13

Nice! pretty cool looking!

Tool Using Animal (author)2007-04-04

That is totally awesome, of course you know, you're dressed as a girl anglerfish...

seriously? I had no idea. ah well.

Yep, male anglerfish have the good life, they latch onto the female with their teeth, their bloodstream fuses with the female and then they wither away until they're just a pair of testes. Still I think very few people would notice, and it's still the second most awesome marine inspired halloween costume at instructables ;-)

maven (author)Tool Using Animal2010-08-15

Here's the life cycle of the male angler according to the Oatmeal!

[ The males are so small!]

navionflyer (author)2009-12-08

Thank you so much for posting this.  My son was an anglerfish in his second grade school production about the earth.  This mask was definitely a hit with him, the other kids and parents.  I did the eyes a little different.  I used a set of white LEDs and taped 7 together in a group and hot glued them in place.  Then I hot glued a half a ping pong ball over the lights.  They turned out really well.  Also, your suggestion for putting a ping pong ball over the lure light was spot on.  There were some other little things I did different because of limited time, but all in all it turned out great.  Thanks again.

mushroomdude (author)2009-10-25

im con fused how meany layers of papper mecha do you need

Doggie Stylish (author)2009-10-17

*very* fun 'ible! the last comment about the hard hat is a pretty good idea. i might try to make the mask doing that.

laernmoer (author)Doggie Stylish2009-10-18

i just commented about using foam on that comment. The foam pushes against your head and will hold the mask firmly.

good luck!

elih (author)2009-10-14

 i saw an idea for a support system on another instructable
you can hot glue a hard hat to the inside of the fish and then it willsit on your head
you may have to cut off the top of the hardhat for it to fit

laernmoer (author)elih2009-10-18

well, that sounds like it'd work. the problem is getting a hard hat and cutting it. Unless it's a toy, the ABS plastic can be really tough to cut.

Another method could be to put pads of foam on the inside. I saw this on another instructable - use an open celled foam pad glued to the sides and have the foam push against your head.

the open cell will allow the sweat to move (or even wick the sweat away) from your head.

Good luck!

sortiz04 (author)2009-09-03

I love it, but this is so nerdy. Too much fun.

sortiz04 (author)2009-09-03

this is awesome. I can't wait to do it for my 7 year old son. He chose this as his underwater fish, and I want to duplicate it on a smaller scale. Very cool

Arbitror (author)2008-12-20
Kaiven (author)Arbitror2008-12-20

I know how to now. Heh, i should delete that comment.

Arbitror (author)2008-12-20

Awesome job! It looks great! But but what would make this 'ible better is taking some pictures in the dark!

Arbitror (author)Arbitror2008-12-20

Sorry, never mind, I completely missed the dark picture!

=SMART= (author)2008-10-30

Thats so awesome !! Shoes come off in my house too, it makes it much cleaner and more homely :P

Kazooie (author)2008-09-29

Congrats on getting on Gizmodo!

laernmoer (author)Kazooie2008-09-30

whoa! thanks for the heads up and the link! I had no idea!

goosezilla (author)2008-09-28

Awesome! I love how simple this hat is to get together. :)
I made a similar hat a while ago that might also be useful to look at for using paper clay and hot glue as detailing tools.

Parrotgirl (author)2008-08-29

when I first looked at this, my first thought was that a bike helmet (you know, the old melon shaped ones...) would make the perfect base. It would stay stable, be comfortable, and be easy to paper mache around! Just a thought :) I love this costume!

laernmoer (author)Parrotgirl2008-08-29

Good idea. If you can somehow get the rest of the shape, that would be an ingenious design. Or maybe squeeze the helmet after the balloon is popped.

Kazooie (author)2007-11-05

I made one following most of your instructions. it turned out pretty awesome i think. I used a 4 AA battery pack for LED's and put in some wires in the "fishing pole" part to light up the ping-pong ball. I wanted to find something more transluscent, but couldn't think of anything in time. I also used some foam i had to cushion the inside. It was very comfy after i got it all right, but hard to work with the wires, and it got really hot. Thanks for the idea, my friends thought it was cool.

laernmoer (author)Kazooie2007-11-08

Nice! the ping pong ball is a nice touch and the cushioning on the inside looks like a good idea - for some reason, I didn't think of using foam, I was trying to fabricate something from cardboard. Even with all my ventilation I cut on the body, it was still hot on the inside of mine as well. I think it was the light bulbs from the flashlight that really heated things up. Glad to see you enjoyed it! It looks great!

ArtisticBabe (author)2007-10-05

Hey bro, this is so cool looking! It makes me think about "Finding Nemo". :) In response to your not having an idea of how to cushion your head and make it stable: I have a little easy idea to give stability and cushion. Get a matching color (snug fitting) beanie like black and buy about 10 inches of Velcro with the adhesive already on it. Attach one sticky side to the top of the beanie (sew too so it'll last a long time) and them stick the reverse side to the inside of the mask running tip to back. This way you can take the beanie out and wash it or whatever and reposition it so it sits exactly where you want it too because I imagine it sort of slips around a little. Hope its a bit of a help: Velcro can save your life!

laernmoer (author)ArtisticBabe2007-10-23

Good idea, I'm giving the mask to a friend this year, so that should work like a charm. Thanks!

deadinsect (author)2007-09-12

that is so awesome, I was going to go as an anglerfish, but went as a light up LED jellyfish instead!! go team aphotic!

laernmoer (author)2007-06-07

I just clicked the "link" button and put the word "here" in the "link name" box. then put the URL in the "Link URL box".

ewilhelm (author)2007-04-04

Nice mask! The intro picture isn't too clear. How about adding one of your step 7 images as the main image?

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm an engineer. I problem solve all day, problem solve all night. I LOVE learning, and I love teaching what I learn. I want ... More »
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