I put together the costume for the Secret Garden Party- the closest thing we have in the UK to Burning Man. It went down very well and garnered plenty of positive comments from other ‘Gardeners’. From previous experience, many costumes don’t suit glasses wearers very well- this one does however.
The base head was made in much the same way as bindlestiff’s using strips of newspaper and wallpaper paste over a suitable balloon to get the basic shape. To smooth the surface and blend the shape I mixed filler powder with the usual water and a good portion of PVA glue (to reduce the chance of cracking). Shaping was a combination of course grit sandpaper and surform followed by finer grades. This, combined with several applications of the filler resulted in a nice smooth surface (don’t underestimate the time this will take though!).
After having got a smooth shape, I then decided I didn’t like the finish, so used kitchen paper soaked in PVA to put texture back onto the mask. The effort that went into the previous steps wasn’t all wasted as it did give a much better shape than the raw paper texture had.
Features were added using plastic aquarium tubing, hot glued in place and papered over.
Absolutely critical to this design are the sunglass lenses- This really sets the mask off. I kept these low on the face and was pleased with the position.
Finishing was achieved first by priming with watered down white acrylic, followed with several layers of green acrylic. I tried colour matching the fabric, but failed. I’d also like to add further texture with some other colouring. I may have to get a more artistic friend to help with this before the next outing. I think the green works well for this costume.
The interior of the head was padded out with ‘eggbox’ pattern packaging foam. This was hot glued inside the crown, and round the sides. This holds the mask securely and is comfortable. I had no issue with the weight of the mask.
I made a simple pair of feet by painting up a cheap pair of neoprene (wetsuit material) beach shoes. Unfortunately these got replaced with boots as the festival was very muddy!
In use- the vision is limited. I was able to see where I was walking, but had no peripheral vision, reduced hearing and people found it difficult to hear me. I therefore mostly resorted to ‘Greetings Earthlings/ Earth Child’ and an alien salute. I wore the costume for around 6 hours- a good proportion of which with the head on. It was reasonably comfortable, and the only real issue came as the temperature dropped- my glasses were steaming up quickly.
There was nowhere to carry anything so my girlfriend ended up carry wallet etc Next time I may create some kind of alien back pack to house a raygun- probably a painted/ modified water pistol, as well as somewhere to put some money and a bottle of water.