Introduction: Borderlands Cosplay Psycho Mask
Fiberglass psycho mask
Alrighty, this is my Instructable on how to make the best psycho mask to my abilities.
The whole construction of this mask was completely new to me, clay modelling, plaster casting and then making a resin cast. Throughout this build i learnt how to do all these steps by luck, looking up tutorials and pure determination. This tutorial should be able to be followed by anyone who is willing to try!
Materials you'll need for this build;
- Plaster of Paris
- Fiberglass resin
- Fiberglass cloth
- Non air drying Modelling clay
- Filler / Blade putty / Bog / Body filler
- Skull / Foam head
- PVC Tube ( close to 60mm Diameter )
- Head Strap / Go Pro Head Strap / Elastic
- Eva Foam
- Metal strip
- Computer fan
- Blue LED's
- 9 volt Battery holders
- Electrical tape or liquid tape
- Cream or Tanned Acrylic paint
- Brown or Red Acrylic paint
- Silver or Chrome Spray paint
- Clear satin Spray paint
- Soldering iron
- Dremel or similar device
- Small Clamps
- Sand paper ( smooth and rough )
- Chisel, screw driver
- Water spray bottle
- Clay Modeling tools
- Strong Glue - Tarzan Grip, Mega bond, etc
- Hot glue
- Masking Tape
- Cardboard box
- Bin Bag
- Paper towels
Warning, Fiberglass resin has some nasty fumes and should be used in a well ventilated area, face mask and latex gloves are recommended when using it. Fiberglass cloth is irritable when cured and cut, it releases fibers that itch and are bad for the lungs, again, use gloves and masks in well ventilated area.
Step 1: Clay Model
For this step you'll need;
- Modelling clay which has to be NON AIR DRYING
- PVC pipe
- Foam head or what ever your using for building your mask on
- Clay modeling tools
I brought a foam head from eBay as it was way cheaper then buying one from my local craft store, 1/4 the price. If your female i'd probably recommend buying a feminine one and vice versa for men. That is due to the basic shape of genders head shapes. Cheaper is better as you will be cutting the foam head up later on. I recommend cutting the back of the head to make it flat for modelling purposes and for when your casting it.
The PVC pipe i used, was a joiner piece for 60mm Diameter piping, you can use smaller if you want as the games one is suppose to be smaller but i like the look of slightly bigger, doesn't really matter as you can find PC fans to fit almost any size.
What you'll want to do is draw with a sharpie the out line of where you want the mask to go, remember the forehead of a psycho mask only goes above the eyebrows and not to the hair line. Next you'll want to stick the mouth piece on to the mouth area, I did mine so it was just cupping the chin as i wanted the mask to come further down my face to hid the switches. Us masking tape to hold it in place or even hot glue, as long as it doesn't melt the head!
Next draw where you want the eyes, nose and chin lines to be so you can build around the lines. This really helps to visualize the way your mask will come to live.
Clay. Even though this clay is not air drying, it will harden if left for a period of a day or so, at least in does here in the Australian capital... Can't imagine why. Soto get around this you'll need a water spray bottle to dampen the mask every so often to help keep it moist and malleable. I built mine by doing the eyebrows and nose area first as seen in the first picture, and then slowly building up the rest of the face. Go slightly thicker then what you think you need as this clay will act as a negative which will eventually be filled in. So if the head is the same size as yours or smaller and there isn't much clay, your mask will be very tight.
Getting the eyebrows and cheeks pretty symmetrical was something i struggled with as i haven't done anything like this since primary school? Probably. At least not to this extent.
Smoothness of your model depends on how you want to finish it of, you'll need super smooth if your doing a smooth finish, or a rougher surface if your doing a textured finish.
Warning: Storing your clay model is very important if its going to take you a few days to build. You'll need to wet paper towels and place over your model, completely covering the clay. this will keep it damp and won't let it dry. Then place the model and towels in a garbage bag and seal it with tape or rubber bands. You may have to re-dampen every few days just to be safe.
Step 2: Plaster and Removal
For casting your mask you'll need to get a box, either cardboard box or make one, big enough for the mask and a bit extra. I used a box, with a bin bag taped to the sides to hold it open. You can make one by getting a flat surface and hot gluing card to make a box on to of the surface.
Before staring the casting procedure, you'll need to give your mask a good covering of clear spray paint, this acts as a type of lubricant you could call it. It helps the plaster from bonding with the clay. So when it comes to separating the clay and plaster, it shouldn't be to hard.
Once you've done all of the above, you can place your mask in the box, bag or whatever you are using, and start mixing up the plaster. I used Plaster of Paris which worked pretty damn good, Brought a 3kg bag and only used about 1kg, you'll need to mix it in amounts that you think will be enough, i did a couple of layers of plaster, bulking up on what i thought needed more. I used Latex gloves and scooped it onto the clay and pushed it into the chin and cheek areas to make sure it got all the shapes. Once you have poured it on, give it a light tap or shake to try and remove any air bubbles from the clay surface.
Drying time depends on heat, humidity and such 'n' such.
After plaster has Cured.
Once the plaster has cured and finished drying, you can start removing the clay and head from it. The plaster is pretty sturdy if it is built up, the thinner pieces can snap so be careful. This step can take a bit of time, as the clay can stick to the plaster. Use the cutting tools to scrape out the clay in the small crooks, or even needles or whatever you can really.
You may find the PVC is stuck in the plaster, which is what happened to me, that's okay! It works out fine! Don't panic like i did. Seriously, i thought i would have to redo the whole bloody thing.
Try to remove pretty much all of the clay from the plaster so the negative mold is clean and ready for Fiberglassing.
The clay can be reused if stored to the same standards in the previous page. Though i would only use the clay for similar projects. As it will have spray paint, foam and plaster in it.
As a final thing, i filled some of the holes with some filler, as there was a few air holes in mine which would be filled with fiberglass if not fixed. As seen in the last picture.
Step 3: Fiberglass and Resin
Fiberglass can be harmful, please read all instructions and safety guides on using this stuff.
Now your plaster cast is cleaned and mainly free of clay, you can start filling it with fiberglass resin and clothe. I firstly Filled the eyebrows, nose, chin and mouth cavities with purely resin and let it cure, this can take up to an hour or more to dry. If you try doing the clothe straight away it can have the chance of lifting and leaving a massive gap in between the fiberglass and plaster.
Then I started applying the cloth in strips or all sizes to fit the mask and reapplied the resin again. I did this a few times to build up the strength of the mask, make sure to go over the edge of where your mask ends, to make it have a even thickness.
If you have any questions about fiberglass, check out my other Instructable on how to make car speaker holders, as i go into great detail on how to fiberglass.
Step 4: Cleaning Resin Shell
Now comes the moment of truth. Has the fiberglass taken the shape properly? hopefully it has!
I tried a few different methods of removing the plaster from the fiberglass, some of the best ways i found were chipping away at the plaster with a screwdriver and hammer, gently tap along the areas where you think the fiberglass is buried deep until you hit it and hopefully it should come of in big chunks.
Another method of removing the plaster is soaking it in vinegar, after googling for a while vinegar supposedly softens the plaster and helps for removal. I brought 4 litres of cheap vinegar and soaked in a bucket for 12 hours, helped remove the fiberglass smell too.
Focus on removing the plaster around the mask, leaving delicate areas such as the nose and mouth or any pure resin areas to be done with more carefulness. Hopefully the PVC has stuck in the fiberglass and hasn't been removed in the plaster removal.
Taking a dremel or similar device, cut around the edge of your mask to give it it's desired shape, remove the eyes ( router piece worked great ) and remove the plaster and fiberglass from within the PVC piping. The main tools i used in this process were the router piece, cutting piece and sanding pieces. The router pieces were very good for removing the eyes and blending them into the eye brows, removing the remainder of plaster from the PVC along with the fiber glass. Then switching to the sanding discs to smooth of the edge of the mask and inside the mouth to make it flush.
Step 5: Filling and Smoothing Shell
Onto the fun process of filling, priming and sanding the mask.
Depending on how you want your finished look to be, is how much effort you'll need to put into this step. If your wanting a rustic used worn look, then i wouldn't put to much effort in making it super smooth. But if your after a shiny clean look then this step will take you a while, as it will need a bit of sanding.
ME being a dumbass and not thinking about this spent about 4 days and god knows how many layers of primer and filler making it smooth even though I wanted to texture my paint. I like using a body filler that is called blade putty as its a liquid body filler and doesn't need mixing, would recommend looking into this type of filler.
Step 6: Building Shell Up
This step is focused on building the details onto the mask, this is when the mask finally starts to get some character. Depending on how much detail you'll want to put into this mask is up to you, but since if your building this and your up to this point, might as well go the full way!
- Eva foam/ Leather/ something
- Computer fan
- Scalpel or craft knife
- Hot glue or super glue
Taking your mask, draw on it with a pencil the lines of which you want the strips to follow and any other details such as the bolt looking things near the chin.
For the straps, I used Eva foam A4 sheets from my local Asian cheapy shop. You can use what ever you want but it'll need to be flexible to mold around the corners and curves of the mask. Eva can be manipulated to follow the features quite nicely and I've found to suite this nicely. I cut the strips into 10mm thickness and slowly glued them into place, following the pencil lines i made.
For the bolt type things near the chin I used two different sized buttons and glued them together. Taking a craft knife remove excess glue around the button and proceed to prime and sand to a smooth finish as it is supposed to be metallic. I recommend sanding and priming before gluing the buttons onto the mask.
Computer fan, a easy way of making the fan is to buy a fan which is the same size as the PVC pipe and simply using it just as. Or do what i did and find a old computer fan and cut it down to size. If your wanting the fan to actually work leave the wires attached unless you don't then you can cut them off. You can decorate the fan how ever you want to make it look less like a PC fan.
Step 7: Painting
Before being able to paint your mask, you'll need to finish of the last layers of primer and sanding. Your probably asking why did we bother on the last step if we're doing more? well, its very hard to sand in between the strips and making it smooth, its much easier sanding of any paint lumps then fiberglass lumps. So prime the strips and start sanding those back until there ready for painting, as well as sanding the areas of the mask where primer builds up.
Paints you'll need will be along the lines of Cream or tan, Brown or red and some metallic silver or chrome. As you can see, the game mask is suppose to be white as the base colour, but realistically if it was in a desert wasteland, being used to murder people and vault hunters, it wouldn't stay white long. Sun damage, Blood stains and battle scars are something to take into consideration!
Using An Acrylic Off white, I dabbed the paint on to the mask giving it a rippled texture using a smallish brush. After a few layers the rippled off white gave the mask a good used look. You'll need to sand of any white that went places that it shouldn't of gone.
Warning: For what ever reason my Off white started to crack after it dried, don't know why but man it suites it so well. You'll be able to see the small cracks on the close up pictures.
I used a acrylic Burnt Sienna brown to colour in the straps. To give them a leathery look, i got a smaller flat brush and did long slow strokes length ways along the straps, when dried a did a few more layers, as well as painting the side of the strips which was a bit tedious.
Once the brush painting was out of the way, on to some spray painting. By carefully placing painters / Masking tape around the mouth piece, tape of the the painted areas, leaving the PVC exposed. Sand away any paint that has come on to the PVC. I your wanting a shiny finish, you'll want the PVC smooth, so give it a quick sand with fine sand paper. Once done, get a plastic bag and rip a hole in it, big enough for the mouth to fit through and resume taping to secure in place. After everything is protected, give it a layer with the chrome, leave for it to completely dry as i found this colour takes awhile to dry. Repeat spraying if needed. Repeat above steps for the buttons next to chin.
Spraying the computer fan is easy, prime, sand and the chrome it.
Now clear coat the whole thing!
Warning: My chrome reacted with the clear coat and became dull.
Step 8: Assembling
Now that i had all the separate parts i could start putting them together. This is where you'll want some top notch strong glue, hot glue could work but has the high risk of coming undone in heat or under strain.
For placing the fan in the mouth, you'll probably need to mount in by using something like a pop-stick, which i used. The fan has its plastic structure that you will probably have to break off. Gluing a pop-stick on the back, find a spot where the fan sits nicely , if your making it powered you'll want to hook up a battery to make sure it wont scrape. This can be a bit fiddly, so get something you can rest the mask in like a pillow or your lap to help. Once you've found a spot, glue it with the strong glue.
Using a Go Pr or Head Torch would be best for this as it has a back piece for the back of your head built into them. I used a Go pro head strap from eBay. I used the part where the go pro attaches to mount the batteries, so i took of the rest of the strap and detached the elastic so it made a T shape. Now taking something you could use to mount the straps to the mask with, like metal strips or joining strip for construction, cut of lengths that stick about 20mm out of each side of the elastic.
I wrapped them in Duct tape to prevent tearing of the strap. Round of the corners with a file or sand paper so there's no chance of being stabbed with them when wearing the mask as well.
Orient your straps so when glued they will sit the right way when worn, and start gluing. I did one at a time and clamped them so they stayed in place and would bond securely.
Step 9: Wiring ( Optional )
Now for wiring i went to a electronics shop and got them to help me, most PC fans will run on 9 volt and nothing less, so to make things easier i needed to run the LED's of 9 volt as well. So i'd recommend doing some research or visiting a electrical shop for help on this.
Step 10: Finishing Touches
Now the mask is complete, time to add any finishing touches to it, such as dirt, charcoal or anything else you think might be a good idea.
Hope you enjoyed reading or making this even! Please post if you have questions or any ideas, it would be much appreciated. If your on more of a budget i have another Instructable on how to make the same mask but much cheaper! AKA my first attempt.
I really enjoyed this build as i got to experiment with new techniques and building materials. I would definitely recommend building something like this as its hella fun!