Introduction: Dieselpunk Bomber Mask!
Here's a guide to make your own bomber mask! I am posting this instructable long after actually constructing this mask, so some progress pictures are retakes or not available. However, I have attempted to take detail shots of relevant areas on it to make it more understandable.
To see more projects I am working on, please visit my website at www.starboardsky.com
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Step 1: Measure Your Face and Draw Your Pattern
Take a flexible tailor's tape measure and measure from ear to ear, over the tip of your nose, and write that measurement down. Then measure from the bridge of your nose down to well past your chin, almost to your neck and write that measurement down. Measure the lines on a piece of heavy paper and trace them perpendicular to each other. The next part requires some artistic skill because you will need to draw the pattern. When you are done it will resemble a large moustache. Cut it out and fold it in half, then put a piece of masking or painter's tape on the part that will cover the bridge of your nose. Try it on your face to check fitment. If everything is in order, proceed to the next step.
Step 2: Cut Out the Blank and Tool It Up!
Take the tape off the nose part and lay your cutout flat on your leather. I find 4-5oz. veg tan leather is the best for this sort of mask. Use a ballpoint pen or ultra fine point sharpie to trace around the cutout. Now cut out the blank. optionally, you can use an edge beveler front and back to clean up the edges and give it a nice clean finished edge at the end.
For the tooling portion, I googled bomber teeth decals and sized it up in photoshop to fit on either side of the mask, then printed it out. Then I cut them out, gave my leather a surface wetting, and taped the teeth cutouts to the leather blank using painter's tape. After that I went over the outline using a stylus directly on the decal printout. After that, I used my swivel knife along all the lines and then free handed a grid pattern to look like metal plate.
Now you can use your craftools and mallet to tool the leather. Give your leather a surface wetting and get to work. If you want to speed things up, you can use your bevel stamp and use hand pressure to separate your cuts. The rest you'll have to tap in with a mallet and craftool stamp.
Let your leather dry, then coat the whole thing with a leather antique gel. I used mahogany. Let it set for a minute or two, then buff it up with an old rag. Once you've done that, paint your teeth and tongue with acrylic paint pens and let them dry. Now is the time to apply gum tragacanth to the edges of the piece and slick them with your slicker wheel if you want.
Now apply a coat of eco flo super shene to the whole piece and let it dry. After this, I took gold and silver sharpie paint pens and made small marks on the plate cuts and smeared them with my finger to give a weathered metallic look. Now you can have a few drinks and put the mask on your face and take pictures before moving on.
Step 3: Adding Hardware and Turbine
You're doing well, but here's where it really comes together. I pieced together the turbine from a desk lamp from home depot and a pc fan. You'll have to find one because I got mine out of a scrap pile and repurposed it.
Measure the outer diameter of the turbine housing and make the circle centered up on the back of the mask, then cut it out. You want it snug, so it's ok to cut it just a tiny bit under the actual diameter. you can bevel the circle cutout on the inside, but DON'T bevel the outside. At this point go ahead and glue your pc fan inside the lamp housing to make your turbine piece. Then use the sharpie smearing technique to add some weathering to the housing and fan. Don't secure the turbine permanently yet. You'll do that later.
Cut a piece of brass or nickel silver to cover the nose seam on top of the mask. Bend it down and use a metal punch to punch holes int it. Place it over the nose portion of the mask and mark the spots on the leather to punch out. Go ahead and punch out the holes the leather, then set rivets in them. Now you can shove the turbine through the hole you cut, and fix it in place using loctite liquid or even epoxy. Something durable.
Optional: I added a piece of foam under the nose section for a more comfortable fit.
Step 4: Strap Attachment and Finishing Up
Now it's time to attach your strap. I used a simple elastic strap for comfort, but you can make up a leather strap if you're feeling frisky. Cut a couple leather pieces like the one in the first pic, then take your d-rings and loop the cutouts over them at the top points of the sides of the mask. Punch holes there. Set both d-rings using rivets to attach them to the mask. Now loop a bit of elastic around one d-ring and attach it by any method you know. For instance, I used a mini double cap rivet because I am terrible at sewing. Put the mask on your face and loop the strap diagonally up and over the back of your head, take out all the slack, and cut it. Then attach it to the other d-ring. Now your strap is complete.
The part that goes under your chin is a little freestyle. I had to allow a little flex on mine because my face is so enormous. If your mask won't close all the way, take a little fabric and use some fabri-tac to glue it on either side of the part that goes under your chin. You can add a couple leather straps to reinforce this part if you want, but they are optional.
And that's it! Go out and scare people with your face!
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