Introduction: Filigree Masquerade Mask

Picture of Filigree Masquerade Mask

I made a mask inspired by the old-school venetian masquerades (love those long lines and cutouts) and thought I'd share the process. Hope you enjoy!

Step 1: Draw Your Mask.

Picture of Draw Your Mask.

I started off by marking out the mask design. I wanted to do a more traditional ball-style mask, so I combined a whole bunch of favourite features into my template.

To create a template suited to your face, measure the length of each eye, then the bridge of your nose including the sides. I figured out that my eye holes should be marked out as 5cm each with a 4.5cm distance between to allow room for the bridge curve.

Step 2: Cut Out Your Design

Picture of Cut Out Your Design

I got these leather shears and a thin blade razor knife from my local leather store. The razor works best for the tighter lines.

Step 3: Hole Punching

Picture of Hole Punching

I marked the leaves and started with a 2mm punch at the top of the leaves. Next I moved up a size to 3mm and so on to mark all the leaves as shown in the pencil drawing above. Finally, I went back to the 2mm and created points to cut to.

Step 4: Cutting Filagree Holes

Picture of Cutting Filagree Holes

Cut between these dots to create the filigree effect.

Step 5: Smoothing and Design Work

Picture of Smoothing and Design Work

Use a ball tool to smooth out the sharp edges and wet the leather down for embossing.

Step 6: Embossing.

Picture of Embossing.

A swivel knife is great for defining the lines of your design. You can then add some tools to press and detail the leather.

Step 7: Dying

Picture of Dying

I used a dark brown antique dye to highlight the low spots and then used methylated spirits to wipe the excess off. Then I added my dominant colour using a purple dye called Raven oil. This is a spirit based dye. I also dipped some leather cord into the dye bottle so it matched.

Step 8: Details

Picture of Details

After dying, you can shape the mask a little and make your ties. I used some silver beads for detailing these.

I then used black antique to detail around the eyes and the leaves to add some depth and a bit of a colour gradient. Mine is quite subtle, but a strong gradient could look amazing.

Step 9: Shaping

Picture of Shaping

After your dye is dry, remove your ties and pour some water into a bowl. It can be warm if you want, but cold works fine for 2mm vege tan leather. Leave it in the water for about 5mins.

Next, take it out, find somewhere relaxing and lie down ready to do some serious shaping. Really push it into your face, making sure you work the nose, cheek and forehead to shape. PUSH and PINCH that nose in.

Step 10: Baking

Picture of Baking

Chuck your mask in the oven on a really low temperature - I set this to 150℃. Pop it in for about 3mins, take it out to do some further shaping and then put it back in for another 5mins. It's a good idea to prop your mask on something to stop it sagging.

Step 11: Dressing

Picture of Dressing

Lastly I put some leather dressing on. You can see the difference between the before (right) and after (left) - especially in the light. It really sets it off and gives it more of a finished look.

Step 12: All Done!!

Picture of All Done!!

Now for the fun part - glam up and take some pics!

Step 13: Grab and Friend and Try It On.

Picture of Grab and Friend and Try It On.

I've included these so you can see how it looks with light and dark hair - also to check the transferability of the design.

Big thanks to my friend for letting me dress her up and traipse around in public taking mask photo's. I owe you one. Or lots.

Hope you enjoyed this tut as much as I enjoyed making it for you!!


rainingfiction (author)2017-03-22

Beautiful! Love it!

carpetony (author)2017-03-10

That is amazing. they are beautiful! Love the filigree! Great. Instructables.

Lopany (author)2016-02-02

The best part about it is when you took the picture wearing it>

nicely done.

davin_x (author)2015-09-06

Love how intricate it looks in the final photos - any chance you could share a template to download, print and use? Thank you in advance!

caracoda (author)2014-11-03

Congratulations on your win! Thank you for sharing and best wishes with your next projects!

Harriett Elizabeth (author)2014-11-01

Brilliant design, very difficult however to discern 1st pictures of design on leather.

kmac1 (author)2014-10-29

Beautiful! The shading is gorgeous! Great instructable all the way 'round!

DivineDragon1952 (author)2014-10-26

Fabulous mask! You make it look so easy. I need to try this for my grandaughters and my daughter-in-law. I think they would look fab in this. You have my vote.

Thank you!! Please share your masks when you make them, I'd love to see! You have some very lucky granddaughters and daughter-in-law.

Your welcome. I've been pretty busy lately and haven't gotten around to it. I might take my time so they can have them next year for Halloween.

MrE (author)2014-10-28

Where did you buy your leather shears and / or what model are they.

andrewdbartholomew (author)2014-10-27

This is so cool! You guys are super talented!

Thanks Andy!! Must run in the gene's ;)

errol.brizuela (author)2014-10-27

So good!

Thanks Erroldo :)

Hannah Joy (author)2014-10-24

Hi, thanks for sharing and for your feedback!

My dad's a silversmith so I'm aware of what filigree is traditionally, however in recent years it has come to be a general term for that style of intricate work. Here's a merriam-webster definition to explain:

Of course, I could have just written filigree-like or filigree-style to avoid confusion so thanks for pointing that out. OR I might even make a mask with silver filigree on it - that could look amazing!

Thanks for your tips on burnishing, will keep that in mind.

And thanks for the comment!

ofeargall (author)Hannah Joy2014-10-25

Your answer to criticism is as artful and beautiful as your mask. Well done.

Hannah Joy (author)ofeargall2014-10-25

Haha thank you, that's very kind :)

ToniP1 (author)ofeargall2014-10-25

I know, she's good isn't she? I was impressed too

ToniP1 (author)2014-10-25

Gorgeous Hannah.... I love it! You are a clever one

Hannah Joy (author)ToniP12014-10-25

Thanks Toni!! That's so kind!

ofeargall (author)2014-10-25

Did I miss the thickness of your leather in the Instructable? I used heavy for mine and had to rivet it to a substrate to get it to take shape. I don't think getting it wet would have been enough. Although, I don't know why I didn't think of getting it wet, that was brilliant... Perhaps it's because I'm a guy and I love rivets... I dunno.

Hannah Joy (author)ofeargall2014-10-25

Hi! Yes I forgot to add that - I might see if I can edit it in. I used 2mm vege tan. I dunno, rivets are pretty awesome...

Zahm (author)2014-10-24

WOW was this really need do you feel all better now? I mad lots of grammer and spelling misake for you to correct have fun

ToniP1 (author)Zahm2014-10-25

Too funny

ctinúviel (author)2014-10-23

It's really amazing!! Thank you and congratulations!! Oh, how did you shape the mask into your face format? I would love to know!! Thanks again :)

Hannah Joy (author)ctinúviel2014-10-24

Thank you for your comment! After I originally cut the mask out I did spend a bit of time pressing it with my hand while it was wet. I didn't include that as a step, because putting it wet on my face and pushing it into my face in different places was what really helped get the shape right. Hope that helps?

ctinúviel (author)Hannah Joy2014-10-24

Yes, helped a lot! Thank you very much!! ^^

Zahm (author)2014-10-24

the work you have done is great loved this thanks for the share

thecapper (author)2014-10-24

Really beautiful work, Hannah Joy! I love the mask and the outdoor photos.

Hannah Joy (author)thecapper2014-10-24

Thanks so much!!

mdeblasi1 (author)2014-10-24

I came to see how jewelers filigree was used to make a mask & instead learned something new and exciting.
Thanks for that--- I think : O
I don't know where I'm going to fit a whole new thing in the workshop!

Hannah Joy (author)mdeblasi12014-10-24

Ah there's ALWAYS room, it just takes a little shuffling around ;) I hope you try it, I'd love to see! Thanks so much for your comment!

The Green Gentleman (author)2014-10-24

Really nice work! Don't worry about the hater regarding your use of the word "filigree." I think everyone understood that you meant "filigree-like." It's interesting (read: irritating) that the ones putting up the most opinionated comments are the ones not actually producing any instructables. Again, this is gorgeous.

Haha thank you!! I'm not worried, it's always great to hear other perspectives and if they interpreted it that way, I'm sure others did, so it's really good to know for future instructables. Plus, putting up a tutorial on the internet means being prepared to be scrutinised ;) Thanks so much for your encouragement!!

jscarpelli (author)2014-10-23

Where do you get the leather, your work is wonderful.

Hannah Joy (author)jscarpelli2014-10-24

Thank you! I buy my leather from a leather shop near me (I live in Brisbane, Australia). He has a great range and I can always find the right bits to work with. Are you looking for somewhere to buy leather? I would recommend googling leather shop with your city name as the easiest way to find a retailer?

alidasaxon (author)2014-10-23

I'd always meant to look up how those masks were made. Thanks for a tutorial!

Hannah Joy (author)alidasaxon2014-10-24

Glad you enjoyed it! Would love to see it if you get around to making one :)

lebowski (author)2014-10-23

Great mask! Nice to see something like this that doesn't require a laser cutter :)

Hannah Joy (author)lebowski2014-10-24

Hehe thanks. My dad taught me leather work (I'm still using his old-school tools from the 70's!), so I have never known anything else. Tooling is fun :)

DeusFidelis (author)2014-10-23

This is amazing. Thanks for sharing this instructable. Going to try making this for my wife!

Hannah Joy (author)DeusFidelis2014-10-24

Oh please do and please share, I'd love to see!! Maybe you could knock one up in time for halloween?

dafdill (author)2014-10-23

Love the mask it is Beautiful. I recommend adding a tools your need section, I am assuming that is leather you used but what kind was it (how thick)?

Hannah Joy (author)dafdill2014-10-24

Good thinking, thanks for the feedback! It was 2mm vege-tan (embossing) leather.

PowellMade (author)2014-10-20

Looks fantastic!! I might use some raven oil on some of my future projects! Well done

Hannah Joy (author)PowellMade2014-10-24

Great idea, it's a beautiful product, I think you'll love the results.

BLR_RAVI (author)2014-10-20

wonderful..i appreciate the amount of time and hard work done on making the mask..great..

Hannah Joy (author)BLR_RAVI2014-10-24

Thank you, that's very kind! Leatherwork is so much fun to get "in the zone" with, so I find time just slips away :)

philpp (author)2014-10-20

great instructable and great finish.

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