Filigree Masquerade Mask

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Introduction: 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.

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

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

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

Cut between these dots to create the filigree effect.

Step 5: Smoothing and Design Work

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

Step 6: 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

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

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

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

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

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!!

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

Step 13: 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!!

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    61 Comments

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

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

    Beautiful
    nicely done.

    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!

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

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

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

    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.

    2 replies

    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.

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

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

    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: http://i.word.com/idictionary/filigree

    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!

    3 replies

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

    Haha thank you, that's very kind :)

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

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