Introduction: Illuminating Forest Ghost Low-Cost Recycling Mask Making Tutorial
I created a costume for an event called "WaldWeinacht" close to Berlin, Germany. It was my first mask I ever made. Due to environmental reasons and a rather low budget of 70€ I decided to go for recycling materials as much as possible. Basically I used paper maché for shaping and cardboard for the construction of the base. You will need these materials:
- Cardboard -> lots of it + good scissors + boxcutters
- Multi-tool with wood grinder bit
- Old Foam Matress
- Hot Glue -> lots of it + hot glue pistol
- Paper Maché (pm) (I modified this recipe: "Paper Maché (pm) )
-> I replaced "Elmers Glue" with this recipe: "Homemade Elmer's Glue"
- table tennis balls or in my case 3d printed eyes
- portable christmas led lights
- tanned skin of sheep for the beard (get it for free at your local shepard)
- moss from the forest -> dry it before
- Airbrush set with a vareity of colors of your choice + some spray cans for the priming coat (saves money for big surfaces)
- some branches
Step 1: Design the Framework
First you will have to cut the cardboard into thin stripes and then adapt them to the heads shape in terms of forming a carrying framework that will hold everything in place. Remember that it has to fit perfectly later too. If you plan to make a big and heavy mask, like ours, you will have to implement some soft foam to make it comfortable to wear. It should fit so perfecty, that the person carrying it, doesnt realize its wearing the mask at all ;)
Step 2: Add External Shape
Once your framework is done, try to imitate the shape of the final mask proportions as best as possible with the cardboard. Reason is, the less pm we use, the lighter it will be in the end. Here on these pictures you see a mistake we did, we havnt defined the nose with cardboard, so it felt of.
Step 3: Use Cardboard for Details
See here I shapes the nose out of cardboard to stabilize it. It worked out fine. You can also start to cover the mask with a fine layer of pm and work in branches or so on. Remember to use only as little as possible in terms of the weight. Its a good decision to start texturizing now! The less work you will have later on with the multi-tool carver. Just use the edge of cardboard or any tool to imitate textures.
-> remember: to make the pm merge with the cardboard surface, you really need to have it properly mixed up like a dough. Then spread it with your thumb on the cardboard. You will need the right moisture of the pm to merge them perfectly. Please feel free to adjust the recipe of the pm according to your projects needs. Mix in more flour or water to get a dough like consistency.
Step 4: Drying Time
Give it a day or so to dry and do some adjustments. Put in more styrofoam or reshape parts for your convenience to assure highest wearing comfort. Then start to shape the mask and its textures with the multitool grinder.
Step 5: Try the Beard On
Well it seems to fit. So later we will glue it tight.
Step 6: Make It Glow in the Dark and Carving Time
We had the opportunity to print some exclusive eye balls with the local StartUp BioInspiration and their biodegradable fillings made from corn starch. Awesome guys! Behind the eyeballs we positioned the eye balls with the led christmas lights stuffed into them and with the switch on top of the mask. It is therefore in range for the actor inside.
At this stage the mask is fully dried, if not.. just try to shape it anyway ;) You now can further work out the details of your texture. I used a multi-tool with wood carving drill bit. (its lays in the background of the picture) This may produce dust, so please wear a mask to protect your lungs.
Step 7: Primer Coat Application
We used a spray can to primer the mask with a brownish coat. The eye balls were done with a more detailled airbrush system. Better do the priming outside!
Step 8: Design the Body Armor
I dont want to get too much into detail on this one. Its more or less just pieces of cardboard pinned together (little needles from letters -> turned out to be a rather bad choice in terms of stability) and some pieces of old foam matress hot glued onto it (recycling! and remember not to cut them but to tear them apart) Also prime coated outside and arranged with some moss.
Step 9: Final Touch
Beard is applied, moss and ivy and some nice fabrics. We removed the bright green fabric. The paint was also finished by setting shadows and highlights with the airbrush. Unfortunately we ran out of time, so we had to rush with the last parts a little. Otherwise I would have spent more time for it. The final costume will be on stilts.
Step 10: Final Mask
Here the mask is finished and waiting for the transport.
Hope you like this little tutorial. Let me know if you have any questions.
Step 11: WaldWeinacht Event
Hope to get some more pictures from the local press soon.