Giant Mask: Fang!





Introduction: Giant Mask: Fang!

About: I Build Monsters.

In 1969 Rankin-Bass, the stop-motion animation studio behind classic holiday specials like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and A Year Without a Santa Claus, released their very first theatrical feature film. The stop-motion feature was called Mad Monster Party, and featured Boris Karloff as the voice of Baron Frankenstein. The Baron is planning to retire and has invited all his old colleagues - the Invisible Man, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Wolf-Man and so forth - to his castle for a party where he intends to announce his successor.

In the film, Phyllis Diller provides the voice of the Monster's Mate (essentially the Bride of Frankenstein) and her husband is called Fang. Fang is clearly modeled after Karloff's original Universal Pictures makeup, and even looks a little bit like old Boris.

This giant papier-mache mask, while not intended as an exact replica, is inspired by the Fang puppet from Mad Monster Party.



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    Hi there - just discovered your FABULOUS work today!!! In LOVE with "Fang" and "Frankenberry"!!! I am excited to see if I can make a mask of a vintage pumpkin head and watermelon head. Have you posted instructions on the beginning stages - setting up the armature. I'm wondering how they rest on your head. Do you place something inside the mask/head to rest upon your head? Any information you can provide would be very helpful! Thanks so much!

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    Typically, movement of the mask has not been a major problem. On many of the larger masks, they are constructed so that I can reach the back of the mask with the back of my head, which gives me a lot of control. Since most of the features built onto the masks are in the front, if I tip my head forward then gravity will typically center the mask and then I can just lift it up with the back of my head again.

    Once in a while, with certain masks, I will need to make a slight manual adjustment, but for the most part it's a nonissue.

    With the clown mask and the Toyman mask, the costumes involved a collar of some sort (a black ruffled tutu on the clown, and the big pillow/bowtie for the Toyman. Those acted as shock absorbers for my collarbones, and essentially the masks just sat still on top of them. I could fully turn my head from side to side within the mask, and the mask itself never moved. Which made it extra creepy. If necessary, it would be pretty easy to place a small pad/pillow of some sort within the mask, affixed to the back, to provide comfort and alter the way the mask sits on your shoulders! But I don't really do much to engineer these things BEFORE I build them, I focus on making the mask I want, and then figure out how to wear it!

    I made one of these for my front door at Halloween a few years ago. It was awesome, and a big hit with the neighborhood. Thank you! I lost a lot of stuff when I moved cross country, so I might have to do it again. Great work, great idea, and great tutorial

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    Where can i watch Mad Monster Party? I Checked Youtube....

    Nice work man.  I once made a big bad wolf costume.  I was wondering do you use anything else besides card board for forming.  I used tin foil and foam for my forms before paper mache.  I found that the paper mache seemed to get heavy quick if I used to much.  I will have to post some photos.  Keep up the good work.  How did you end up fitting the head pieces on?  

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     Nah, I've always just used cardboard, rolled newspaper and tape.  Not that I am opposed to experimenting, but I always make this stuff on the cheap and I can get cardboard and newspapers for free!

    It does get heavy, which can be a problem but none of my masks have been designed for comfort.  I figure, if I'm the only one who has to wear it, and I don't mind, then that's good enough!

    mrfoltz. I did some research on papier mache mask making and the one article I read suggested using a final few layers not of newspaper but of a good quality "new" finely shredded toilet paper mixed with wallpaper paste/size and linseed oil also with some white chalk dust.. It is apparenlty similar to the same finish as is used on the masks made in Venice. I've tried it with varying degrees of success. They suggest coating the mask with a primer/sealer before painting as the linseed oil can cause the inks to bleed through. The oil apparently solidifies the paper making harder. Be careful if you try this as it can add quite a bit of weight. Another product you can try other than papier mache is a product called wonderflex. It is a thermal plastic that when heated with a heat gun can form compound curves and can bound to itself. It is expensive, $120.00 per 3' by 5' sheet. And you have to coat it in another product either gesso, which can crack or a product call Friendly plastic which you can then paint over. Hope this helps

    BTW everything I used in my pics was cardboard, packing tape, and then fiberglass... but using paper mache over them is a great ideal, it would get the sculptures smoother... .... I LOVE INSTRUCTABLES ...i've learned so much ... Hopefully i'll be able to return the favour and... my next big project i'll take more pics during the process and post???? Thanks again...

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    Those are some terrific sculpts! I have never used fiberglass resin so I don't know how that process compares to papier-mache... The only trouble with the paper process is that it can be pretty time-consuming, but that really depends on how strong you need it to be. Is the fiberglass resin sandable? I It's pretty easy to get a nice surface with papier-mache, but you can also sand it to make it even better. Once the paper process is done (and after I've sanded it, if I choose to do so) I coat it with a latex primer, usually Killz (because it's cheap, especially if you steal a can out of the basement of your apartment building). I would love to try fiberglass sometime. How expensive is that stuff? I started out with papier-mache just because I live in Chicago and there are 30 thousand free weekly newspapers that I can just take and use. I've also heard of people employing plaster of paris for many of the same sorts of projects, but I have only ever used that for casting. I'd love to see some more of your stuff, especially a full-on instructable from beginning to end! Coming Soon: the Monster Hands that I am making to go with my Horror Head!

    I have been fiber-glassing just over the cardboard... but I think your technique of adding paper mache on top first, would give it a more finished look... Or maybe even a paper pulp/mache mixture??? Actually, you paint a few coats of fiberglass resin on top of the paper mache, -instead of the latex- ( one coat at a time) it will absorb into it and it would become hard as a rock-And very light... but you have to work fast because it dries fast, depending on the temp and humidity... It's a 2 part process but takes time to learn the right mixture (resin +hardener) without too many I've added too much hardener once and it became very smokey... (chemical reaction)... It HAS to be done outside because of the smell... with a mask!!! I don't know if they have an intructable on here for it though? Yes you can sand it after it fully dries. each coat if you want. I find Marine fiberglass resin instead of Auto resin is the best...(cheaper too) (and water proof - for outdoor stage). Living in a Port city , like you do, it should be cheap as borsht... lol After you sand and paint on a good primer (i use auto spray primer <-cheaper here) you can use anything like paints, felt pens, makeup etc... what ever you have and can find... then a fixative to protect it (I've used my sculptures mostly for community theatre and can be banged around a lot)...

    WOW! someone who thinks like I do... I have that movie on DVD.... I love your mask...I have been working , volunteering for theatre groups in Wpg, mB, Canada making masks and sculptures and because of $$$ and ease, I too have used cardboard a lot but haven't played around with paper mache much yet ... But I find your stuff inspiring!!! What do you use to cover it before you paint it? Is it Gesso? I use fiberglass resin myself but like the ideal of using paper mache to smooth it out is great...


    Bravo, very well done. Thanks for sharing!