Introduction: Leather Cthulhu Mask
Runner Up in the
Halloween Costume Contest 2015
>veg-tanned leather (I used a 5 oz shoulder with a gator pattern)
>1/2-Inch Arch Punch
>Mini Leather Punch Set
>Polymer Stamping Mallet
>X-Small Rapid Rivets
>X-Small Rivet Setter
>1/2" Center Bar Buckle
>1/2" Oblong Punch
>Strap End Punch
>poly cutting board
Step 1: Set Up
To get started, cut a large section of leather out of the main piece. What you cut should be wide enough to go from ear to ear. Be sure to take the contours of your face into account, and give yourself a little extra leather to work with. (you can always cut off any excess later) You also want to leave plenty of length for the tentacles.
Next, you want to round off the top of the head. You can eyeball it, or do what I did: attach a pencil to a string and make an arc. use your scissors to cut semi-circle.
Always use a poly cutting board, or cutting mat when using knives, rotary cutters, and punches!
Step 2: Eyes
Fold the mask in half, and align it with either side of your face. Use your available eye and fingers to note where the mask's eyes should be placed. Using a large hole punch, and with the leather still folded, punch out your eye-holes.
Place the mask over your face, and make sure the holes align with your eyes. Using a pencil, create the eye shape you want on one of the eyes. cut out that eye shape. To make the other eye symmetrical to the first one, put the piece you just cut out back in place, and fold the mask in half again so that the original hole punches line up, and so that the eye shape you previously cut out is on top. remove the shape again, and trace the outline of the eye shape onto the other half of the mask. Check out the photos to see what I'm talking about.
Step 3: Tentacles
Place the mask over your face, and feel for a spot just below your nose. Mark this spot on the inside of the mask.
Using a right angle, mark a horizontal line straight across the mask going through that point. After that, make a vertical line from that point, straight down to the bottom of the mask. (see the 4th picture)
Decide how thick you want your tentacles to be. (I chose 1/2" for the green mask, and 1 1/4" for the red one)
Using your ruler, and the smallest punch in your kit, space out your hole punches accordingly along the horizontal line, starting at the center. When all the holes are punched, use the clear ruler and rotary cutter to make parallel lines from the bottom to the top, stopping just before you reach the holes. Use the utility knife to finish the cut up into the punched holes, or risk accidentally cutting into your mask with the rotary blade!
clean up the edges of the mask if needed, and round off the tentacles with a strap end punch. If you don't have one, use a knife. (Last two pictures).
Step 4: Nose
I decided to add nostrils to the green mask. Holding the mask to my face, I used my fingernails to mark where to place the nose holes. Select a punch from your mini hole punch kit and give yourself a little room to breathe.
Step 5: Wet Forming
This is the heart of it. Wet Forming is what makes this mask A MASK.
Heat your oven to 175 °F, and line the middle rack with waxed paper.
Fill up your sink with water deep enough to submerge the mask.
Once your oven is ready, submerge your mask for 20-30 seconds. Submerge longer for thicker leather. You want the leather evenly saturated and pliable, but not soggy. place the wet mask in the oven on top of the waxed paper.
You're going to leave the mask in for an initial 10 minutes. (set a timer!) after 10 minutes, you should be able to take the mask out of the oven with your bare hands. The leather will be very warm, but manageable. Let it cool if you're sensitive to heat.
This is where the fun really begins, and where you vision literally starts to take shape! Hold the mask to your face, and start pinching and creasing the mask with your fingers. Just the broad stoke this first time. Focus on the nose and the creases in the forehead. Place the mask back into the oven for 5 minutes.
For the remainder of the forming process, you will be leaving the mask in the oven for a period of 5 minutes at a time in between shaping.
On the second run stay focused on reiterating the nose and the forehead. after another five minutes, start to branch out into shaping the eyes, tentacles, and other facial structures. In following runs continue to add and solidify the details you want. As the mask dries, it will start to hold its shape more and more.
^^^See the pictures and notes for more details^^^
Step 6: Dye
Use the wool daubers to apply the dye to your mask. Start with the edges, then fill the rest in.
This is also the time to cut a couple of 1/2" straps from your leather. Dye these as well, and they will become your headband.
See pictures for more tips.
Step 7: Finish
You're going to want a leather finish to protect your dye. When it comes to masks, I love using a spray finish... it just makes life easier. It goes on evenly, and gets into all the nooks and crannies of the mask with minimal effort.
Apply even coats of finish to the front and back of the mask/straps. Wait about 5 minutes between each coat. Give the leather a minimum of two coats per side. Be sure to do this OUTSIDE, or in a well VENTILATED area.
Step 8: Head Strap
Lastly, we want to strap this to our head!
You should have made two straps.
Use one strap to measure from ear to ear. cut it to size giving yourself a few inches of slack. Now cut this strap into two pieces, making one side twice as long as the other (1/3 and 2/3 of the original strap). Attach a 1/2" buckle to the shorter piece. Punch small holes into one end of the longer strap, about 1/2" apart. This is going to make your adjustable strap.
Check out the following belt-making tutorial by MaineLineIndustries. Skip ahead to 7:07 to learn how to attach a buckle. If you want to learn how to make a belt, watch the whole vid! (this is where your oblong punch comes in)!
Now attach both straps to the mask with your extra small rapid rivets (see tutorial below). Attach them in such a way that the straps will rest above your ears when wearing the mask.
Lastly, fold the end of the other strap onto itself, making it large enough to pass the buckle strap through it. (See picture 4 above). Set it with a rivet. Make several hole on the other end of the strap to create an adjustable strap to secure on top of your head. Secure it with a Chicago Screw. (pictures 5 and 6)
You're all done! Have a great night celebrating The Great Old Ones!
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