Introduction: Majoras' Mask - Accurate Replica
So I've actually already did a version of Majora's Mask a couple of years ago and posted it on here ( https://www.instructables.com/id/Majoras-Mask-Replica/ ) and as it was one of my first actual props it was...okay ot say the least. Photos were missing, techniques were average and the end product was average in my opinion. I recently decided to remake it so it could be a wall decoration/cosplay mask, and it has come out looking great.
The materials needed for this build include:
Sculpting medium and tools: I used Monsters Clay (medium hardness) again, any sulphur free clay works.
Plastic sphere/ball: I think it was called a clear bauble, it comes in 2 halves and it worked well as eyes.
Sanding tools: Some low and high grit sandpapers, and a rotatory tool to smooth the clay and detail the eyes.
Wooden dowel/pipe/something cylindrical: This is so you have something to attach the horns to the mask/ensure they are in the right place.
Molding Silicone, thickening agent and Release agent: I used Pinksil silicone (self releasing so no release agent needed), and Cabolix powder (which thickens this silicone). The SmoothOn silicone would be Rebound.
Casting Resin: EasyCast was what I used, 2 part resin mixed 1:1 by volume and can be tinted. SmoothCast 65D should be the same thing.
Plaster bandage/Fibreglass: Used to make the mothershell (keeps the silicone locked in place)
Painting tools: Now I used a airbrush and compressor for almost everything, but this can be done with some acrylic paints and nice brushes.
Extra stuff: Glue, Magnets and/or removable wall hooks for assembly and decoration, latex free gloves (some silicones/resins react badly with latex), dust mask or respirator (fumes and Cabolix are very bad). A small piece of PVC sheet or Acrylic sheet can also be needed.
Now lets start.
Step 1: Sculpting the Body and Horns
First we need a rough template to work on. I bought a digital pdf from CuteMonsterProps here, which was to scale and gave me a rough design on how to make it. Then I kept adding clay around the border until I made a 'heart', and smoothed it down a bit with a flat loop tool. Then I used a new trick I learned since my first attempt, using rough sandpaper you can smooth the clay down significantly and use Artist turpentine to clean it up (it 'dissolves'/melts the clay shavings). Repeat with a progressively higher sandpaper until it is smooth as you want.
We'll get back to the body later as we need some horns to plan details around. Take a lump of clay and roll it into a horn shape, and alter the thinness of the base until you are satisfied. I kept holding it to the sides of the mask and marking where the 4 horns would go on each side to ensure decent placement/width. Once it is the basic shape you want, cut off a small piece of dowel/pipe and stick it on the bottom, this will work as both the pour spout for molding/casting and as something to lock the horn into place. Now take a wirebrush tool and start to scratch the surface of the horn, trying to make a wooden grain, and apply some more artist turps/rubbing alcohol to smoothen it a little. It should have a nice groove pattern while still being smooth to the touch. I'll go into more details about how to mold and cast something later, but you essentially will make a box mold for the horns, cast 8 copies and use them to mark on the body where they will go. I did the same for the 2 long horns on top and made a seperate mold for them, but you just use the shorter ones 10 times instead. Now we can add details.
Step 2: Adding Eyes and Details
So to do the eyes, I wanted them to have a proper curve to them and be identical to each other (my last one had 1 bulgy eyeball). Take 1/2 of the bauble, cover part of it up with clay and mold the top dome part of it, basically to where you want the eyes diameter to be. Pour in some silicone, let it cure and cast a dome piece. I recommend doing some test pieces to see exactly how much resin is needed to have 2 proper sized eyes (my white ones were way too small, and I had detailed them before realising it). Mine worked out to be about 70ml of mixed resin for a 8cm diameter eye from a 10cm diameter bauble, so it is very much guess work. Using a metal clay tool and the sanding drum of my rotatory tool, carve in the pupil and some eye veins. You could just paint them on as well, but this seemed more consistent to me for future castings.
I chose the eye placement based on the template I bought, but you can make a line down the middle and just mark points that are the same distance apart to ensure some symmetry. Using some pintape I placed some marks where the 'eyelid' parts would face diagonally, used the end of an exacto to punch in some holes down the middle, and lightly sketched on the clay where the 'pipes' would be placed along the eyes and top. Roll up some more monster clay and make a thin tube piece, flatten one side with a loop tool a little and place it along the guide you drew. One side was flattened so the silicone wouldn't rip when removed and the clay could adhere better to the body.
To do the horn attachment parts, I still liked the idea from my original attempt where the horns were 'bursting' from the body, so I cut some PVC sheeting into 10 rings and built some clay around them to create this effect on the sides and two on the top. The middle of the hole made by the ring had a deeper hole for the pour spout of the horns to glue to (bad explanation, the photos show it better). Once the major details are done, I took some pointed tools and 'carved' in some wood grain effect along the whole mask to give it a more worn/aged look. Smooth out any last details and we can mold and cast this baby.
Step 3: Molding and Casting
So this is a messy part of the project, so breakout your latex free gloves and dust masks. Planning ahead here makes the later parts much easier, so I decided mold the face part first and then flip it over and mold a small wall/lip on the back to make sure resin reaches the edge of the mask. Mix up a small batch of silicone, Pinkysil is 1:1 mix ratio so I could eyeball it, and pour a detail coat on the whole mask. Pour slowly from about 30-40cm in the air, without a degassing machine this helps reduce any bubbles forming in the thin stream of silicone and ruining your mold. Repeat this until the whole mask is covered in a thin layer, this will capture all those tiny carved details. Now we need this a bit thicker and stronger, I have to mix in a powder called Cabolix into my part A and then mix that with part B, but other silicone products can probably use a liquid thickener agent which is significantly easier and safer (Cabolix is bad for lungs, use a dust mask when using). Keep adding on the thickened silicone until the entire mask is covered in a 'cake icing' consistency. Flip it over and make a small wall along the inner edge of the masks back and repeat the silicone steps again to create a lip.
Once it cures we can make a jacket shell, basically something hard that keeps the silicone in place when casting. I just used a couple of layers of plaster bandage, you can use some fibreglass for more strength though. Once that drys, remove the shell and carefully peel off the silicone. As you can see, it looks much cleaner than my old mold.
Now we can cast it in resin. Pinkysil is self releasing so I don't need a release agent/spray, so check if you need one first before casting. EasyCast mixes in a 1:1 volume ratio, so mix up couple of small batches of resin and just keep doing small coats of the mold. This reduces the chance of bubbles or defects in the cast. I used about ~500ml of resin in total for the body, so it wouldn't be too heavy. Let it cure, and you can take it out and ready it to paint.
Step 4: Painting
So this was my first major airbrush project, I used a Artlogic gun and compressor but this part can be done with brushes and acrylics as well. First the horns, they need to have an aged brown look as well as the coloured tips so take a light brown (raw sienna for me) and water it down to create a brown wash. Washing is taking watered down acrylics and brushing a light coat over the item, and either wiping it away with cloths to leave paint in cracks or grain, or leaving the thin coat to dry and leave a light colour coat over everything. I let my brown wash dry for 1-2 coats and you can see the effect, we have a old bone colour body and darker browns along the groves we sculpted before. Seal this with some matt clear coat to protect it from be rubbed off, and then take an old ratty brush (chip brush or $1 store ones), dip it into some colour, wipe most of it off and begin to dry brush the tips. Dry brushing is using the small amount of paint left in a brush to very lightly add colour to the high points of objects, so the colour won't go into the dark brown grooves of the horns. Seal them again once you are happy.
Now for the difficult part. I felt that working on a black base would make the colours 'pop' more and be easier to blend together, so I have the raw cast a coat of primer, a coat of flat black and a matt clear coat to seal it in (in case the paint tears it up, which happens...). I started with the purple, and then did the deep red on the eyes and face, added a layer of yellow onto the eyes working from the pupil out, having the yellow blend with the red along the outer edge of the eyes. Then airbrush in the orange on the top and then seal everything in a matt spray or varnish, as we will start masking directly onto the paints (airbrush paint has a habit of tearing with tape). Using some brushes, mix up the required colours and mask off the sides for the green and white, the top V and orange symbols, the mouth part, and the black bars along the crown of the mask. Use light coats and lightly thin the paints with water (a few drops to smoothen them out) to reduce brush marks, and once everything is painted do 1 last seal coat and you are done.
You can do another blackwash/brownwash if you wanted over everything to age the mask a little (I plan too), but this is fine.
Step 5: Finishing and Displaying
Finally we can attached everything and wall mount this beauty.Take the horns and dab some glue, epoxy or magnets onto the bottom of them and attach them into there places (make sure the order is correct). I wanted the eyes to seem a bit more realistic as the matt spray left them a little flat, so I added a few coast of clear gloss varnish with a brush (makes them look wet). I cast mine to have a slight lip along the top, and bought some removable wall hooks (with a .9kg weight strength) and hung it onto them.
And there you have it, a guide on how to make your own Majora's Mask. There are different methods to do this piece, you could make it using papercraft, air drying clay, papermache, any method is fine. I'm just more comfortable working with clay and resin. If you want to see more projects or even buy some of my work check out my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/PropsMatic/
Next up may be something of the N-Sane variety...