Introduction: Make Your Own Deadmau5 Head

Picture of Make Your Own Deadmau5 Head

The famous deadmau5 icon has evolved over the years. This tutorial explains how to make a deadmau5 head like the red one worn with a business suit. The illustrations for the steps are a bit funky and are not to scale, but they convey the necessary information. Measurements are indicated by red lines and numbers in the diagrams, and all measurements are in inches. If you have any suggestions for improving any of these steps, please share them. (The part where you fit the felt over the mau5 head is especially tricky, so I’d love to know if anyone has good strategies for that step.)

Step 1: Materials

For the list of materials, I included the brand and source of certain materials in brackets wherever I could. Materials are not listed in the order you need them.

32 oz. all-purpose glue (you may need more, but this is a good amount to start with) [Elmer’s, JoAnn]
1 can spray adhesive [Elmer’s Multi-Purpose 4oz, Kmart]
2 medium-sized plastic bowls (one with an airtight lid)
1 inflatable beach ball (14” diameter) [Kmart]
1 hard hat [Lowe's]
three 22”x28” sheets of foam board
2 packages of epoxy glue [E-B Weld], OR 1 can of epoxy paint
1¾ yards of 72” felt (whichever color you want the mau5 head to be) [JoAnn]
6”x18” piece of wire mesh
18”x18” piece of sheer white fabric
two 4½-inch tap lights [Goodwill]
several sheets of newspaper
2-3 metal coat hangers
several fist-sized chunks of very stiff Styrofoam
masking tape
string (any color)
craft knife or razor blade (USE VERY CAREFULLY)
utility knife
wire cutters
hand drill
plastic dinner knife, OR a cheap 1” wide paint brush (depending on whether you chose epoxy glue or epoxy paint)
screwdriver that fits the screws in the tap lights
high-temperature hot glue gun
dozens of hot glue sticks
thread (any color)
sewing pins
permanent marker
tape measure
optional: spray paint for inside surface of mau5 head, electrical tape to make crosses over eyes, LEDs or electroluminescent (EL) wire to add spectacular lighting

Step 2: Main Headpiece

Picture of Main Headpiece

Cover your work space with newspaper. Cut lots of newspaper strips, each about 1”x11”. Inflate the beach ball, and place it over the plastic bowl to keep it steady while you papier-mâché. Mix two parts all-purpose glue with one part water in the plastic bowl with an airtight lid. Begin to papier-mâché: immerse a strip of newspaper in the glue solution, lift the strip out, and use your fingers to wipe the excess solution down into the bowl (see illustration). Carefully lay and smooth the wet paper strip onto the beach ball. Continue laying strips down in the pattern shown in the illustration until the ball is covered (except for the air plug). Tie a piece of string securely around the air plug, and hang the beach ball in the air to let it dry until the next day. Cover the glue solution bowl right after you finish using it. Repeat these steps until you have done nine layers of papier-mâché, and save any extra glue solution for more papier-mâché later. When the ninth layer is dry, deflate and remove the beach ball. Optional: spray-paint the inside of the mau5 head and let it dry.

Step 3: Ear & Lip Pieces

Picture of Ear & Lip Pieces

Using a craft knife or razor blade (Be super careful!), cut out two lip pieces and four ear pieces from the foam board.

Step 4: Eye & Mouth Holes

Picture of Eye & Mouth Holes

Carefully measure out and mark up the holes for the eyes, mouth, and base opening on the mau5 head. (The base opening should be centered where the air plug was.) Using a utility knife, cut out the holes. I found that a “punching” technique worked best for cutting the thick material: punch the blade in, pull out, go a little distance, repeat as you go gradually along your cutting lines.

Step 5: Ear Reinforcements

Picture of Ear Reinforcements

Cut and bend the coat hangers to make reinforcing wires for two of the ear pieces. Use pliers to make the wires lay as flat as possible on the ear pieces, and hot glue them in the arrangement shown in the diagram. (The wires should stick out about 1” beyond the ear base. These will be the prongs for inserting the ears into the head.) Press the other two ear pieces onto the wire-reinforced ones (sandwiching the wires in between the ear pieces), and hot glue them together near the edges. (Hold the edges together tightly until the glue has cooled.)

Step 6: Ear Attachment

Picture of Ear Attachment

Mark the areas on the mau5 head where the ear prongs will be inserted. Use a hand drill with a drill bit matched to the size of the prongs to drill holes for them. Carefully stick each ear’s prongs through the holes to set the ears in place. Then, use shorter strips of newspaper to papier-mâché the edges of the ears together and the ear bases to the head (1-2 layers should be enough).

Step 7: Lip Attachment

Picture of Lip Attachment

LAST PAPIER-MÂCHÉ STEP: Secure the lips just inside the mouth edges with masking tape, then apply 1-2 layers of papier-mâché along the mouth edges.

Step 8: Overall Reinforcement

To reinforce the head structure, apply a layer of epoxy over the front and back of the head and over the seams between the head and ears. Follow the epoxy package instructions for how long to let it dry.

Step 9: Felt Covering

Picture of Felt Covering

Cut felt pieces as shown in the diagram. Spray-adhere the long felt strips along the ear edges, and then adhere the big ear pieces to both sides of the ears. If needed, trim excess felt off the ear edges and use hot glue to glue down any places the spray adhesive missed near the edges. Lay the center of the 36”x36” felt piece over the center of the head, and cut a side slit up to the top edge of each ear. Spray-adhere the very top of the felt to the top of the head. Stretch the back flap of felt tight across the back of the head, trimming the bottom edge so that it goes just 1” past the base opening of the head. (The extra inch is for folding the edge under to the inside of the head.) Stretch the front flap of felt tight across the front of the head, and carefully cut out shapes for the eye and mouth holes, making the eye shapes 1” narrower than the eye holes, and the mouth shape 1” narrower than the mouth hole. Cut ¾” slits in the felt around the eye holes to make it easier to fold the felt down inside. Trim excess felt where the front and back flaps overlap at the sides of the head. (A little overlap is allowed, but keep it at an inch or less so that the surface looks as smooth as possible.) Use spray adhesive to stick the felt in place over the mau5 head, and be sure to work with a little at a time so that you can minimize the wrinkling of felt. When you reach the point of folding the felt edges to the inside of the head, you may want to use hot glue because I found that to be much easier than spray adhesive.

Step 10: Eyes and Hard Hat

Picture of Eyes and Hard Hat

Disassemble the tap lights. Set the tap light domes into the eye holes from the inside of the head, and hot glue them into place. Insert the hard hat into the mau5 head and put on the mau5 head, shifting the hard hat inside so that it is balanced just right. The mau5 head’s upper lip and your line of vision straight ahead should be parallel, as shown in the diagram. CAREFULLY take off the mau5 head WITHOUT MOVING the hard hat inside it, and set it down with the base opening facing up toward you. Take the Styrofoam chunks and break small pieces off of them to fit them into several specific spaces between the surface of the hard hat and the inside wall of the mau5 head. Squirt hot glue onto opposite sides of the Styrofoam chunks (as explained in diagram), and wedge the Styrofoam tightly into each space so that it is very secure. Also hot glue the hard hat brim to the inside wall of the mau5 head.

Step 11: Mouth Covering

Picture of Mouth Covering

Trim the piece of wire mesh into the shape of the mouth as shown in the diagram. Also cut 2-3 pieces of sheer white fabric in the same shape. (The number of fabric pieces you cut will depend on how many layers it takes for you to see through the layers, but people can’t see through them to your face.) Use masking tape to tape over the edges of the mesh to keep them from snagging anything. Pin the layers of sheer fabric together and sew them to one side of the mesh, using ½”-long stitches about ½” from the edge of the mesh. As you sew, try to keep the fabric smooth with no ripples in it. Hot glue the finished mouth covering to the inside edges of the mau5 head lips.

Step 12: Optional Accessories

Picture of Optional Accessories

Optional: accessorize your mau5 head with electrical tape X’s over the eyes or with LEDs or EL wire. (Look for other tutorials for how to work with LEDs or EL wire.)  I used EL wire to make it look like a Tron Legacy deadmau5.  What cool details can you come up with?


promqu33n (author)2015-10-17

I used $2 plastic christmas ornament halves from Michael's craft store that are 3" across. They are clear and I spray painted inside white. They will be glued gunned to the outside head. For the lights, I got the LED Mini Tealight Plastic Candles at Michael's for $9 for a 4 pack. These ones change colours and are battery operated so I can just switch them on before I put my head on. I will create a small hole in the paper mache and glue gun them to the inside of the head. Easy and cheap!

TofuCube12 (author)promqu33n2015-10-22

Those are great ideas! Thank you for sharing them. Good luck with the project!

AndrewJO (author)2015-05-28

This will be the best thing I have ever made so far in my life

amacdonald9 made it! (author)2015-04-08

I made thses two last year

TofuCube12 (author)amacdonald92015-04-09

Very nice work! What kind of lighting did you use? And did you follow a tutorial for the lighting setup or figure it out on your own?

greenwolf (author)2013-10-21

I helped Joel's girl make this head a couple of years back. Used a 14 in clear globe and pink fabric.

TofuCube12 (author)greenwolf2013-10-22

Very nicely done! What kind of fabric is it? It looks almost like velvet.

Lziggy (author)2012-11-03

This is my sons Deadmau 5 costume I maded for him.

TofuCube12 (author)Lziggy2012-11-05

Excellent job, thanks for sharing! I bet he loves it!

chansta (author)2012-10-19

I have a fairly large head and I had trouble finding one that was 14" so I used a 16" here it is after 9 layers. One question, is there a substitute for epoxy like some special paper mâché strengthener that's more readily available or not so expensive that I could use instead? I'm kinda poor at the moment.

I'm a bit of a nerd so I'm going to wire up some led's that surround the ears and depending on the surrounding music level they will act like a equaliser higher up the ear for louder music and more further down for lower volumes. Can't wait to get to the fun part :p

TofuCube12 (author)chansta2012-10-19

I have a larger skull, too, and the 14" ball worked well for me, but the 16" should be a close match. I see you're off to a great start! As for a strengthening alternative to epoxy, I don't know of any to recommend, but you may find something if you go to a hardware store and ask one of the employees for advice. I like your idea of creating an equalizer effect!

Lziggy (author)TofuCube122012-10-22

Why do you paper. Mache the ears to the head first isn't that harder to put the material on afterwards? I am in the middle of doing this project for my son. Also how do you put the eyes in to stay in place.



TofuCube12 (author)Lziggy2012-10-22

I didn't think about waiting to attach the ears after covering the head with fabric, but that may be a good idea to try.

For the eyes:
When you take apart the lights, the plastic dome pieces should have a narrow ridge that goes all the way around the dome's circumference. This ridge will allow you to glue the eye into place from the inside of the head since the ridge extends beyond the width of the eye socket.

What I did was:

1. set the piece on a table with the dome facing up
2. apply hot glue along the ridge
3. quickly set the dome piece against the inside of the mau5 head's eye socket
4. hold the dome piece firmly in place until the glue cools.

Remember to do this in Step 10, after you have covered the head with fabric.

Lziggy (author)TofuCube122012-10-22

Great thanks I will post a picture when I finish. I am having trouble finding the lights for the eyes. And I hope I find them before Halloween. LOL
I love the way you did you head very cool. where did you get the led lights to make it look like tron and are they battery operated.

TofuCube12 (author)Lziggy2012-10-23

I found my eye lights at Goodwill, but you might find them at Walmart or Kmart if you have one of those stores near you.

The green lights are actually EL wire from
I bought two pre-assembled kits (battery packs included). The kits are available in lengths of 3 to 9 feet. Here's the webpage:

ReDFoxx_14 (author)2012-08-15

how many layers do you need???

Lziggy (author)ReDFoxx_142012-10-22

9 layers

TofuCube12 (author)ReDFoxx_142012-08-15

Do you mean complete layers of newspaper? Nine layers, as it says at the end of the paragraph.

Lziggy (author)2012-10-21

Why do you paper. Mache the ears to the head first isn't that harder to put the material on afterwards? I am in the middle of doing this project for my son. Also how do you put the eyes in to stay in place.


supermau5 (author)2012-05-13

Cool i amm going to start making a head for my sisters friend so she can give it to her as a bd present!!

TofuCube12 (author)supermau52012-05-14

Awesome! More power to ya!

deadmau5man101 (author)2012-04-03

im gonna start making my maul head this week and ure the first 1 i found

Great! I hope it is helpful. Good luck!

Thanks i'll be needing it. MAU5 FOREVER!!!!

Cri5alfa_21 (author)2012-03-13

So with the way u made it, do your eyes light up? It doesn't sound like hey do but I'm thinking if I glue them in without dissassembling them they could still work...any thoughts?

TofuCube12 (author)Cri5alfa_212012-03-14

My mau5's eyes don't light up, but yeah, I have a friend who made a mau5 head following my instructions, and she just hot-glued the fully intact lights inside the eye holes. As long as you're careful to glue them securely, they should stay in place just fine and allow you to have light-up eyes!

An additional thing that my friend did was to have her dad replace the bulbs in the lights with colored Christmas light bulbs that he soldered in. Just a thought if you happened to want colored eyes. :)

sethro34 (author)2012-02-12

How much does all of the materials cost in all?

TofuCube12 (author)sethro342012-02-14

Read the comments at the bottom of this page.

sethro34 (author)2012-02-12

How did we get the head? I feel that you skipped a ton of steps.

TofuCube12 (author)sethro342012-02-14

Do you mean the main sphere that becomes the mau5 head? The way to make that is described in Step 2.

hlsiao (author)2011-12-29

How much does the head weigh after you finish the paper mache?

TofuCube12 (author)hlsiao2011-12-30

Hmm, that's a good question. I don't have a scale to weigh it, but my finished mau5 head feels to be around 4 pounds. Sorry I don't have a more accurate answer. Hope this helps, though.

dodo1095 (author)2011-12-29

Do you have to let it dry after every/ an certain amount of layers or can you do it all at once?

TofuCube12 (author)dodo10952011-12-29

I let it dry overnight after each layer. Another instructables user said he used a hairdryer to speed up the drying process.

xxwerdxx (author)2011-12-26

I'm ordering my EL wire and I need an inverter. Idk what this is and which kind to get. What'd you do?

TofuCube12 (author)xxwerdxx2011-12-27

I'm in the same boat as you in that I don't know much about inverters, either. I bought a pre-assembled EL wire kit that came with a battery pack already set up with the wire. There was just a clip that connected a wire from the battery pack to the EL wire. The kits aren't cheap, but they saved me the headache of trying to make an EL wire setup myself. Here's the link to the kit I ordered (available in lengths of 3-9 feet):

Uberwolfman (author)2011-12-12

So for the eyes I am using styroform balls that are the same measurements as the tap lights. (Parents did not wanna waste 10 bucks on two of them) is there any problem in that if I cut them in half and use paint to make the surface look more smoother? Also what kind of inverter did you order? I am also wanna use battery power.

TofuCube12 (author)Uberwolfman2011-12-15

I think painting the styrofoam will work okay. The styrofoam may absorb some of the paint, so you may end up applying a few coats of paint to make the surface smooth.

As for the inverter, I don't know what kind it is because it just came with the pre-assembled EL wire kit. There was just a clip that connected a wire from the battery pack to the EL wire. It was really easy to set up; I just had to clip those wires together and install batteries in the pack. The kits aren't cheap, but they saved me the headache of trying to make an EL wire setup myself. Here's the link to the kit I ordered (available in lengths of 3-9 feet):

nbiaggini (author)2011-10-30

Hi, im from latinamerica and I would like to know, those measures are inches or cm?
Sorry the bad english haha (:

TofuCube12 (author)nbiaggini2011-10-31

The measurements are in inches. :)

amcgrath1 (author)2011-10-29

this is really cool almost done with mine btw you look really cute with the deadmau5 costume

TofuCube12 (author)amcgrath12011-10-31

Cool, you should share a picture of your mau5 head when you finish it! And thanks for the compliment; the Tron deadmau5 costume has been a big hit so far at sci-fi/gaming/animé conventions. In the future I may make a rhinestone-covered mau5 head...

Danying (author)2011-10-29

Do you put the lip prices on the top and bottom? Or just bottom?

TofuCube12 (author)Danying2011-10-31

You put the lip pieces into both the top and the bottom of the mouth.

The3rdPunch (author)2011-10-28

How much does this cost without lighting? Reply ASAP

TofuCube12 (author)The3rdPunch2011-10-29

I don't have an exact estimate, but it should cost around 75-100 dollars, if you already have the necessary tools.

The3rdPunch (author)TofuCube122011-10-29

Ok thanks.

My only other question is about how long does it take to make?
Do you know if it can be done before halloween?

TofuCube12 (author)The3rdPunch2011-10-31

Sorry I didn't get to reply before the day of Halloween! :0 As far as how long it takes, you can figure on 9 days to complete Step 2, and then at least a few days to complete the remaining steps if you can devote 3-4 hours to work on the project each day.

zeaton (author)2011-10-24

How the the paper mache hold up? I am begging this. and I see all other methods using acrylic globes and hamster balls? Please help.

TofuCube12 (author)zeaton2011-10-25

So far it has held up fine for me. The ears have sometimes been hit by walls/doorways/people and have not suffered any damage. I've never dropped my mau5 head on the ground, but I don't think it would break if I did. I think the only thing that would weaken the papier-mâché is if it got really wet. So if you keep the mau5 head dry and don't drop it, you should be fine. Also, coating the papier-mâché in epoxy glue/paint (as in Step 8 of my instructable) should help to strengthen the mau5 head. Thanks for asking! I hope this explanation helps.

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