Introduction: Plague Doctor Mask
This is my first instructibles post so I will do my best to explain the steps and details involved in making this mask. Unfortunately I didn't take some pics but I will do my best to explain regardless.
This mask was made for a friends son for Halloween. I measured the width and length of his face to make sure the mask would fit as it is not flexible. I also measured (roughly) from the top of his head to his eye level for the eye location on the mask.
Step 1: Creating the Form
I purchased a styrofoam head and used some scrap foam I had to begin shaping the beak to look the way I wanted it to. I did some online research of other masks and found a particular look/shape I liked. The beak was carved with a steak knife :) and then sanded until I was satisfied with the look of it. I then attached the beak with expanding insulation foam (Home Depot) and let it dry. I cut and sanded away the excess.
Step 2: Paper Mache Under Structure
Next, I used foil and covered the top half of the mask as it's a good release medium for this application.
I then whipped up a batch of simple paper mache glue (elmers glue and water) and began the tedious process of applying layers. I suggest playing some good music as you will be here awhile! ;) I like to apply the layers in one direction first and then switch to the opposite direction with each layer. I believe I did three layers of paper mache. I waited a day, flipped the head upside down and did the same process. Before moving on to the next step let it dry completely. Usually 2-3 days
Step 3: Trimming and Fitting the Eye Pieces
Once dry, I trimmed up around the mask opening with scissors. I then filled the beak with expanding foam for durability. Probably not necessary but that's what I choose to do.
Next, I used some black plastic plumbing fittings (P trap fittings) which I purchased from Home Depot. I unscrewed the two pieces and placed the male fittings at the appropriate level for the eyes on the face of the mask. Using a sharpie I drew around fitting and then used my Dremel tool to cut the eye openings (pictures not included, sorry about that). I made sure both pieces fit properly and then removed.
This step I do not have pics of but it's a pretty simple process. I took the female screw on fittings and used some gold and white spray paint and spritzed some paint on to the fittings to give it a textured/aged look (see pics). I also purchased a pair of cheap goggles from Home Depot and cut out lenses to fit inside the goggle eyes. (Sorry, didn't take pics of this step but I think it's a pretty simple step to figure out).
Step 4: Painting
Now it's time for paint! While probably not a necessary step I decided to paint the mask with flat black paint prior to applying the burlap. Burlap is a weaved material and I didn't want any newspaper showing through, even a little.
Step 5: Burlap Application
Once dry I taped off the inside of the mask and eye holes. I then precut the black burlap to fit roughly. I left some excess as I didn't want to not have enough and any excess can be trimmed after. I believe I ended up with 5 pieces of burlap (sorry for lack of photos here). I used 3M spray adhesive and did one area at a time. Make sure you have a good layer of the adhesive on each section and then press/rub the fabric in place. I did not let each section dry before doing the next, I just did one at a time and then let it dry for a day. Using scissors and a razor blade (or exacto knife) trim off excess burlap
Step 6: Simple Detail Painting
I then used the same spritzing process I used on the eyes on the mask. This adds a nice simple textured/aged look.
Step 7: Assembling the Eye Pieces
Once everything was dry I assembled the goggle eyes into the mask. I realized that with the mask on (only for a few moments) the lenses started to fog up. So I decided to drill some holes on the edges of the p trap fittings to allow them to vent. I then took the small vent pieces that came on the goggles from Home Depot and cut them off, painted them to match and epoxied them into place.
Step 8: The Finished Mask
The final step was not photographed but we used Velcro straps that were epoxied into place in order to hold the mask on the face. It worked out nicely.
Well, that's it! Hope you enjoyed this instructible. I do have other projects to share that I will eventually post here. If you have any questions regarding this mask feel free to ask.
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