Introduction: Plague Doctor Mask for Halloween.
Here are the instructions for my plague doctor mask for Halloween.
The principles of this method can easily be adapted to make other designs of mask.
A Black Death Plague doctor
(Italian: Medico Della Peste, Dutch: Pestmeester, German: Pestarzt)
was a special medical physician who saw those who had the plague.
The beaks of the masks would have been filled with aromatic herbs, this was designed to protect the wearer from putrid air, which at the time was thought to be the cause of infection.
So it was a sort of early version of a bio-hazard mask.
This instructable is for the mask only, to complete the Plague Doctor costume you should add a long coat
with a hood or wide brimmed hat.
Step 1: Making the Mask - Step One - Materials
The things you need to start are a roll of cling film food wrap and a roll of gummed brown paper tape and a bowl of water.
You will also need either a mirror so you can see what you are doing, or a friend to help you.
Cut the tape into short strips ranging from 75mm to 150mm
For the next two steps you have to hope that you do not have any unexpected visitors.
You now need to wrap your head in cling film, preferably leaving your eyes mouth and nose clear but making sure that your hair is covered.
That done you can start sticking the gummed tape to your head.
Take one strip at a time and wet it in the water and apply to your cling film covered head.
Build up about three layers of overlapping strips.
You should end up with a mask with just your eyes, nose and mouth clear.
Now you have to let it dry - I found that in a warm room it takes about half an hour to become dry enough to remove.
It will still not be dry enough to work on so put it in a warm place for about an hour.
Step 2: Making the Beak.
The pieces for the beak were cut from a sheet of heavyweight paper and fixed together with the same gummed tape.
Once the joints were dry I built up about three layers of tape on the beak.
For the eyepieces/ goggles I covered a couple of small spice jars with cling film and built up a layer of gummed tape.
I did not photograph this part.
Step 3: Assembling the Parts.
You should now have the head, eye pieces and beak.
They can now be fixed together, again using gummed tape.
Start by applying the tape to the outside of the mask to hold the pieces in place.
Allow to dry.
Now add a layer of gummed tape to the inside of the mask, this will increase its rigidity,
It is worth doing this holding the mask up to a bright light so that you can reinforce thin patches.
Allow to dry.
At this stage I decided that I would give the mask surface a bit of texture using flexible decorators caulk.
This is cheap to buy and fairly quick drying.
I also cut the nostril slits in the beak and gave them a bit of shape with the caulk.
You can also add the fixing elastic at this time, I stapled it to the inside of the mask and covered the exposed staples on the outside with caulk.
I allowed the caulk to dry overnight.
You can now paint the mask.
I used a cream coloured vinyl satin paint.
I painted the inside of the eye pieces black.
When the paint was dry I added the eye piece covers, these were made from expanded aluminium mesh that was sprayed gold and shaped round the jars that I used to form the eyepieces.
I attached the mesh by binding on with self amalgamating tape.
Total time to make the mask was about three and a half hours spread over four days.
Not sure of the cost as I had all the materials that I needed.
The same principle of using gummed tape can of course be used to construct other designs.