Introduction: Plague Doctor Mask
First Prize in the
Halloween Props Contest
So after looking around online I decided I didn't quite like any of the plague doctor masks that I was seeing as far as tutorials, it all seemed like a lot of extra work for something that never turned out very clean.I decided to throw caution to the wind and just take elements of masks I've seen that I liked for inspiration and try and make one up on my own. I decided on a base of crafting foam, I've yet to see one made out of it which surprised me (maybe I wasn't looking in the right places) but it bends nicely and still has a firmness to it. So here's what I did if anyone is interested:
Crafting Foam sheet (x2, one for the mask and one for the straps for the back)
clear colored plastic binder divider
fabric of your choice (thinner/lighter the better, you'll be hand-stitching a lot)
wire gauge, stiff enough to hold a shape on it's own and not instantly bend
black paint (forgot to picture, i used acrylic)
hot glue gun and sticks
needles of your choice (need to be durable and go through a lot)
any decor embellishments
paper and pen (to make the template)
something round to make the circles for the eyes and something straight to draw the lines
Step 1: Make a Template
using sheets of paper determine the size and shape you want your mask to have. The key elements are the left/right side panels, the bottom left/right panels, and the top panel (later you'll make the eye cutouts and head straps).
(attached are the scans of mine, the right panel is the same as the left, just face the flip side up and then they are symmetrical *also sorry for the poor lines, my scanner did not like me but I tried my best* originally cut out of computer paper so when I scanned it in I kept the same dimensions)
Step 2: Test Your Template
using tape try and test the shape, make sure it fits yourself or whoever will be using it comfortably
Step 3: Cut Out Your Foam
I was able to fit all of the template pieces (including eye cutouts, excluding straps) on one sheet. It goes a long way. (12x18 inch sheet)
Step 4: Fabric
Lay the foam onto the fabric, and outline in marker with an additional ~half inch margin around the pieces (enough to fold over). Cut out the fabric and fold over/hot glue the interior so the edges are also covered
Step 5: Assembling
Here you have two choices, you can dive into stitching or glue first. Gluing will make stitching a bit harder in the long run, but you get the reassurance everything fits in the right places. I personally glued first as this was my prototype but in the future if I make another I'm going to dive into stitching.
Step 6: Stitch the Seams
Start hand stitching! It's time consuming and depending on how much foam/hot glue/fabric is layered certain areas will be harder than others, but it's all doable (some will require a nice sturdy book to press the needle against to get it to go through all the layers), and some will cut through like it's just a cheese clothe. Focus on connecting pieces, the beak and the top. This is the connection time.
Step 7: Eyes!
For the eyes now we get to repeat the process! Take something round, (I used a roll of tape but it was too large and I cut it so much I really don't know what to recommend as far as the round size ratio but I threw in the final measurements for you if your going by my size choice), cut out the foam. Once you do that do the same with the fabric with the margins. When gluing the foam to fabric, it may help to cut little vertical slits (edge of fabric into the foam) in the fabric so it's easier to fold and glue.
Once the fabric is glued on, stitch the interior of the circle edge.
cut the plastic divider and hot glue to the interior
Then (if you want to glue first you can, I did, and) stitch the exterior of the circle onto the mask.
Step 8: Side Stitch and Hot Glue
Stitch the sides/edges of the entire piece, and cut/hot glue the wire (I did two circles of support) inside the beak
Step 9: Paint
My stitches weren't as dark as I'd like, so I took some black paint and darkened the area of the stitches to make them more apparent.
Step 10: Create a Strap and Embellish
A made two rectangles out of foam, did the fabric stitch paint process, and then did the same with the strap (I made it a one size strap). Attached it to the mask and added the embellishments (three metal studs on each side)
Step 11: And Done!
And we're done! Take photos and do with as you'd like!
(the interior I never cleaned up, no one but me will see the inside so I stopped there, but if you'd like to clean up the inside I'd just change the fabric to double over on the inside or create a cutout panel and glue it on).
Overall, ~7 hours, but I think next time now that I'm not making it up as I go I imagine ~5 hrs
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