Introduction: Skyrim Dragon Priest Mask

Ever wanted to be part of an evil, dragon worshiping cult? I know I have!
If you've ever played through Skyrim, you will probably have found at least one of these masks while adventuring. While there's some disagreement, a lot of people think that they are one of the best-designed pieces of equipment in the game. This instructable will show you how to make your own dragon priest mask, whether it be Krosis, Morokei or perhaps even Konahrik.

If you already have a couple of tools, this should be fairly cheap to make and there's room for variation, too.

Step 1: Ingredients

It may surprise you to know that this heavy, sturdy mask is actually built around paper. If you're at all familiar with "Pepakura" then you'll know the great things it can be used to create. The download page can be found here. As for the model, I found it on the rpf forums and the download link is here. Credit, of course to the creator of the model for the free download.

Materials:
-Resin and hardener - Depending on how obsessive you are, you will need somewhere between 250ml-500ml.
-Filler or "Bondo" - Only a small amount, just for neatening up edges. Get the smallest tub.
-Fibreglass - this goes on the inside, so don't worry about thickness.
-Paper - You will need fairly thick paper, but no more than 10 pages of it (Provided you succeed the first time around).
-Glue - You can buy glue specifically for paper craft, but otherwise a glue gun will create very strong yet flexible bonds.
-Various grades of sandpaper.
-Paint - You can paint the mask however you like since there are variations in-game.
-Foam - Optional, if your crest fails like mine did.

Equipment:
-Rubber Gloves
-Old Clothes - If resin gets into any piece of clothing, consider it scrap cloth. Use clothes you dont mind getting ruined.
-Gas Mask - For when you start sanding.
-Eye protection - For sanding.

Tools:
-Dremel or other similar tool - Optional, but very useful when sandpaper cannot reach certain areas.
-Files - Again optional, but useful for creating sharp edges.
-Sharp Knife and Cutting Board
-Patience - This is relative to how good you want the final piece to be, but be prepared to spend hours sanding.
-Palette
-Spreader
-Thinner
-Stirring stick
-A stand to paint on - This can be anything you don't mind getting painted on.

Step 2: Assembling the Paper Mask

This is fairly self-explanatory, just cut out the pieces with a sharp knife, score the folds and glue them together using the model as a guide. The download page for Pepakura can be found here. Go on downloads then viewer. As for the model, I found it on the RPF forums and the download link is here. Credit, of course to the creator of the model for the free download.

Full instructions for assembly can be found on the Pepakura site provided, but you will probably find it quite easy and without need of great explanation. Just take your time and makes sure that the final result is sturdy. If you ever intend to wear the mask you will not need to make the inward grooves for the eyes or mouth, nor will you need the back panel.

Step 3: Resin and Fibreglass

Mix your resin with your hardener and apply a thin coat to the front. Mine is black because there was paint in the tub I was mixing in, yours will probably be amber. Try to make it as even as possible. After about 20 minutes you should notice that it has become more solid. All resin is different, but as soon as it is able to hold its shape effectively it is a good time to start fibre glassing. Unless you are very experienced with fibreglass it's not advisable to fibreglass the outside and it will be very hard to retain the shape, instead just fill in the inside with plenty of thick layers. Do not worry about going over the eye holes or going over the sides, excess can be trimmed later.

You need to cut the fibreglass into small strips, line the inside with a thin layer of resin, lay the strips on top and resin over them. Continue in this way alternating the direction of the strips, until the mask is quite thick and sturdy. A bit of weight will make it feel much better than if it was light and flimsy.

Leave the fibre glassed piece for around an hour, or as long as it takes for it to solidify sufficiently. It does not have to be fully hardened, but it's important that you don't cover over the still wet surface or it will stay wet indefinitely. Go over the outside with a fairly thick yet even coat, and leave to dry over 24 hours (unless your resin says otherwise). The position that it is in now will be the position it stays, so if the model is at all disfigured make sure that it hardens correctly. For instance, mine was too wide and so I let it dry with two objects either side, to keep it still.

I realise the pictures aren't the most helpful, but I really didn't want a layer of fibreglass on my camera. Don't worry though, this step is very easy and any minor errors will add to the authenticity of the piece. Just imagine that skull is your mask and you'll be fine.

Step 4: Primer

This step is not necessary, but many people find that it is helpful to spray a coat of primer over the full model to bring out the imperfections in preparation for sanding. You will notice that I have already cut out the eye holes and mouth hole, I did this with the Dremel using the disc attachment. You can do this before, or wait until after the coat, it doesn't really matter.

If the model is severely bumpy, consider using a "high-build" primer to add a thicker layer of paint.

Step 5: Sanding Time!

This is probably the most time-consuming step. Sand out all of the little imperfections until your model looks smooth. It is worth noting that the in-game mask is full of chips and battle-scars, but I wanted mine to look a little bit more pristine. If you're like me and want everything to be perfect then be prepared to eat buckets of dust and sand until your arms drop off. On a serious note though, you should wear a mask and goggles.

You may want to use your Dremel at this stage to speed up the process, but be careful you don't go too far. I recommend the cylindrical sandpaper tool, but don't turn up the Dremel too high or the sandpaper WILL explode and hit you in the face. It sounds ridiculous but it happens to me all the time. At this stage there's probably no point in going any higher than 120 grit.

Step 6: Filling

You only need to do this step if there are large imperfections or you are not happy with the overall shape. Mine had huge flaws due to very thick resin, but many people may be able to skip this step entirely. I was not happy with the crest on the top of the head, and so I sanded the whole of the forehead smooth and made them out of foam with filler on the outside. Again you don't really need to do this if your model comes out nice, but as I mentioned the resin went on extremely thick and collapsed some parts inwards.

Filler is difficult to use, but with practise it becomes easy. Get some filler on a mixing palette (any old flat piece of plastic) and add hardener with a ratio of about 1:20. Each product is different, and you may want to experiment to find the best ratio, as too much will mean it hardens before you can even get it on, and too little means that it doesn't harden at all. It should probably be salmon-coloured and not have any inconsistencies.
 
It is advisable to wear gloves as it can be irritating and you may want to spread some of it with your fingers. You will probably find that it is not what you expected, very loose and difficult to work with. Lather it on the areas that need filling, don't worry about mistakes yet. It should very soon start to harden, and about 2-3 minutes after first putting it on you should begin to shape it as close as possible to how you want it. It will be at least 20 minutes before it's fully hardened, so use your time to get rid of any drips or runs. It sands down very easily, but you don't want to have to get rid of a load of splodges.

You will need to sand it down and, depending on how consistent it went on, apply more coats. When you are happy with the shape, move on to a high grit sandpaper and prime ready for the final painting.

Step 7: Additional Extras

You may notice that my mask suddenly grows a forehead crest between the last stage and the next. The one that I made originally caved in because my resin was too thick, and so I sanded it all down and rebuilt it. If your crest is too small or you experienced a similar problem to me, you can build it back up by cutting the pieces out of foam and then gluing them to the model. Then apply a generous amount of resin to solidify it, and smooth it down with filler and/or more resin. However, in comparison to the original my crest is a little too prominent, but I personally prefer it that way.

I haven't included photos of the crest because I do not advise it. It takes a long time to make a minor adjustment and it's easy to lose motivation on such a long, monotonous task.

You may also want to correct your surface imperfections with a thin layer of "Rondo", this will smooth it all out and get rid of all the little pinholes you may have (Don't worry about those, they're normal and can easily be corrected). To do this, mix together resin, filler and thinner in the ratio 6:5:1. You should be able to use the hardener for either product, as it is essentially the same stuff. Spread this over the entire thing with a paintbrush, and let it spread out and seep into all the gaps. With the thinner it may take longer to dry than normal, so just be patient and leave it as long as it takes. It shouldn't be any more than 24 hours.

Step 8: Paintjob

This step is down to you really, as there are many variations on the dragon priest masks and you can paint it however you like. Going for the authentic Krosis look, I first coated it with a couple of coats of primer then moved on to a very golden and shiny paint. If it’s anything like the one I got, it looks stunning but in order for it to stay nice it needs to take its time with drying. For this reason, it is important to apply VERY THIN coats and not to touch the surface until you are 100% sure it is dry. Too thick a coat will make a horrible, runny mess and a week on it will still get covered in fingerprints at the slightest touch, as I discovered the first time around.

If you do get fingerprints on it, don't worry, they can come out. Just get a soft piece of cloth and rub very lightly and they will eventually fade.

Now it’s time to age it. It took me a while to figure out how far I should go, and the first time around it was a horrible black mess with random golden scratches, and I was too ashamed to take a photo. When it is dry, you may want to rub the surface VERY gently with a soft rag just to polish it up and also to get rid of any remaining moisture.

You should use matt black paint to paint in the crevices (Don't worry about it being messy yet) and then use a sponge to move it around. Wipe along the crease and when you are satisfied with the coverage, dab a dry part of your sponge on the paint to make it look more natural. It should dry very quickly as your coats should be very thin. On my first go I went really overboard, so it’s important to know when to stop. Unless you know what you're doing, I would advise that you stick to the crevices and avoid the large, flat surfaces. If the paint goes on too thick, consider watering it down.



You are finished! Now you can guard ancient Word Walls, kill Savos' students or just enjoy your 20% bonus to Lockpicking, Archery, and Alchemy. Have fun making this mask, and please post any pictures of your own!

Comments

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TonyM125 made it! (author)2016-11-15

im planning on making all 14 dragon priest masks out of different metals and woods any advise on how to do so is welcome

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Peterang001 made it! (author)2016-11-01

I found the Fiberglass and resin part hard to follow can you please help clear that up for me?

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AlcolOfficial made it! (author)2015-08-12

Hey, i'm making the mask but i've never used resin and fibreglass. Do you put resin everywhere on the mask, then put the fibreglass inside the mask (and it sticks with the resin) ?

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TheBroSquad made it! (author)TheBroSquad2016-06-02

When I was making a spartan helmet, we did one coat of resin everywhere first, Then once that hardened we then mixed the fiberglass and resin to coat on the interior, so as to not deform the shape.

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liamrausch14 made it! (author)2016-02-03

Do I need to have pepekura to download the rpf model of the mask? Nothing else has been working. Nothing will let me open the file, what do I need to open it?

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Ikkalebob made it! (author)Ikkalebob2016-02-03

Yes you'll need tp download pepakura viewer which I believe is free

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liamrausch14 made it! (author)liamrausch142016-02-03

oh okay I didn't know that. thanks for the response!

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liamrausch14 made it! (author)2016-02-03

Do I need to have pepekura to download the rpf model of the mask? Nothing else has been working. Nothing will let me open the file, what do I need to open it?

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spark master made it! (author)2015-08-07

Oh note to would be firberglass users...If the raw resin gets on your skin you MIGHT develop an allergy that is trigger by (i kid you not) powdered fiberglass sanding dust. I found that on West Fiberglass Systems site years ago.

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spark master made it! (author)2015-08-07

Hi,

I am here as I found your follow up instructable on aging/rusting this mask, which confused me as well. I do love the mask and the technique. I used a similar technique to make a 7 foot tall Tiki out of corriagated cardboard It was a hoot, and a hit with the Cub Scouts!

why do you show a skull in the pictures? I skimmed it and must have missed the reason it is there and I am sure it is useful. Is it to back the mask during initial taping up as an armature? If one is not available one might use a balloon of a piece of PVC 4 inch pipe.

Consider this technical change print on card stock then with rubber cement glue it to old cotton Tee shirts, on what will be the inside of the mask. Then spray the cotton side with thinned shellac, or thinned exterior wood glue (that would be painted), cut it out assemble. The paper should be rigid enough but if not use more glue/shellac. Corrigated cardboard can be layered and shaped and glued on to where ever it is needed, if foam is not available.

I enjoyed this instructable.

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MarcusKidwell made it! (author)2015-08-07

Having a REALLY hard time downloading the file, I don't know if it's just me or what

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Aunty Destructo made it! (author)2015-08-04

From those of us who are Skyrim fans, we thank you!! Beautiful work. Can't wait to clear out the glass room and start creating these. Absolutely beautiful. And enough time to make it for Halloween!

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The Manic Puppeteer made it! (author)2015-04-26

Looks amazing! Definitely going to make one of these, and you already used Krosis (my favourite mask) as the example!

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TamashiiO made it! (author)2015-04-04

I want to find a Konahrik mask tutorial now....

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vtheawesome made it! (author)2014-12-30

Question, do I have to scale the model, or is it good as it is?

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Ikkalebob made it! (author)Ikkalebob2014-12-31

Its already to scale

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vtheawesome made it! (author)vtheawesome2014-12-31

Thanks man, awesome project.

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Ikkalebob made it! (author)Ikkalebob2014-12-31

I believe it is anyway, it's been so long since I did it that I dont know for certain. You could try printing just one page with an eyehole or something,that should give you a good indication

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vvilela1 made it! (author)2014-10-27

The most fun I had this summer holiday. Great instructable. I just had to change some bits up.

Thank you so much man!

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Ikkalebob made it! (author)Ikkalebob2014-10-27

Nice job, I especially like how comfortable it looks, mine's basically a web of pointy fibreglass inside. I like the hood too, I might have to do one myself for halloween :D

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generaldidsy made it! (author)2014-10-23

Cheers for the instructable! was really fun!! :D

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GEEK factory made it! (author)2014-10-02

Just another day in office... :D

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TheStuUurgE made it! (author)2014-09-28

You should try craft foam or a closed cell, EVA foam

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Vokun made it! (author)2014-07-17

this was the most fun project to make

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Eldalote made it! (author)2014-06-27

That's really awesome!

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jtrc made it! (author)2013-10-08

Very impressive
Me and my girlfriend want to make two of these, but our local art store don't have any fiber glass and their epoxy is quite expensive
Is fiber glass boat epoxy suitable for such a project ? (since it's half the price)
Also, got any idea where i could find fiberglass or any alternative product that i could use ?
And yes we will use them, and yes we will fight with them on battlegrounds :P

thanks for your respond, but especially for your wonderfull work !

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Ikkalebob made it! (author)Ikkalebob2013-10-08

Your comment is much appreciated! With regards to boat epoxy, I've never used it myself but it should be fine so long as it is easy to spread over the paper and not too thick. Although If it does end up too thick, you could thin it out with turpentine. As for the fibreglass there are a few different things you could try, some cotton cloth could work although I would recommend that you test on some scrap paper first. Any kind of porous cloth should do fine, otherwise I found some more ideas on a forum post: http://www.therpf.com/f24/pepakura-alternatives-fiberglass-85487/
And finally fibreglass products are generally really easy to pick up, the majority of hardware shops, Halfords and arts and crafts stores should have it in. The cheapest place to get would probably be a car-body shop, if you can find one.

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jtrc made it! (author)jtrc2014-03-23

saddly, i failed mine, it glued to the support while drying and falled appart

but that was 6 months ago !

for this summer i'm trying to make a new one using thicker paper, masking tape and areosol ruber ! :D

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jtrc made it! (author)jtrc2013-10-09

thanks a lot for your quick answer, I'll post a picture of the final results, if there's one :P
I hope you'll continue to make us other great instructables !

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snowrose88 made it! (author)2014-02-04

So awesome ^^,

[Shizu - you almost nailed it, pEpakura* ;) ]

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shizumadrive made it! (author)2014-01-21

really amazing job. I've seen papakura (sure i butchered that spelling) but from original I wouldn't have believe it came from that.

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Rickter made it! (author)2014-01-17

Ikkalebob what type or brand of gold paint did you use? I'm having a hard time finding metallic gold paint that looks like that. BTW thanks for this amazing tutorial :)

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caposhi made it! (author)2013-12-15

I'm having so much trouble finding the assembly instructions.. I'm trying to put it together without it, but it's a bit tedious.. Do you happen to have a direct link? Thanks so much.

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Ikkalebob made it! (author)Ikkalebob2013-12-16

There aren't any assembly instructions for this specific model, its very tedious but unfortunately you have to figure it out yourself to some degree. My best advice is to just constantly refer to the Pepakura program, using the feature where you can click on a section to see what it looks like and how it attaches to the rest of the model. Unfortunately there's a lot of improvisation with this step, but just use the numbering on the tabs and keep referring to the 3D model and you should be fine. If you still need help there should be instructions built into the program, try pressing F1 but otherwise its been so long since I've used the program that I wouldn't remember.

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caposhi made it! (author)caposhi2013-12-22

Oh alright. This helps, thanks. And thanks so much for the fast reply.

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lmacha1 made it! (author)2013-12-04

What is the point of sanding off the dried resin?

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Ikkalebob made it! (author)Ikkalebob2013-12-05

The resin will most likely have brush marks in it where it has been brushed on, and it will probably run a little too. Its very difficult to get an even coat on, and even if you did manage to get it perfectly smooth, sanding the resin down will make the paint and filler (If necessary) stick much better.

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HolingStone made it! (author)2013-10-28

How much did the materials in total cost you? I'm looking to film a Skyrim short in the next couple of weeks and this looks like a better option than buying from Etsy.

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Ikkalebob made it! (author)Ikkalebob2013-11-03

The materials cost around £30/$50, though I'm sure you could find cheaper options since I was left with quite a lot of surplus at the end. However if you need to buy the sandpaper, files, Dremel and other equipment, then it might be a lot more cost efficient to buy from Etsy.

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badideasrus made it! (author)2013-09-25

what gold paint DID you use? most gold paint i've seen is spray paint, and looks absolutely wretched. i'd love to know how to get something so metalic as what you have. it's glorious... (love the whole thing btw. beutiful, looks authentic)

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Ikkalebob made it! (author)Ikkalebob2013-10-09

Thanks for your comment, the paint I used was just some generic decorative spray paint I picked up from B&Q, but I think that the most important factor in the paint-job is that the surface is adequately prepared. Provided that you've used a really high-grade sandpaper on the surface, and the paint is applied evenly, it should look pretty good. I also gave mine a slight polish with a soft cloth to bring out the shine.

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villagerbeef made it! (author)2013-10-08

i've done the pepakura but i used clear tape because i had trouble with the glue holding. Is it ok to continue with the step by sanding the tape surface. Oh and thanks for the instructions.

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Ikkalebob made it! (author)Ikkalebob2013-10-09

If the tape is on the inside of the mask then it should be no trouble at all, however if it is on the outer surface then it may be a little difficult. If so, just make sure that the resin covers the tape entirely and try not to sand down to the tape itself. Good luck.

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RyGuy612 made it! (author)2013-09-25

What type of foam did you use to build up the forehead/top part?

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Ikkalebob made it! (author)Ikkalebob2013-09-25

What I used were "Scotch Brite Pads", which are used to remove dirt or as an alternative to low-grade sandpaper. They probably weren't the best option, but it seemed to work quite well.

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RyGuy612 made it! (author)RyGuy6122013-09-25

Ok thanks, I was thinking using like gardeners foam or just styrofoam.

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Ikkalebob made it! (author)Ikkalebob2013-09-25

To be honest that could probably work well, I just used what I used because it was at hand and cheap.

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kbrunskill made it! (author)2013-09-19

Thanks dude!

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RyGuy612 made it! (author)2013-09-19

do you put body filler over the front of the mask or do you just sand your primer and fiberglass?

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Ikkalebob made it! (author)Ikkalebob2013-09-19

Its entirely up to you. My mask was quite warped because I had put too much resin on and the forehead had begun to cave in, so I used filler to re-shape the forehead and the cheekbones. I would avoid using filler on the front though since its very tedious but at the same time I would encourage you to use it if the shape is going badly. So really its just down to whether or not you deem it necessary.

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Bio: The name "Ikkalebob" was invented by my cat when she ran across the keyboard. I attempt all manner of projects, from home engineering to prop ... More »
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