Introduction: The Plague Doctor
A Plague Doctor was a physician specializing on tending to those who suffered from the bubonic plague.They were associated with death (where there's plague, there's the beak doctors and also death).
Because of this a Plague Doctor's costume is creepy - also with the added benefit of it's resemblance to both The Grim Reaper and Ravens.
Step 1: Pre-Construction
To figure out the mask dimensions I constructed a simple form from newspaper.
Then trimmed and shaped it to provide a snug fit to my head.
Step 2: Cutting & Arranging
Once the newspaper prototype was finished, I cut it in half and flattened it. I cut a template of each section of the mask from this flattened form.
The resulting template sections are traced onto the mask material and cut out.
I constructed mine out of light-weight foam paper. This foam paper is available in 12"x18" sheets at most hobby and craft stores.
Once the individual pieces for the mask base were cut out they were assembled and holes were punched along the seam using a tiny hole punch.
I used paper brads to hold the sections together to give the look of rivets instead of stiching.
Step 3: Attaching Straps
Once the base of the mask was complete I cut the forehead and side straps from craft foam -
Two pieces were cut about an inch wide and (one) the length from ear to ear, (the other) from forehead to nape of neck.
First, a long vertical strap was attached at the top of the head using the same rivet technique from before. The base of the vertical strap was then looped
back on itself so the horizontal strap could pass through it. The horizontal strap was then threaded through the vertical strap, and riveted at each side
of the mask.
Step 4: Painting
The material was given the appearance of brown leather with acrylic paints and an acrylic crackle medium.
I painted the base coat (medium brown) over the entire mask.
Next the crackled medium was painted evenly over each piece.
Then the contrasting topcoat color (latte) was applied. (Keep in mind that the cracks will appear in the direction you have painted your topcoat)
Once these layers were completely dry, using a wadded up plastic bag I stippled on deep brown (espresso) paying extra attention to areas around the
"rivets" and seams for shadowing and aging.
Step 5: Placing the Lenses
I used plastic curtain grommets for each lens base. (These grommets push and snap together.)
Using the grommet base as a guide the lenses were cut from medium weight clear stencil paper, then sandwiched between the grommet and snapped in place
over each eye hole.
Step 6: Putting It On
Now the job will be to decide: Do I want to wear my costume in a classic manner - or go extra creepy....
Plague Doctors covered every inch of their skin to keep from being contaminated. They wore a wide brimmed hat to show their profession and used wooden canes to look at patients without touching them.
For the classic version:
Although the Victorian Era was well past the times of plage, I chose it for its steampunk fashion.I made a Steampunk Victorian Era inspired coat from Simplicity pattern #2172. (You can find it herehttp://www.simplicity.com/p-6060-misses-steampunk-costume.aspx )
With this I added a long sleeved black and white striped shirt, elbow length black gloves, black leggings,tall boots and a doctor bag.
For a creepier version:
I dressed in black head to toe and added a hooded black cape (also a Simplicity pattern: http://www.simplicity.com/p-2269-costumes.aspx ) with this costume I included creepy black gloves that have extra long fingers.