How to Make an Anglerfish Mask




Introduction: How to Make an Anglerfish Mask

About: I'm an engineer. I problem solve all day, problem solve all night. I LOVE learning, and I love teaching what I learn. I want to post more, but time constraints stop me.

I wanted to make a Halloween costume that I could scare all the little Japanese kids with, and that I could take off quickly when dealing with stoic Japanese businessmen. So I needed something that was just a mask.

I got the idea for this mask from this guy, earlier this year:

Step 1: Paper Mache a Balloon

This step is pretty basic - find a balloon that's larger than your head (much larger, if you want breathing room)

I ended up using two balloons, so if the balloon color changes, that's why. One popped while I was taking a break.

Good instructions for paper mache-ing can be found herehere

Cooking the paste really works- I never did that when I was a kid, but things worked. Cooking the paste works BETTER.

Step 2: Attach Cardboard Fins and Such

Use a large bowl to hold the balloon in place as you glue. You can also use this to hold the balloon while drying.

I figured i couldn't sculpt the whole fish out of paper mache, so I cut some cardboard pieces to mold to the shape of the fish that I wanted.

Wait until the paper mache dries for a day, then I used hot glue to secure the fins.

After you're FIN-ished (sorry, couldn't resist), use more paper mache layers to cover the attach points.

Step 3: Mark and Cut the Holes

After the body is dry, you can pop the balloon and mark up the head.

This point is very crucial - you have to make sure that there are no serious weak spots on your paper mache-ing. This is critical because the paper will have to withstand some abuse from people patting your head, spilling drinks, people trying your head on, and others.

One way to check is to hold the head up to a light, or to put a flashlight on the inside and look for light spots. I made the mache approximately a 1/8th of an inch (2-3mm) thick.

Also, you're going to be making cuts to the mache, so you'll inherently weaken the overall integrity.

Step 4: Assemble Electronics

I found 2 flashlights at the dollar store, and some decorative xmas LED's that fit around mini trees. I think the latter is pretty easy to make, I just found one that was pre-made.

I cut the flashlights threads off the cap, and saved the light portion. I spray painted the housing and reassembled the light potion.

I then soldered wires to the contacts.

I soldered those wires to the battery box of the LED case to connect them in parallel so the voltage across the LEDs would remain the same.

I then installed the eyes and lights.

Step 5: Attach "fishing" LED

This one was kind of chintzy, and you can feel free to improve on it if you like.

I got a coat hanger and bent it form a hook on the end. I then slid some coiled spring things I had from a cheap-o broken mini-tripod onto the wire and bent the remaining end into a curved piece.

I sandwiched the curved piece in two pieces of cardboard with hot glue. I cut a small hole in the forhead of the fish. I fed the end of the wire thru the hole.

I then hot glued the cardboard to the interior of the fish.

Step 6: Paint the Thingy

I used black paint as the base, I wanted to cover the newsprint completely.

I also used the black as an undertone for the silver so it made the silver stand out more.

Step 7: Finished!

I didn't have time to put together a proper head support mechanism, despite the fact that I thought long and hard to try to figure out what I was going to do to support it on my head.

I ended up putting a beany on my head to cushion the whole assembly sitting on my head.

I tried making a cardboard ribbing on the inside, but I sweat a lot and the paper started to get pretty damp and disgusting. I just resolved the fact that I wasn't going to wear the mask very often.

The kids loved it tho!

Total cost and parts:
Newsprint: free advert mags from outside of the liquor store - collected over 2 weeks.
starch: 2 bucks
flashlights: 2x 1.00
led chain/LED keychain: 2x1.00
posterboard: 1.00
broken mini-tripod: 1.00

total project cost: approx 8.00+-1 dollar.

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    14 years ago on Step 1

    where you wrote "here" (as a link), i would like to know how you did that


    Reply 14 years ago on Step 1

    where it says "link" in the title bar of your editing windo, click link.. or do you mean the paste? I'm confused.


    10 years ago on Step 1

    I like the way they did it and the way you do it you click on Good instructions for paper mache-ing can be found herehere the are 2 here one is a link simply click on that and it will com.
    But i would like to know on the picture the bottom is not with newspaper.
    Please tell me somebody.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    "Yeahhh, the deep sea Angelfish has no reason to be happy, but she has no fricking idea, what else to be." A song about Angelfish by Hank Green AWSOME mask, you stun me with your creativity, not that I have a reason to be surprised anymore with all this talent. Thanks for the DIY <3 ^_^


    I loved this and took the liberty of trying it for Halloween! It was the hit of the party! Thanks so much for the Instructable! Mine had battery pack mini led's and it took half an eternity to hot glue the scales on. The eyes were tap lights covered with balloon latex.


    That is totally awesome, of course you know, you're dressed as a girl anglerfish...


    Reply 15 years ago on Introduction

    seriously? I had no idea. ah well.

    Tool Using Animal
    Tool Using Animal

    Reply 15 years ago on Introduction

    Yep, male anglerfish have the good life, they latch onto the female with their teeth, their bloodstream fuses with the female and then they wither away until they're just a pair of testes. Still I think very few people would notice, and it's still the second most awesome marine inspired halloween costume at instructables ;-)


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Here's the life cycle of the male angler according to the Oatmeal!


    Reply 13 years ago on Introduction

    [ The males are so small!]


    12 years ago on Step 7

    Thank you so much for posting this.  My son was an anglerfish in his second grade school production about the earth.  This mask was definitely a hit with him, the other kids and parents.  I did the eyes a little different.  I used a set of white LEDs and taped 7 together in a group and hot glued them in place.  Then I hot glued a half a ping pong ball over the lights.  They turned out really well.  Also, your suggestion for putting a ping pong ball over the lure light was spot on.  There were some other little things I did different because of limited time, but all in all it turned out great.  Thanks again.


    12 years ago on Step 3

    im con fused how meany layers of papper mecha do you need

    Doggie Stylish

    *very* fun 'ible! the last comment about the hard hat is a pretty good idea. i might try to make the mask doing that.