Introduction: Electro-Krampus

About: artist and designer

Hi everybody.

When the holidays roll around I start looking forward to obscure and ancient pagan initiation rituals. This year instead of singing mangled xmas carols along with snarling Krampus demons as in years' past, I decided to blend in. While the long history and craft of the carved Krampus mask is inspiring, I'm also very motivated by new digital aesthetics and wanted this design to possess a kind of virtual darkness. You know- that old, "watch out - I might throw your cell phone into the eternal abyss so I can see you jump after it" holiday cheer. This Instructable includes directions, file sources and tips on making your own contemporary Krampus mask. There's more elements that you should consider which are standard to Krampus lore; a suit of fur or torn and distressed fabric, boots, a chain belt, an open harvesting backpack filled with bad children, a long thatch of bundled birch, or a staff with a cow bell hanging from the top end to make a racket. I hope you have a fun Krampusnacht, look for one in your area around the first week in December.

Step 1: Starting Materials

Image of basic Electro-Krampus build with horns next to scale mock-up which is roughly the size of a human skull. For this project I have provided DXF files and images for you to plot cut a mock up, or just go straight forward to laser cutting the wood to construct this mask.

Materials needed:

Plywood for laser cutting and cnc (1/8" X 12" X 24" Baltic Birch) - at least five pieces minimum

Clear or flat finish acrylic ("1/8" x 12 x 12" area)

hot glue (I used black potting and construction grade hot glues, 1/2" sticks)

2" wide aluminum metal tape (a few yards, cut into four strips, 1/2" width")

velcro (12" max 1/2" width, )

nylon belt strapping. (16-20")

Electroluminescent Wire w/ battery pack, Orange, 9ft

Flat black Flashe paint

Flat black paper tape for detailing

Tools needed:

A laser cutter (please review the power + speeds related to the brand of the unit you are using)

Hot glue gun

1" snap blade with handle

paint brush

optional: a dremel, jigsaw or angle grinder

Step 2: Layers 1 & 3 to Laser Cut

Electrokrampus01.dxf file contains the exterior edge frame for building the mask, this is layer #1.

Electrokrampus01.dxf file ALSO contains the solid interior triangles for layer #3, save and install these last. For building this frame set I used aluminum metal tape on the interior partially because its very sticky and also wanted the electroluminescent wire in the design to reflect. Once all the parts were set with the tape, I filled in the exterior edge gaps with black potting hot glue which is very flexible and strong once set. Where the glue gets over built, its possible to carve it away. Some version of construction grade hot glue is advisable.


These files are laid out as the mask flattened, all facing a single direction, the next file layer faces the same direction. Don't reverse them. The adjacent edges have perfectly mirrored dimensions. I suggest that you have a printed copy on hand of the parts so you can reference them. A strategy is to use a marker and duplicate a number index on the paper copy and on the wood. You will be painting the wood with a very opaque flat black paint so the numbers will not be apparent at the end of the process.

The 1/1 full scale layout of these plans fits within two combined 12" x 24" panels for layer #1 & #3, and another combined two piece set of wood panels for layer #2. Specifically, I taped my pieces together on the long edge before setting them in the laser cutter. If you are super efficient it is possible to get eye mesh layer and the horns out of one more panel.

After the cutting, but before I extracted the parts from the laser cutter bed, I numbered them so I'd know where the adjacent edges would meet.

Step 3: Layer 2 to Laser Cut

Electrokrampus02.dxf file contains layer #2 which has the diagonal stripe cutouts, these are fit and glued directly behind the matching frames of layer #1, the exterior frame.

Step 4: The View Screen Layer

Electrokrampus03.dxf file contains layer #3 viewing area mesh grating. Fit and glue them behind their matching layer #2 counterparts.

Step 5: Layer #3 to Interior Face of Layer #2

Use the saved solid interior triangles (layer #3) from the layer #1 cut now. Fit and glue them behind their matching layer #2 counterparts. This provides ventilation, obscures the wearer and allows for the electroluminescent light from the interior of the mask to be seen a various angles.

Just to review, layers:

Layer #1 exterior framing (open triangles)

Layer #2 triangles with diagonal stripes (fixed behind layer #1)

Layer #3 comprises their own layer, including:

Layer #3 Eye grates (6 pieces) (fixed behind layer #2)

Layer #3 Solid triangles (the rest) (fixed behind layer #2)

Step 6: Horns

electrokrampus4.dxf contains the parts for making the horns. The horns are three sided - six of these sides will work. Glue the triangles together and then glue the horns to the top of the mask where they align with your taste.

Sorry for the ambiguity, but horns are ultimately kind of personal. I suggest that you mock these up with card stock or cardboard first to get an idea of which profiles you want to use and get rid of the rest before committing plywood to all of these profiles.

Step 7: Horn Window Interiors to Laser Cut

Once you know which horn faces you'll use, take the associated .dxf interior window profiles and laser cut those from acrylic.

Set them aside for final detailing.

Step 8: Cut the Demon Access Door

Follow the geometric seams behind the head, they form a rough geometric ellipse. You will cut along that seam using a hand or power tool in order to free the door before the next step.

I was really impatient and used a thin kerf abrasive cut off wheel on an angle grinder to cut down through the seams. *It took no time, was completely unsafe, and a huge mess.

*This part is kind of tricky and I fully endorse taking all safety precautions at your disposal. This includes securing the mask, using gloves, safety glasses and making sure the tools you use are in good working order.

Step 9: Hinge the Door

An adhesive vinyl gutter liner is useful for hinge material.

Step 10: Add a Light Tight Strip

A nylon belt strapping glued in behind the seam face helps hide light leak.

Step 11: Velcro Tabs to Seal the Door

Add velcro fasteners to the door seam on top of the nylon belt near the neck line and anywhere that appears to creep open, unsupported.

Step 12: ​Install the Electroluminescent Wire

Install the electroluminescent wire along the interior edges with clear hot glue.

I glued a velcro fastener to hold the battery pack.

Step 13: Paint the Exterior

Paint the exterior with flat black Flashe acrylic. Not an ad, its pretty amazing paint, especially for this project.

Step 14: Final Step, Fit the Windows and Finish the Horns

Install the acrylic window panes: The acrylic can be sanded to a frosted finish with 220 sand paper. Fit these into the accompanying frames to create the look shown in the documentation. I used flat black paper tape to finish the exterior seams and hide glue lines.

Step 15: Gruß Vom Krampus!

I've tried to include everything that I learned while building this project and I hope that you're able to use these parts and hints. This project is for those who want to participate in the Krampusnacht tradition. If you take these specs for profiteering, the daemons will find you and thrash you. I hope that if you are in Baltimore the first weekend of December for Krampusnacht you will find Mirrortrain, growl appreciatively and offer a sacrifice.

Make it Glow Contest 2016

Runner Up in the
Make it Glow Contest 2016