How to Make a Plague Doctor Mask

Introduction: How to Make a Plague Doctor Mask

I tried to make this as simple as I could. I don't know much about leather working as this was my first time. Also, this was designed to fit me, so it might not fit everyone. Sorry for the poor quality photos, my camera isn't very good.


2 square feet of leather (I used 8-9 oz, but 5-6 oz might work better)
Wax thread
Clear plastic cup
Elastic strap
2 needles
Super glue/contact cement
Sharp knife

Step 1: Print Out PDF and Tape It on Leather

Print out the PDFs. Then, cut out the PDFs close to the line and use clear tape to tape it onto the leather. Packing Tape seems to work well.

Step 2: Cut Out the Leather

Use a sharp knife to cut along the lines. For the eye pieces I found it easier to cut the inside out first. Also, I accidentally cut out 2 right side pieces and had to go back and cut out a left side. Make sure to cut out a left side and a right side.

Step 3: Dye Leather (If Wanted)

I started by using a slicker to round off the the edges. Then, I used a stitching groover at the length I desired. After that, go ahead and dye the leather. I used a sponge to coat the leather with dye as it was thicker than the tool provided. The dye will be darker while the leather is still wet. Make sure to let the dye soak in before continuing to handle the leather.

Step 4: Punch Holes in Leather

I didn't have the correct tools for this so if you do, use them. I used a straight awl and a hammer to punch holes through the leather. Make sure to line up the left and right side of the mask when punching. also line up the forehead with the sides.

Step 5: Stitch Bottom of Mask

I don't know exactly what the stitch I used is called, but feel free to stitch this how you please. I started at the tip and continue towards where your chin goes. I ran out of thread in the middle of it and had to start a second stitch, so use more thread then you think you'll need.

Step 6: Stitch Top of Mask

I used the saddle stitch for this part. I started at the tip again and worked towards the part where your nose goes. Stop one hole before the corner as to make it easier for the next step.

Step 7: Stitch the Forehead On

I used the saddle stitch again for this. Stitch the center first and then stitch the sides. The mask should start to take shape.

Step 8: Make and Add the Eye Pieces

I took a clear plastic cup and cut the bottom off. Cut it into a rectangle. Heat it up with something (I used a hair dryer) and put something like a heavy book on it. When it has cooled it should be flat. Cut out circles that fit on the circles for the eyes. Super glue it onto the eye piece. After it is dry, glue it onto the mask. I used contact cement to glue the eye pieces on. If the lens scratches, it is okay. It will just be a little bit blurier.

Step 9: Start the Strap for the Back

Make a small strap out of leather and dye it if wanted. Sew it onto the sides next to the eyes. I used the stitch I dont know the name of again for this. Next, cut an elastic strap and stitch it onto the leather strap you just attached to the mask using the saddle stitch. The size of this will depend on the size of your head.

Step 10: Connect the 2 Sides

Using the saddle stitch, sew on a small strap of leather that is the size you desire. It should connect the two straps on the sides you just made. I dyed it, though it will not be seen.

Step 11: Make and Attach a Strap on Back

Put on the mask and measure the length that will be needed from the top of the mask to the strap in the middle of the back. Cut it out and stitch it onto the mask. Try your best to center it. I again used the stitch I don't know the name of to attach the strap.

Step 12: Mold the Leather (optional)

If you are using veg tan leather, you can get the mask wet and form it into the shape that you desire. This could be useful for looks and to make the mask more comfortable to wear. If you completely soak the leather, you will need to let it dry a little before shaping it.

Step 13: It's Finished!!!

Good job, you finished making a plague doctor mask. Now do whatever you you want with it. Whether if it's Halloween or something else, go ahead and use it.

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    2 years ago

    Hello Josh, For a first time leather worker you did a wonderful job and thank you for sharing your project! Now for a strong suggestion for your future tutorials. When you make a tutorial you do need to explain your process in full including the name of stitches for example and how you achieved them or if too lengthy to explain a link to a site where you found out how to do the stitch. You must remember that there are people that may want to create your project and get it to look as close to yours as possible, and, like you, may never have worked with leather. IF I am correct and going by the two pictures, front and back of the unnamed stitch, it looks like a cross stitch and it looks as though you sewed it while the leather was wet. Normally the two edges butt up against each other with this stitch with no folding or rounding of the seam. Hope you don't mind the constructive criticism, you did do well for your first time.


    2 years ago

    Haha! That's great!