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
broken mini-tripod: 1.00
total project cost: approx 8.00+-1 dollar.