3 years ago, when I made my last Batman costume, the cowl I made was rather heavy and was 2 parts that weren't totally seamless. While it looked good, I wanted to make something that was lighter, more flexible, and easier to put on. This was my attempt to do so. I did a video to try to document the process. It was the first time trying to make an instructional video and it was a little harder to do than I thought. Much of the process is in video form, so there aren't as many pictures as I would normally use.
If you are on a mobile device, you can watch the video HERE.
Step 1: Materials
Making this cowl was a little simpler than I thought. However, it was very handy having a cast of my own head to make the pattern. You can use a mannequin head if you would like, however, make sure the dimensions match your own first. Watch THIS VIDEO for instructions on how to do so.
To make the cowl you will need:
- Head form
- Aluminum foil
- duct tape
- poster board
- Xacto knife
- 5 mm craft foam
- 2 mm craft foam
- Contact cement (I prefer Barge Cement)
- Marker (silver if you are using black craft foam)
- Heat gun
- Elastic Strips
- Silver Acrylic paint
Step 2: Make Pattern
To make the pattern for the mask, I started with covering my head form with foil. Then i covered the foil with duct tape. I used pieces of poster board to start creating the shape for the mask, and then covered that with duct tape. As the mask will be symmetrical, only one side needs to be made this way.
To do the ears I figured out how tall I wanted them to be and then figured out what shape. This was taped to the side of the head. I then formed the inside portion of the triangular ears and got the angle right before taping it down. Then I was able to easily trace the back to complete the ear.
I wanted the eyebrows to be very angular, so I formed those and matched it up to the temple.
Once all the shaping was done, I had to figure out the pattern to be cut. Some of the shapes were easy as they just replicated the shape I had created. Others I had to think through more as I factored in how the whole mask would be put together. I drew lines on all of this and added reference marks (for putting it back together).
I then cut out the shapes from the head form so it could be laid flat. I labeled each piece. Then I traced these onto poster board to get cleaner shapes. I transferred the reference marks to this as well.
I then traced two of each shape onto my 5 mm craft foam with the silver marker and transferred the reference marks to that as well.
Step 3: Put Pieces Together
After cutting out the shapes I started putting them together. I started with the center pieces and worked outwards.
With any shape that would be rounded (middle head), I used the heat gun to shape it a bit first. Then, on each edge, I painted a thin layer of contact cement. Wait 2-5 min. for the cement to become more dry and then slowly line up the edges. This is where the registration marks come in very handy.
After this was all put together, I wanted to add a little more depth to the cowl. I put some masking tape down over the side of the cowl and then drew out the shape that I wanted. I cut it out with an Xacto blade and used this as my pattern. This was traced onto some 2 mm craft foam, cut out and then glued to the cowl.
I then used the sanding drum on my dremmel and rounded/smoothed out the edges on the cowl.
Step 4: Paint & Straps
Once this was all done, I coated the whole thing in 2 or 3 layers of black Plasti-Dip. This is important as it is flexible and prevents it and any paint from cracking in the future.
After the Plasti-Dip dried, I lightly brushed on some silver acrylic paint to accent the brows. This gave it more of a metallic look.
I then glued on an elastic strap for the chin with some velcro. This made it much easier to put on and also move my jaw while wearing it.
Step 5: Put It on and Look Awesome
Once it all completed, strap that bad boy on and venture out as the caped crusader. I found it increased my level of awesomeness immediately.
I wore the whole costume to work (thus increasing my street cred) and had many a compliment.
If you like this, please feel free to vote for it in the Hats & Headpieces contest.