DIY Terminator Mask

Introduction: DIY Terminator Mask

About: I am a nerd, gamer, and registered nurse and I like to make stuff.

First, let me thank you for looking at this DIY. This is my first Instructable so please be honest with your replies and comments. Also, I realize that most of my images will be blurry. I took most of the pictures with my camera phone to send to my friend who encouraged me to do this project and thus felt I should update him with the status of the project. Because I don't have as many detailed pictures as I'd like for a DIY, I'll try to be as in depth with my instructions as possible. I do have a camera so please minimize the "buy a better camera" comments. I started this project in the beginning of September and finished, after much learning and scraping and starting over, on Halloween.

I go the idea to do this mask because A) I'm a huge Terminator fan and B) I was shown Dark Power's DIY and thought I could do that. For my first latex mask, I think I did pretty good.

I had no intention to post a DIY at the start nor at the end of this project but my wife has persuaded me to do so and thus, here we go!

First, a lengthy list of materials:
-Plaster of Paris - Can be obtained from Walmart in the craft section, Home Depot, Lowes, Michael's, or most any craft and/or home improvement shop. I got the 8lb box so that when I made mistakes (which we all do) I'd have some extra and I'd have extra for other projects. You can also use alginate but its harder to come by (but typically dries a lot faster and is made from alternative materials.
-Plaster Strips - These can also be found at Michael's or at Walmart. An alternative to these are strips of burlap. Either way, when used properly, they add stability to the plaster.
-Petroleum Jelly - Found in baby sections or lotion sections of most retailers
-Mask Latex (Also called Slush Latex or Liquid Latex) - I purchased mine from an online retailer Monster Makers. I got the big bucket (with intentions of making numerous masks (Future DIYs with better pics)) but the small one will work fine. You can also find the latex at the seasonal Halloween stores around Halloween time or most costume stores also sell it locally.
-Make-Up - I purchased two makeup kits from a Halloween store; one was a skin tone kit (which I ended up not using for this project) and a multicolor kit for bruises and cuts. It has yellow, red, green, brown, and purple and came with a really fine sponge. Additionally, I went back to Walmart and purchased a cheap bottle of liquid foundation that matched my skin tone so that I could blend my skin tone with the fake skin I was making (more on the fake skin a little later on).
-Tube of Fake Blood - I got this at a Halloween store also. Worked pretty good and doesn't really go bad so I can use it later on for other great things.
-Stage Putty - This stuff can be used for making great looking fake scars and wounds. It can also be found in Halloween stores and some costume stores
-Metallic Spray paint - For the metal looking section of the mask I used Rustoleum's brand spray paint since it bonds with a lot of materials and applies a nice thick layer. I'll explain why spray paint for the metal part of the mask later as well.
-Clear Coat - I actually found a type of spray lacquer which was designed for pottery but clear coat spray paint will work just as well
-Glossy Accents - This stuff is made for scrap booking and what it does is give a "clear, dimensional embellishment" (whatever that means). Basically, you put it on a surface, it dries clear and is elevated about an 1/8". I used this to add some dimension to the eye and to diffuse the light from the LED. Found it at Michael's but likely could be found at most scrap booking stores.
-Ping Pong Balls - For the eye piece
-Single Lego Wheel piece - Steal this from your kids, friends, your collection. This will become the eye piece
-Scissors - Sharp and pointy
-Flat Black and Tan Acrylic Paint - Again, Walmart or any craft/home improvement retailer. Black paint and Tan paint, Not A Black and Tan drink (though it is a good way to end any good DIY). When selecting your Tan paint, try and find a paint that is as close to your skin tone as possible.
-Paint brushes - Specifically, a nice thin brush and something with some size behind it, maybe about 1/4" across
-Red LEDs - This was a bit tricky since I had little experience with LEDs, wiring, brightness levels, etc so I basically went to Radio Shack (I know I could have gotten them cheaper online but I'm impatient) and picked up a bunch of random Red LEDs.
-Thin Wire - This can be salvaged from most electronics. I used wire from an old computer keyboard cord (Save the keyboard as you can do other cool DIYs with it like a Wallet)
-Battery - I also picked up a few different button cells from Radio Shack to power the LEDs
-Electric Tape - If you don't already have some, why are you reading this DIY?
-PAM or other non-stick spray - PAM is amazing and smells like garlic (if you get the right one)
-Soldering Iron - Must have for any DIY project
-Solder - See previous tool
-Sculpey - I personally used Super Sculpy. I like it better but there are other cheaper (and better) options. Again, craft stores like Michael's. I'd recommend some type of bake-to-dry clay rather than air drying since it'll give you plenty of time to work and sculpt your masks.
-Sculpting Tools - Craft stores, hardware stores, your junk drawer. You can pretty much use anything. I used some clay sculpting tools I had laying around from an art class.
-An oven - You stick your pizza in these to cook them. Also handy for heating and setting the Sculpy or any bake drying clay. If you use air drying clay, no oven needed. Unless you're hungry and then you may want to cook some pizza while working.
-Spirit Gum - or other latex prosthetic adhesive. Available from Halloween stores
-Mixing Bucket and tools - After hitting Walmart (again) for supplies, I got a painter's bucket and a cool mixer that attaches to my wireless drill to mix paint (though we'll be using it to mix plaster)
-Super Glue - Walmart, Walgreens, Ralphs, pretty much anywhere sells this stuff
-Rags - To clean up the messes and blood and such
-Pie Tin - Not for pies but for molding. Can be bought at most grocery stores
-Ball Point Pen - One that writes on skin
-Q-tips - Not just for cleaning ears!
-An amazing wife - She'll let you take over the dining room table for months to build your crazy DIY projects
-Time - Young people have more than enough of it. Steal some of their's.

I'll try and separate this into the following basic sections: Molding the face, Sculpting the "Metal Area", Making the Latex mask, Construction of the Eye, Painting the latex mask, Making the Eye Glow, Fake skin, and Final. When making my mask I did it a little out of order with the Eye and the Painting but the order in which I wrote it here is the order I'd do it now if and when I do it again.

As the Doctor says, "Allons-y!"

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Step 1: Molding Your Face

Molding Your Face

Tools needed (This list is based on what I used. You may substitute anything you'd like but I hold no responsibility if your face turns green):
Plaster of Paris
Plaster Strips
Petroleum Jelly
Mixing bucket

First off, you need to get a positive of your face. To do this we'll first make a negative of your face. This can be done a few different ways but I find the easiest way is to bribe someone (your spouse or someone you trust) to help you. Get a nice clear area, preferably tile or outside. I used my bathroom floor. I'd also use the bathroom before this starts as you will be pretty much busy for the next hour or so. Additionally, a method of communication with your assistant may be useful. Sign language is helpful or so is a dry erase marker and white board. Either way helps the pass the time when you're laying still for the next 45ish mins. Measure out the plaster and water according to the directions but DO NOT MIX them yet. Once you have everything measured out, take the petroleum jelly and apply to face. You really want to apply this mainly to your hairy areas of your face like your eyes, eye brows, about 2-3 inches into your hairline (unless you have a bald cap or swim cap), beard and any other facial hair you may have. The jelly helps to keep the plaster from sticking and tearing off half your face. Next, lie on your back and support the head and neck either with some rags or and old pillow since you'll be there for the next 45ish mins. Have your lovely assistant help you pour the plaster on your face and MAKE SURE you either stick your fingers in your nostrils when putting the plaster over your nose or stick straws in your nose so you can breath. Once you have plaster all over your face, have your assistant place either the strips of plaster or the burlap on your face and, if using burlap, apply a little more plaster to the burlap. The plaster strips have plaster in them already and thus, don't need another layer of plaster. Once all the plaster is on, make sure to give it plenty of time to dry. It took something like 30 mins to dry in my case. NOTE: the plaster is going through a chemical change and will get warm and in some cases, slightly hot. I was not uncomfortably hot but it was pretty warm and it was heavy. After the plaster is dry, slowly peel it off your face trying to leave as much hair on your face as possible. I forgot to liberally douse my beard and it was severely thinned via the removal process. Rinse off your face with soap and water so you can see and proceed.

Now that you have a negative of your face, we're gonna make the positive. Take your negative and apply a couple plaster strips to the outside of your negative where the nose is to fill in the nostrils. Next, support the sides and edges with the rags you were using to support your head and neck (you were supporting them weren't you?) and take the PAM spray and apply a liberal coating within the negative making sure to cover all the holes and cracks. The PAM spray will act as a releasing agent between the two plaster sets; otherwise the plaster will likely stick to itself and you'll spend another 45mins laying on the floor cursing the gods of claustrophobia while being stuck in plaster face mold. Mix another batch of plaster and pour that into your negative. Eat some pizza while it sets up and when its done, remove the negative from the newly made positive and you now should have an exact copy of your face.

Step 2: Sculpting the Metal Area

Sculpting The Metal Area

Tools needed:
Sculpting Tools
Oven or Air

Take your positive of your face and have a seat at a nice working area as this will take some time. Take a chunk of clay and place it over the eye and begin to slowly work up the clay. This is why I recommend using oil based clay that needs to be baked to dry since it does take some time to get the design right.  We are going to be making just the metal part of the mask at the moment so don't worry about the fake skin for now. I went online and found some source images of a T-800/T-101 (Arnold's model) and began to slowly mold away. I used some slight gouges to create the feeling of depth around the eye and further up on the forehead and I made sure to always keep referencing the pictures so I could get the angles right and such. I also slowly added layers of clay so that I didn't have a huge protruding face prosthetic but rather had something that looked fairly close to being my actual skull. You'll also notice that there isn't an eye yet, just and eye socket. That is because we'll make the eye a little later. Once you have your face the way you want it, simply stick it into the oven to bake or let it air dry (depending on your clay).

Step 3: Making the Latex Mask

Making the Latex Mask

Tools needed:
Plaster positive with Sculpey mask on it
Plaster of Paris
Pie pan

Now that we have a plaster positive of your face with your molded mask on it, we're gonna make a negative of that using the same technique we used earlier to mold your face. Spray the positive and mask with the PAM to make it resist the plaster. Mix up and fill about 7/8 of the pie pan with plaster. Let it sit for about a little while, about a minute or so, and test to see if its still super watery or kinda hard. Once it has set up just a little bit, take your positive with the Sculpey on it and place it, Sculpey down, into the plaster. Try and hold it for a little while to make sure that it sets up and that it doesn't sink to the bottom of the tray. I used a clear pie pan so I could see whether or not the positive was touching the bottom of the pan or not. YOU DO NOT want the positive touching the pan in any way. You want it to be basically free floating in the plaster. You also need to make sure that the Sculpey section of your positive is completely covered by the liquid plaster. Let the plaster set up and stiffen. Once it is hard, remove your positive and you should have a negative of your face plus the Sculpey section.  Just as a note, if you completely submerse your positive into the plaster, you won't be able to get it out. Also, when pulling your positive out, you're very likely to break parts if not all of your Sculpey off your positive. Don't worry, we're done with that anyway. If you are satisfied with the look of your negative, then remove the Sculpey from the positive. If you are not happy with the way it looks, and/or you have pieces of your Sculpey left in your negative, remove them and super glue them back onto your positive and try again. Once you have a negative you like, remove all remaining Sculpey from your positive and let your negative dry completely.

Now, once you have let your new negative dry for a sufficient amount of time, take your liquid latex and pour it into your negative. Slosh it around inside the negative so that it covers the entire inside of the negative then let it pool up in the area where your Terminator eye will go (the area of the negative where we had the Sculpey). If you don't have enough pooled up at that area, just ad some more. Then take your positive and place into the negative so that the latex is squished between your positive and the negative. If you have enough latex squished between the two, you should see latex being oozed out along the edges between the two. This is fine. It takes practice to determine how much latex should be squished between the two pieces. This process takes a while to dry since the latex is air vulcanizing (meaning it turns to rubber via the evaporation of some chemical, typically ammonia, and doesn't need to be baked). Let this sit for a few days just to make sure that its totally dry. Just because the oozed latex is dry doesn't mean that the squished latex is dry. NOTE: If you remove your negative too soon and the latex isn't dry, just peel off whatever you can, and repeat the squishing process. Once you have let your latex dry a couple days, SLOWLY separate your negative and your positive and you should have a nice rubbery face with a section that will become the metal area of our mask in the next step.

Unfortunately I don't have any images of this step so this image of my dining room table will have to suffice.

Step 4: Constructing the Eye

Constructing the Eye

Tools needed:
Ping pong Balls
Soldering Iron
Super Glue
Lego Wheel

Firstly, take your newly acquired rubber face and trim off the excess latex from around the "metal area" using your scissors. The metal area is going to be the part of the mask that looks like metal showing through the skin. Its okay to discard the excess dry latex as it is useless for this project or you could keep it around. Totally up to you. Take your metal area and place it on your positive. Now, take a ping pong ball and begin to cut it into a semi eye shape. This will protrude from the eye socket and will be the fake eye. This will also be where the LED shies through. You want to slowly cut off pieces of your ping pong ball so that it eventually fits evenly with the eye socket area. Once you have your eye the shape you want, take a pencil and draw an outline where it fits best. Then take your scissors and cut a small hole within that area so that you can feed your LED and your wires into the eye. Next, take your Lego wheel and draw a small circle on the eye where the wheel will go. REMEMBER: Your LED will be emitting light from behind the wheel. Think of the wheel as the colored part of your eye and the red LED will be lighting the Black part of your eye. Try different angles and positions for the wheel to get the look right. You don't want one eye looking straight ahead and your Terminator eye looking at the ground. After you have traced where the wheel will go, take your soldering iron and begin to make a small hole. FYI: Ping pong balls burn. They burn fast and awesomely. Make sure you go very slow with the soldering iron because it can easily ignite your eye. Through out the process, check your wheel to see how it fits within the hole. If your hole is slightly too large, that can be fixed with superglue and paint. Once your hole is the right size, superglue your wheel into the eye. Next, place super glue inside the edge of the eye and then place it into the eye socket. This will hold the eye in place.

Proceed to the next step for painting.

Step 5: Painting the Mask

Painting The Mask

Tools needed:
Metallic Spray Paint
Clear Coat
Flat Black Acrylic Paint

Go to a well ventilated area and apply a coat of the Metallic spray paint and let it dry. SIDE TANGENT: There are various ways to paint latex. I chose the metallic spray paint since A) it was readily available B) Its cheap, and C) the metal area wouldn't be moving so the paint wouldn't crack. Normally, spray paint is junk when it is on a flexible material since it doesn't like to bend and instead cracks. Back to the mask. Once the first layer is dry, apply a couple more coats. The Rustoleum paint is the bee's knees and got more and more metallic the more coats I put on. I probably put on about 5 coats. It also added a little bit of support to the latex, though I wouldn't trust the paint for any structure support other than basic form shape. Another nice thing about the Rustoleum and most spray paints is that it fills in small holes nicely, like those between the eye and the wheel hole or the eye and the eye socket. Once your last coat has dried for a good while, at least 24 hours, take your flat black paint and your thin brush and paint all your grooves black. NOTE: You can paint the eye socket now if you'd like but to achieve an illusion of depth, I waited until after clear coating to paint the eye socket area. Once you have painted your flat black in the grooves, take your clear coat and apply a few layers all over according to the directions. This will give a nice shine to the metal area and make it look more like its actually polished metal. If you didn't paint your eye socket before, do so once your clear coats are dry so that you have a nice glossy metal area and a flat black (not shiny black) eye socket.

Next we'll look at making the red glow in the eye piece.

Step 6: Making the Eye Glow

Making the Eye Glow

Tools needed:
Soldering Iron
Electric Tape
Glossy Accents

First off, take your newly dried mask and put in on your face. Look in the mirror. Pretty awesome huh? Now that you have said "I'll be back," "Come with me if you want to live," and "Hasta la Vista, baby" enough, take the mask off and place it back on the positive. Take two wires, tape the wires (one to the positive side and one to the negative side) to the battery and the solder the wires to an LED to see if it'll light up. For me, there was a lot of trial and error. Too much power, not enough power, etc. What I finally did was set up an experiment and I took four different batteries and four different LEDs and figured out which combination gave me the brightest light but wasn't too hot (since its gonna be mounted basically on your forehead) but also lasted a while (since I was planning on wearing mine for as long as possible.) Again, since I didn't plan on making an instructable, I didn't keep track as to which LED and battery combo I ultimately used. Once you have decided which setup you will use, disconnect the battery or go buy a brand new one for the big night or nights you plan to wear the mask. Next, take the Glossy Accents and apply a small amount to the Lego wheel and let it dry according to the directions. Using the Glossy accents will create a nice glossy "bubble" and will help to diffuse the light which gives a better red glow. Finally, once the glossy accent is dry, tape the LED and wires to the back of the mask and test with the battery the light and diffusion. If its to your liking, move on. If not, I'm not too sure what could be done to help the diffusion. Perhaps a dab of frosting glass spray paint (which I have for another DIY but didn't try at the time because I was happy with my diffusion) on the glossy accent.

Step 7: Making the Fake Skin

Making the Fake Skin

Tools needed:
Liquid Latex
Positive of your face
Liquid Foundation
Fake Blood
Applicator Sponge

Take your positive and your metal area and a pencil and trace on your positive an outline of your metal area. Then REMOVE your metal area and store it somewhere safe. Take your positive WITHOUT the metal area on it and grab your liquid latex and an applicator sponge (like the one that came from your make-up kit). Using the sponge, lightly coat your positive of your face making a nice thin layer of latex. You can do this two or three times to create a nice thin layer of skin. Once it has totally dried, slowly peel it off and using your handy dandy cutting device, slowly trim around the edges of where the metal area will be. You want to create the effect that the skin has be destroyed revealing the metal beneath it to some ragged edges are great. Once you have trimmed your skin, take your skin tone liquid foundation and apply it to the fake skin. Let it dry and then reapply. Next, take the make up and following the examples they give, make some bruising around the edges of the eye. Next, take the fake blood and a q-tip and dip the tip into the blood. Then, take the q-tip and trace around the edge of the skin around the eye socket to make it look like the skin is bleeding. Finally, if you want to, take the q-tip and make a one or two trails of blood coming down from the eye socket area.

Step 8: Final Touches

Final touches

Tools needed:
Stage putty
Make up
Liquid foundation
Spirit Gum
Ball point pen

Time to wear it! Take your battery that you determined will work best for your LED and tape the wires to the battery making sure that the LED lights up. Then tape the battery to the back of the mask. Take your metal area and line it up on your face and take a ball point pen and make a quick outline as to where it goes so that it looks right when you glue it on. Next, take your Spirit Gum adhesive and apply to the metal area and face following directions of the adhesive. Then, line up your metal area to your outline, press and hold so that it sticks. Make sure it looks good. You can peel it off quickly and reapply it if you do it fast enough, otherwise you'll need the spirit gum remover to get the mask off and then you'll have to clean it and put it back on again. Once satisfied with the placement of the metal area, take your fake skin, apply adhesive to your face and the skin, and apply to face. Next, take your stage putty and apply to the edges of your fake skin to blend your real skin and your fake skin. Then, take your liquid foundation and apply to your fake skin, the putty, and your real skin to get a good smooth transition from real skin to fake skin. Next, take your stage make up and apply to some of the lumps and cracks of the stage putty (because there will be some cracks and lumps. Its inevitable.) By applying your stage make up, you can make those cracks and lumps look like more skin lacerations and wounds. Then take your stage blood and q-tips and apply blood along the eye socket skin again to make it look fresh and to any other lacerations you may have made.

Finally, to top off the costume, get a leather jacket, an air-soft or BB gun, perhaps leather pants or jeans, and if you can talk your better half into it, make her Sara Conner. It might even be really cool to have your kid be John Conner.

Thanks for your input. Hoped you like it and if you make one or even anything close, let me know. I'm always looking for new ideas as to how to improve my work so please feel free to comment. Again, I know that my pictures suck. Lets not reiterate just how much of teh suxor they are. Thanks.

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    3 Discussions


    8 years ago on Step 8

    Hi. Love that second pic of you guys.