Foam Batman Mask

Batman is such an iconic character and has appeared everywhere from movies, to video games, to television, to LEGOs. How many kids (and adults) have dressed up as Batman. But eventually you want a mask thats more than just a plastic thing that straps to the front of your face. The thing about a good Batman mask or cowl, though, is that it needs to fit just right. If it's too big, it can make your head look large, and not sit right. But if it's too small, then it won't fit at all, or give you a really big headache. Confession: I have a big head (I've got my own weather system up here). So I opted to try and make a Batman Cowl.

Supplies:

  • 5mm EVA foam
  • Contact Cement glue
  • Latex quick seal
  • Foam Clay (Model Magic works too)
  • Black Plastidip
  • Elastics and velcro (for the chin strap)

Tools

  • Sharp blades
  • Heat gun

This video is also a great resource: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttIk4TZP3q0

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Step 1: Make the Template: Tape Your Face

To start, I wanted to make the mask fit my head closely, so I decided to pull a template from my head itself. Now you can do this yourself, but it's much easier with someone else. NOTE: If you are planning on wearing something like a balaclava under the mask, please wear it during this step. I covered over half of my head with tin foil. Then taped it up with duct tape. This works better if you tear the tape into little strips and apply those. It allows you to better capture the major contours of the face.

I covered my whole nose, but please leave some of the mouth exposed (for those who enjoy breathing).

Then, with a marker, draw where your major features and facial lines lie. This is especially important around the eyes. Also draw a center line that runs down the middle of your face. The mask I'm making is symmetrical, so we only need to worry about one side.

Step 2: Make the Template: Add Features

I then used paper and tape to build up the features. This includes adding the ears and building out the nose. I also built out the brows a little by making small balls of foil and taping over until I got the shape I wanted.

Draw on the facial lines of where the mask will go. Also draw registration marks across cut lines so that you know where edges meet up.

Step 3: Make the Template: Cut It Out

Now cut up the tape along the lines you drew. In the end, you will want everything to be able to lie flat. Look at the example of how I cut things up.

I split the back of the head. Then cut from the point down to the brow. I have a loop around where my ear goes. Around the eyes. You get the idea.

This next step is to then put it to paper. You can either trace the pieces on paper/card stock and clean up the lines. Or if you are really fancy, you can take a photo of the templates and use a tool like Inkscape to draw out the cleaned up template.

Step 4: Cut Out the Foam

The next step is pretty obvious, but it is time to cut out the foam. Be sure that on the rounded edges, you cut with your knife angles straight up and down. If it is a sharp edge, then angle the blade.

You will need to cut everything out twice, but flipping over the pattern to do the other side of your head. I like to label on each side of the pattern an L or R for whether it's for the right or left side.

Once everything is cut out, I went over the pieces with my heat gun and rounded them out a bit.

Some great techniques can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBmVKwTQHXU

Step 5: Glue It Together

I used pictures of my reference and template to help me glue everything together. Just put a bit of contact cement glue on both edges, let it dry until tacky, then stick them together. I made the two halves separately, then stuck them together, but do whatever works for you. Leave the chin strap open, or you will have a miserable time getting the mask on.

Step 6: Sand Things Out

Now is the time to sand over the edges and smooth everything out. I also sanded out quite a bit on the inside of the mask around the brow and eyes. You want the foam around the eyeholes to be pretty thin so that it isn't pushing into your eyes. It will also make it a lot easier to put the mask on and off. The nose cheeks and brows can really get in the way. So now is the time to make sure everything fits comfortably. Also, now is the time to ensure that the eye holes are the right size and you can see correctly.

Step 7: Sculpt the Brows and Fill the Seams

Next, I used some foam clay to sculpt out the brows more. I like the slightly angry, wrinkly look above the nose. I didn't use much clay at all, but it helps. if you wet it down, you can work it and smooth it.

Next, use the latex filler to fill in the seams. You want this to look nice and smooth, as though it were made of one piece.

This video is an excellent resource: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPDjeT8cOi8

Step 8: Coat in Plastidip

Next, I coated everything is several layers of Plastidip. I purposely picked a black one, so that the mask didn't require any further painting.

Step 9: Add Elastic for the Chin Stap

I then sewed velcro to some thick elastic for the chin strap. You want to give a bit of flex so that you can actually talk properly. I glued the other side of the velcro to the bottom of the chin. NOTE: It is much more comfortable to glue the soft side of the velcro facing the skin, and the hook side facing away.

Step 10: Go Out and Save Gotham

You are now ready to go out and save Gotham without revealing you alter ego! So enjoy your vigilante exploits, and try not to get into too much trouble.

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