This isn't going to be a very good Instructable. I made this mask as a gift so I was mostly concentrating on completion, and paid far less attention to taking production photos than usual.
Some time ago, I made the Moon Dog Mask, and I loved it. And I was hoping that I could entice Bill to create a costume around it for Halloween, so he would play dress-up with me.
The problem was that the Moon Dog mask was probably not going to be very easy or comfortable to wear. I mean, it would be fine for me, because I am totally used to suffering for costumes, but I had a feeling that Bill would be less into that. The mask is bulky, it sits a bit strangely on the face, and it's particularly front-heavy because of all the clay used to make the really large nose (plus there is a lot more clay rooting the tongue inside the mouth. Way more than there needs to be!)
I decided to make a second Moon Dog mask with the explicit intent of making it lighter and more comfortable.
Step 1: Streamlined Contours
To reduce the bulk, I decided to pull back the points of the crescent moon, contour the sides instead of leaving them squared-off, and narrow the snout.
Also, the original Moon Dog mask had the ribbon ties embedded within the sculpture, but I wanted Bill to have the option of replacing them with elastic or some other closure, so it was important that I leave the ribbons accessible.
I also added a couple of visual flourishes.
I placed a crater along the sharp edge to create some dimension. This was accomplished by simply tracing the arc of a quarter along each side of the cardboard, cutting it out, and then covering over the hole with paper mache strips.
Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of the other thing I did. All of the craters on the first Moon Dog were painted on, but early in the process I'd toyed with the idea of layering cardboard on the sides and cutting through the top layer to make them more three-dimensional.
I didn't want to do anything so elaborate here, especially since that would make the mask heavier. Instead, what I did was roll out a thin sheet of clay with a rolling pin and cut out four circular craters. I placed these in various locations on the mask, then smoothed down the edges of the clay. The result was that the smooth, flat sides of the mask were maintained, but there were a few craters that were "real."
Shallow, but real.
The result, I hoped, was that when they were combined with the painted craters on the finished mask, they would subtly reinforce the idea that the mask was actually covered in craters. The play of real light and shadow on the edges of the actual crater makes you see that they have dimension to them, which helps trick you into believing that the other ones are real too!
I made a much smaller nose out of clay, and a shorter tongue, all intended to decrease the overall weight of the mask. Plus eyebrows!
Step 2: Finishing Touches
The Instructable for the first Moon Dog mask covers the paint job, and this one is exactly the same. I wanted the relationship to be unmistakable: these moon dogs are definitely the same species, if not the same family. To that end, I tried to match the original base color, and then use the exact same tones for highlights and lowlights.
I also sewed strips of velcro onto the ribbons, so the mask can quickly and easily be slipped on and off.
Ultimately, the fit is much more comfy. The weight difference is less significant than I had hoped, but it is lighter and, perhaps more important, the weight is more evenly distributed. It got the job done, anyway, because Bill is hard at work making his costume! I can't wait to see the finished product.