Rorschach Mask: Thermochromic Paint




About: I am a student who likes to build and tinker with things and I use my heritage as a basis for inspiration in my daily life.

After the Super Hero/ Super Villains contest was announced I knew I had to enter something into it, something not well known but still really cool. I thought props, gadgets, and items belonging to a hero or villain would be cooler than trying to recreate that character in their entirety. When considering what to create, I wanted to bring my love for Super Heroes together with the scientific and mathematical solutions that make some of the objects that define these characters into something functional and real. I remembered seeing a "real Rorschach mask" a couple of years ago and it popped into my mind again so I decided to research it further. It didn't seem too hard to make so I ordered the supplies and did some tests!

Step 1: Materials


-Black Thermochromic Pigment

-Transparent Fabric Base

-White Mask

-**OPTIONAL** Plastic Drama Mask

Step 2: Making the Mask

If you plan on using a premade mask such a morphsuit mask, skip to Step 3.

To make your own mask, you'll need to take a white t-shirt and cut along the seems. Next, make a template like in the pictures above, The measurement are taken from my specs but I'm sure it won't make a difference if you use them. Trace the template onto the fabric (leave about a 1/4 of an inch on the side to stitch it together. Cut it out on the 1/4 inch border and fold along the center point to prepare for stitching. If you have a sewing machine this part is a breeze, however if you don't, then like me, you will have to tediously stitch along the whole seem. Use whatever stitching pattern you are comfortable with, I am by no means an expert so you'll have to figure this one out on your own. When you are done stitching flip it right side out and you are done!... with the blank mask :)

Step 3: Create a Design

Pick one of Rorschach's famous mask designs or even create your own! Then make a template and trace it on your mask with a pencil.

Step 4: Painting

Now for the easy part... Take all of your materials, mask, clear base, pigment and paintbrush to apply paint. I also used a mannequin head to help get the shape right. Mix a little bit of the transparent base with the thermochromic pigment, a little goes a long way (there is not set amount just use enough of each to get a smooth consistency). Next, Paint it! When it looks just how you want it let it dry overnight, or all day depending on when you do it.

Step 5: **OPTIONAL** Under Mask for Regulating Airflow

If you choose to do this step you need to take your design template and place it over your drama mask and line it up where it will sit on your face. Mark the parts that reach the furthest from your nose and mouth. Then design openings for air to escape, be creative! Depending on how thick your drama mask is you might have to drill holes to fit your tool into it and start cutting. I used a razor blade for carving and shaved the plastic. Also the jaw was an unnecessary addition so I cut it off. Remove the burrs and scuffs when you are done cutting. Finally you will need to take some tape and cover the nose holes from the inside, this will cause the air to flow up and towards the eyes and forehead, thus controlling the top.

Step 6: Finished!

When everything is done and dry put it on and start breathing! Thermochromic paint disappears (semi) when it heats up, and it returns to its original color when cooled off. So when you exhale the warmth from your body is enough to cause it to disappear. When you inhale the rapid air movement coming in can cool it down fast enough to get a really cool looking effect! Now go put on a fedora and a trench coat and enjoy your very own Rorschach mask!

**Disclaimer** For the people who may be thinking that this is not a legitimate Rorschach mask, something like that is science fiction and this the closest thing to the actual mask with what we have available now.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed! Check out the other Instructables on my page!

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Participated in the
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    9 Discussions


    2 years ago

    The file says forbidden


    3 years ago

    Have you thought about adding a coat of a more grey/opaque layer around the borders of your design? It could give it more of a gradient look.


    3 years ago

    This is really cool.

    Can i ask where did you get the transparent base? i have some pigment, but i havent had good results. I tried it with different amounts in black acrylic paint and that was a bust.. then i tried it with the pigment and just water and that was a bust as well. Id like to see if your method will work better for me. perhaps it was the pigment i bought!

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago

    I got everything from amazon for fairly cheap, it is sold as Speedball transparent fabric base. It was about $6-$7 for the base. and I can see how black acrylic would mask the disappearing properties. I'm sure you'll have good results as long as you buy the right stuff!

    That's brilliant! It looks like it works so well, especially since the mask regulate the air flow, very smart!