Whether for your next fetish party, bondage convention or annual office staff group-picture, make your own gimp mask from recycled inner tubes and you're sure to leave a lasting impression.
A freakish, weird, rubbery impression.
Though primarily used in BDSM, gimp masks can also be used as a prop or as part of a costume. But, mostly BDSM.
For those out there into this kind of thing, don't worry you're not alone.
This instructable was entered in the Alchemy Goods Inner Tube Reuse Contest
Check out the finalists!
Enough talk, let's gimp!
Step 1: Tools + Materials
To bond the inner tubes you will need inner tube repair cement, I found mine as part of a kit available at the $dollar store. You can also buy the cement at the bike repair shop.
Step 2: Make Mold of Head
Gimp masks are meant to be fitted (I assume). The easiest way to make a mask like this is to create a mold of the mask-recipients' head. As I couldn't kind any willing volunteers, I used my own head for this mask. An alternative to making a mold is by purchasing a styrofoam head or a mannequin head, however the mask may not be as form-fitting as with creating a mold of the recipient's head.
There's plenty of methods to make a head mold, the method shown here is one low-cost solution. As an added bonus, the head-mold can be kept and reused for future projects.
When making head mold your subject must be comfortable with their entire face and head being covered for several minutes.
Ensure airways are not restricted by providing adequate space around nose and mouth at all times.
Masking tape head mold:
This method uses masking tape over plastic cling wrap to form an outer shell of your entire head.
Before you start anything, lay out all the materials you're going to need ahead of time: plastic cling wrap, masking tape, scissors and a sharp knife.
In addition, I prepared large overlapping sections of masking tape into an adhesive sheet. This will speed up process and reduce the amount of time my face is under wraps and cover larger areas that do not have many detailed features, like the top and back of head. Lay out a few
When you are ready, start by wrapping your head with plastic cling wrap, making sure to leave an opening at your mouth and nose for breathing. The plastic wrap does not have to be tight.
Once the entire head is covered in cling wrap begin applying masking tape of entire head, again with openings at nose and mouth.
Start with applying the pre-made adhesive sheets of masking tape to top and back of head, then grab the roll of masking tape and apply over entire face. Use smaller pieces for more intricate and detailed areas, like around bridge of nose, around eyes and the chin.
Seriously, there is an asphyxiation risk when making a head mold using this or any other method.
Use common sense and be safe.
Step 3: Remove Mold
After entire head is covered with masking tape it's time to peel away the mold. Carefully make a small incision along the back of the mold starting from the crown of the head to the nape of neck. Apply enough pressure to penetrate the masking tape, but not too much that you cut your scalp.
Once cut, pull the mask forward off head to remove.
After mold has been removed, re-tape back of mold where incision was made. Then, stuff head with crumpled newspaper for rigidity (you could also use expanding polystyrene foam).
You now have a replica of a head.
Step 4: Prepare Inner Tubes
Now that you've created a head-mold to work on, we'll need to prepare the inner tubes before we can work with them.
Start by cutting though an inner tube with scissors, turning the inner tubes from doughnuts into open-ended tubes, then bisect lengthwise. I used two inner tubes for my head, so repeat the process for as many tubes as you require for yours.
The inside of inner tubes have a powdery coating, this coating is talc. Talc powder is used as a lubricant inside the tubes and is there to prevent the tube from pinching and tearing during installation and use. We have no need for this talc coating, so we'll need to clean it off.
With a damp rag, wipe the inside of each tube until clean. You may need to rinse your rag a few times before all talc is removed.
Step 5: A Word on Bike Cement
Before gluing any inner tubes together, it's important to know what we're dealing with.
Bicycle innter tubes are elastic and flexible. As such, you'll need a special type of cement to create a stable elastic bond. This cement can be found as part of a bicycle inner tube repair kit at your local bike store, $dollar store or hardware store. Though I'm not sure, the glue smells similar to the type used for plastic scale models (not like I was sniffing glue, or something).
Similar to when repairing a puncture on an inner tube, there is some prep work that needs to be followed prior to bonding each piece together. Failure to prepare the surface prior to bonding may result in your mask falling apart after some use.
The process is simple, yet important: clean, score, apply glue, bond.
Step 6: Measure, Score, Bond, Repeat
Start by ensuring each strip is clean of grease, powder or other debris, then score areas to be bonded, either with sandpaper or metal scoring device found in bike repair kits, then apply cement to scored areas and bond strips, use masking tape to hold bond until dry.
Though you can separate the bonded sections after cementing, the result looks terrible and trying to remove old cement is difficult. For these reasons, consider the cement bond permanent. Since you're only going to have one chance at bonding the inner tubes once cement is applied, dry-fit a few areas prior to any gluing.
I started with a section of inner tube around the forehead, then glued it in place on the head mold made earlier, using masking tape to hold the bond while I worked on other sections.
This headband forms the base for the rest of the mask.
Middle of head:
The glue doesn't take long to set, after the headband is bonded score the longitudinal edge of the next strip and bond to headband piece over head mold. Repeat bonding process until you reach the chin. You may choose to use small strips for more detail, or long strips angled to replicate the undulations and curvature of the face. I chose the latter as it seemed like a faster method.
Top of head:
The top of the mask is probably the easiest, as you can pre-bond a few strips together into a sheet and drape over top of head then attach to headband. This section will resemble a skull cap. To create a form fit, you will need to suture a few areas to create a smooth surface and prevent bunching.
Chin & neck:
Similar to the top of the head, you can pre-bond a few smaller strips and then bond to rest of mask. Suture along the jawbone for a form fit.
Take your time with each section and remeasure as required to make a form fitting mask. Use plenty of masking tape to help you hold the pieces together, before, during and after applying cement.
Step 7: Cut Openings
After mask has all strips bonded it's time to cut the openings for the mouth, eyes and back of head.
To easily remove the mask from head (and from head mold) you will need a large opening at the back of the mask. Since I was using a zipper for the back of the mask, I used the zipper length as a guide. You could use lacing instead. Mark the length with a marker and cut an opening from bottom of mask (nape of neck) to zipper length (mine was about 15cm [6"], just shy of the crown). I wanted the teeth of the zipper to be exposed, so I cut the opening about 1cm wide (0.39").
After the back of mask has been cut, place mask on head (your head, not head mold) and with a marker make some approximations of eye and mouth locations.
Remove mask and remark the eye and mouth location with more definition. Then cut eye openings, leaving the mouth for last.
As with back of head, exposed zipper teeth has a greater impact. And no where is this more obvious than the mouth. Cut opening for mouth with about a 1cm (0.39") width.
Step 8: Sew in Zippers
With openings cut into mask it's time to add the zippers. Sew zippers into mask with zippers closed.
Back of head:
Using pins, align zipper with opening. Then, starting from the bottom, sew in zipper.
Depending of the length of your zippers, you may have a zipper which is longer than the opening of your mouth. Pin zipper in place, excess zipper should be stuffed inside the mask, we'll glue it in place with more cement after sewing the mouth zipper. This will allow the zipper to function with the excess hidden inside.
After mouth zipper is pinned, sew in place.
Step 9: Results!
If, like me, you're not into BDSM, consider wearing this mask to creep out the family at the next reunion. In one evening you can scare gramps, ostracize yourself completely and have yourself written out of the will.