Featured List

Down The Rabbit Hole: My Next Cosplay Project!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

If you've noticed my lack of craft posts the past few months, it's because all my crafting energy has been going into my next cosplay - which is fun, but also saps my creative mojo, so to speak. I'm looking forward to finishing just so I can get back to smaller, immediate-gratification projects!

Sadly I'm nowhere near the finish line yet, but I think the most important part - my mask - is finally finished enough to show off.

As most of you guessed from my sneak peek ages ago, I'm working on a steampunk White Rabbit from Disney's Alice in Wonderland.

Now, this is my first-ever foray into leather working, so naturally John and I jumped in head first by starting with a fairly complicated mask. Heh. I turned to Youtube for tutorials - and highly recommend this one from Merimask - but we still were figuring out a lot of things as we went along, since every tutorial offers slightly different advice.

I started by modeling my mask after Andrea/Merimask's "Gentleman Bunnies" design:

You can actually buy one of these (or a similar style without the monocle) at Andrea's Etsy shop for $200, but since this is to be the focal point of my entire costume, I was determined to make it myself. I'm just stubborn like that. And cheap. But mostly stubborn.

Aaaaand here's my mask (so far):

I may still adjust one or two things, but over all I'm pretty pleased for our first try!

John did the hardest part, which was drawing and adjusting the paper template, stopping to crinkle it over my face every few minutes to check the fit. When he was satisfied, he cut it out of vegetable-tanned, 8 oz leather and handed it over to me to sketch on. I drew in my design details, and then he did the carving:

John is really enjoying this new hobby, so I practically had to pry the mask out of his hands to do my own work on it. :)

Next we soaked the mask in water and formed it on my face. This was tricky, since the muzzle really needed to stand out, but I kept working at it with my fingers, and was eventually satisfied with the shape. (Interesting note: saturated leather is oddly clay-like, and very malleable.) We also shaped the ears a bit.

We propped up the formed mask on parchment paper, and then baked it at about 200 degrees until it dried:

You know it's dry when the mask color lightens up again. (It gets quite dark when you soak it.) Takes maybe 20 minutes, tops.

We used 7 to 8 pound leather for the mask, although I've since learned that we probably could have used something a bit thinner. This thickness is rock hard when dry, and feels more like wood than leather on my face. Good thing it's molded to fit so well!

 
 Here's the formed mask next to my original sketch. As you can see, we got it pretty close.

As much as I like the color of undyed leather, I couldn't really be the White Rabbit without, well, some white. So next came priming and painting:

I used a water-based primer, and then plain acrylic craft paint for the white. The gold sections were painted with Liquid Leaf - which is NOT water-based, but gives a nice shine.


As soon as I finished the gold I realized the contrast was just too stark, so next I aged the entire mask with a lovely yellowish-brown water-based glaze. (The advantages of being married to a former faux-finisher: custom glazes on demand!)

I went a little overboard with the aging, though, so even though I loved the look, I had to go back and white-wash the white sections again to brighten it up. After all, I don't want to be the Cream Rabbit.

(More on my giant pocket watch in a minute.)

The monocle was WAY harder than the mask, and took three times as long to make. I spent hours on the paper template, shaving off millimeter by millimeter to get it to fit the mask contours exactly. I first made a vinyl version, but then started over with a thicker leather for a more authentic look. I also started out with a vintage flashlight lens, but then abandoned THAT for the fun metal edging you see here:

I cut my own lens out of plexiglass, and added a scrim by stretching a scrap of thin black pantyhose over the back. Finally I formed & stitched the cup, added decorations, and riveted the whole shebang onto the mask.

The finishing touch was a thick gold chain attached to the side.

That process was stretched over more weeks than I'd care to admit. I've come to realize I am the world's slowest crafter, just because I figure things out as I go, instead of starting with a clear-cut design and plan of attack. I like the process, but it does get frustrating.

Now check out this loveliness:

Sha-POW!

This is what you get when you let weeds overtake your backyard: a lovely, springy ground cover in brilliant green. Who needs grass? I like this stuff!

Oh, and I just realized the scale of this picture makes my mask look tiny, but I can assure you that's just a giant pocket watch. :) It's actually a vintage wall clock, but I removed the electrical guts and replaced them with a lightweight battery operated clock mechanism, so it even works! I also jazzed up the face with metallic gear cutouts and gems. (Still not 100% happy with it, but it's on the back burner for now.) The thing still weighs a ton due to its heavy metal case, but there's no way I could make something like this entirely from scratch.

Welp, that's all for now!

I have lots more to show you, but nothing finished, so I'll save all that for next time. 

'Til then, I'd love your suggestions on what I can do with my hair/head. Hats are out, so I'm debating either a white wig (which might look too stark) or some kind of head wrap with white & gold cyberlox on the side, kinda like so:


What do you guys think? Any other options come to mind? My hair is too dark and long to leave showing as-is!

Posted by Jen at 6:15 PM Labels: , ,

141 comments:

  1. Oh man, I'm working on a lion-esque mechanical woman costume and I was looking for more robotic touches to put in. I had no idea leather masks were that easy! I think I'll have to do a mask like yours :)

    I was thinking of a cyberlox "mane", so I'd definitely say that'd look good. I think I'm also going to go with sparkly body paint for the exposed limbs, if I end up with anything exposed after I finish with my gloves.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Turn the watch into a purse and make the white and gold wig glow.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The cyberlox idea sounds like it would look best with that awesome mask. Maybe you could even thread some led strings or something to give it a *pop*

    ReplyDelete
  4. Cyberlox is great stuff, I used in for an anthro pony cosplay years ago and have been looking for an opportunity to pull it out again ever since. It's also marginally less hassle to deal with than a wig since it won't tangle at the drop of a hat.

    Looking great so far, I look forward to seeing the final results!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Looks fantastic!

    For your hair, you could make a simple white wimple and then attach any embellishments to it. It would make you look more rabbit-y.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Simple wimple." That bore repeating.

      Delete
  6. So impressive! You guys are so annoyingly talented!

    Much suggestion is to either put your hair in a bun and maybe a cute snood, or what about a little hat? Would that be too close to the Mad Hatter?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought about a hat, but the way the mask sits it wouldn't fit or show very well. The ears get in the way. :) I'll going go google some snoods, though - which is officially the funniest thing I've written today.

      Delete
    2. A snood would be perfect with this look. It should be easy to find a basic one (or make it yourself) and you could jazz it up to match the final outfit.

      Delete
    3. Sounds like a Dr. Seuss book with all this talk about googling snoods & simple wimples. :)

      Delete
  7. Damn. For a first time working with leather, that's amazing :D
    Is there anything you guys can't do?

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love it all! The mask is amazing, well done you. I love the idea of the cyberlox, they fit with the steampunk look very well. You crafty woman you :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I think you could put your hair in a tight, low bun. It would look proper, like a gentlewoman rabbit ought to be.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'd keep your hair the way it is and just get some white ribbon and some Queen of Hearts-ish ribbon/fabric and do to two french braids down the side of your head. But I'm not sure how "rabbit-ish" you're looking to go. Love the mask! I may do something like that for my Cheshire Cat costume

    ReplyDelete
  11. Did you use 'pain' instead of 'paint' for the white acrylic paint section on purpose? I think you are trying to say something ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! Er... yeah, that's it! Or maybe it was a Freudian slip. Fixed now.

      Delete
  12. Oh, Jen... It's wonderful. I'm excited to see your waistcoat and shoes and stuff, too! Will you have twee little bunny claws?
    I think the white rabbit SHOULD have white hair. After all, that's the fur! What I'm actually imagining is something like a pageboy cut, short and no-nonsense.
    What about a fingerwave? http://www.amphigory.com/wigs_fingerwave.html
    Or something a little longer? http://www.amphigory.com/wigs_s_mystic.html

    If you do decide to go with locks you can make your own, or even make your own dreadlocks. I've done those, and they'll make your knuckles hate you but they are quick and cheap. I don't love the idea of cyberlocks, but maybe white dreads with some kind of steamy touch, like... copper coils? Or hidden hearts to show his loyalty? (P.S. I kind of wish that heart on your cheek had a touch of red in it.)

    As always, I ADORE what you do. *hug hug hug*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do like the look of some dreadlocks, but I've never looked into making them! I'll add that to the research list.

      I'm planning on having lots of heart embellishments on the rest of the costume, but that one on the cheek was just a last minute addition - and I think you're right, it *would* look better in red! Hmm.... [plotting]

      Delete
    2. Storm the KlingonJune 27, 2013 at 4:33 AM

      I'm just getting into making dreads and cyberhairpieces, so if you find some good how-to links on those, please be so kind as to hook a sister up?

      Thanks in advance!

      Storm

      Delete
    3. I have ordered from www.sistersofthemoondesign.com/ and I was VERY happy with what I received. They do custom orders, and are customer friendly. I needed to find something that was fire-resistant (fire performer), and after a quick email, they took some samples outside and tried to light them on fire to see what would work best for me. They do offer dreads mixed in with other materials (including Cyberlox).

      Delete
  13. You two never cease to amaze me! You try a new craft and are immediately experts!

    I like the cyberlox...a few glowing strands would add a bit of pop, and fun.

    Okay, I KNOW this is wool, but I kinda like these dread-fall-pig-tail-thingies...

    http://www.hairfromhell.com/Steam-Punk-Hair-Falls(1357082).htm

    Maybe you could stylize the cyberlox something like that? No? I'm off my rocker? Okay. Nevermind.

    Andrea

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like those! Especially since it looks nice mixing the white with the dark hair. I'm going to have to research dreadlocks more now!

      Delete
  14. Ahhhmazing!!! Excellent for your first foray into leatherworking! I like the head wrap idea, or even a blond wig.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh, I forgot. I also saw some of these metallic looking steampunk falls...

    http://anachronaut.deviantart.com/art/Steampunk-Hair-Falls-Tabbed-7674880

    Maybe incorporate something like that?

    Andrea

    ReplyDelete
  16. Sweet!

    My theater group is doing Alice In Wonderland this summer and although we aren't doing anything so elaborate as your mask and such, I'm feeling more inspired to get back to work on my own costume (the Duchess"). I cannot wait to see your finished costume!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Could you do a white cape with a drapey hood?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooo....a cape. Depending on the rest of the outfit, obviously, a drapey-hooded cape would look great. Capes just need to be brought back into regular fashion, not just cosplay, anyways. *sigh*

      Delete
    2. "Capes just need to be brought back into regular fashion, not just cosplay, anyways."

      Yes. Yes they do. I wear a cloak all the time when it's chilly out and I have to walk somewhere.

      Delete
  18. Maybe just add some white extensions to your hair and do it in some sort of updo?

    Are you going to have some sort of winding key coming out of your back? I just think a clockwork white rabbit would be awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  19. My friend makes hair falls out of yarn and ribbon, and attaches different charms and such into them. Maybe something like that?
    https://www.facebook.com/brigitte.hardwick/media_set?set=a.10151104619136321.488764.613156320&type=3

    ReplyDelete
  20. Have you thought about using a tichel for hair?

    ReplyDelete
  21. I liked the way that the White Rabbit was done in the SyFy Alice. Long white wig that had two pigtails at the base of the skull that were connected (I think) somewhere on the back. But seeing as you have bunny ears on your mask already, what about something like the bottom right picture here?,

    ReplyDelete
  22. If you really wanted to commit yourself to the part, you could dye/bleach your hair completely white.
    Then, for the really-over-the-top touch, get a set of pink contact lenses.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Amazing job! Can't wait to see the rest of the costume!

    If you wanted to go simple and just color your hair white, I would suggest Ben Nye Snow White Liquid Hair Color. It's really easy to put in, colors amazingly well, and washes out with just water and shampoo (one washing). Really cheap, too.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Why not paint your hair white?

    http://www.pagesdigital.com/paint-me-beautiful/#paint-me-beautiful/6b53b2684fb7c18d_104013309_10-preview.jpg

    The mask looks great! Looking forward to seeing the whole outfit.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I either think you should do some white extensions added to your own hair in a low bun or pulled back simple updo OR my immediate thought was a one of those colonial style white wigs... like George Washington style or similar.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Beautiful mask, I'm jealous at your and John's talent. Thrilled, amazed and awe-struck but still jealous. Can't wait to see it all put together :)

    ReplyDelete
  27. Have you thought about a bun or snood with embellished hair sticks?

    ReplyDelete
  28. Storm the KlingonJune 27, 2013 at 4:41 AM

    I'm digging the idea of your hair being both white and in either regular ponytails or dreadfalls, teased and stiffened so as to be bunny ear-like (I assume that is your intent?). Not straight up or anything, more like down and back, at an angle? Or one cocked a li'l bit, like "Hmm?"

    LOVING the maskwork, and the tutorial is just what I needed, because I want to put some of my Rococowear (my other clothing era fetish, besides Victorian and Edwardian) to good Whovian use and make masks like the Clockwork People in "The Girl in the Fireplace" so The Vulcan and I can rock that look at Gallifrey in February. Cheers!

    Well done, you!

    Storm

    ReplyDelete
  29. Jen, if I didn't have a "girl crush" on you before, I certainly do now. Your work in just about every craft medium is gorgeous (you too John!). I also get a thrill working with my hands so seeing your work always makes me smile. And this time it's my all time favorite theme! It looks amazing, very well done to you both. I can't wait to see the rest of the outfit. Are you going for a lady bunny, or more androgynous? In high school I used to put fake locks in my hair by twisting it very tightly with gel. This would be cheap, and you could then cover your hair in white, leaving you to do whatever kind of hair-do you wanted. It can be sticky though until it's dried, and once it's dried, can take a washing or two to get all of the gel out. I'm excited!! Will be waiting to see the rest!

    Nikki T

    ReplyDelete
  30. could you weave white and gold ribbons in your hair in a fancy braid? That way it's off your face and neck, but more contained than just a ponytail.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I know you said that hats were out...but I don't listen.
    I would knot your hair at the base of your neck and wear a tiny hat like this: http://www.etsy.com/listing/88581275/lace-miniature-top-hat-green-and?ref=shop_home_active

    I have one of her creations in red with a little clock where the dragonflies are in that picture...I love it. The hat stays on with a tiny clip and a hair comb (seriously doesn't move).

    Here are pictures with the hat on an actual person vs. the head model: http://www.storiedthreads.com/mini_top_hat.html

    ReplyDelete
  32. You guys are amazing! I love how you just decide on a new project and then jump in with both feet to learn the new skills you need to make it happen. I work with leather and I have one tiny suggestion that might make casing/carving your leather easier: soak it in water with some Murphy's Oil Soap in it. It preserves the oils in the leather and leaves it much more workable. When it dries, the leather has a nicer feel and temper as well.

    ReplyDelete
  33. AH-MAZE-ING! As always of course. When you first posted a picture on twitter I thought you were just redoing a rabbit party mask from the store. This is so much cooler. I've been thinking about making some leather bracers for my very first cosplay but wasn't sure about working with it. This just gave me a lot more courage to try it.

    ReplyDelete
  34. What about styling your natural hair and chalking it? A-la this? You could chalk it with white, reds, lighter browns, then braid, stylized pony tail, the possibilities are endless.

    ReplyDelete
  35. That is awesome. I can't believe that's a first try; you can really tell you took your time and did it right.

    As far as your hair goes, the first thing that came to my mind is one of those "Renaissance" style hair nets in gold or white. I don't know what they're called but I just searched "renaissance gold hair net" in google image and got a lot of results. Obviously I don't know what the rest of the costume will look like, but it seems like this could fit into a Wonderland theme and it could also mostly hide your hair if you got one of the more modern knitted versions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's called a Snood, and I agree that it would be an interesting way to style the hair! This is the best place I know of to get snoods, they can do them with little pearls that would look awesome on gold! http://www.snoods.com/

      Delete
  36. Jen- this is Laura who did the NotMom interview with you late last year. I am so excited about your costume! My friends and I are doing an Alice in Wonderland costume group for Dragon*Con. We would love to get our photo with you! We have our own White Rabbit - but the more the merrier, eh?!

    I can't wait to see this all put together.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Heya Jen! Once again you have gone above and beyond! I so want to come hang with you, live with you, craft with you. That mask is absolutely gorgeous! I love the clock idea for the giant pocket watch, but there are so many plastic ones that could give you the look without the weight. Try Ikea. You might even find one that you can fit all the interior parts into. I'd suggest going with a powdered wig look, curl up your hair and stack it on top of your head. Using baby powder and a bellows-type item, puff the powder all over your head a la Marie Antoinette. I always figured that if the white rabbit were female, she'd look like a courtier from the late 1700s.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I thing the problem with the watch is that it's too bright/new looking. The red gems are bright red, not burgundy like the mask, and the gold/brass is bright and new, not aged. Make it closer to the mask in coloring and you will like it more.

    ReplyDelete
  39. magnificent! truly a work of art.
    but may i respectfully say that i feel the cyberlox might cheapen the overall look. the snood idea was wonderful. or perhaps powdering your dark hair to whiten it? the cape with a hood idea is interesting, too. i know you will come up with something brilliant. looking forward to seeing the compete outfit!

    ReplyDelete
  40. My goodness, I LOVE the mask! I'm the wrong person to ask about the hair, but since I sell jewelry and watches for a living, I thought I'd weigh in on your fabulous pocket watch. First, the gold is way too shiny to go with that great matte color on the mask. Also, I noticed the gems you used are not all the same size. I like the color, but since they are between the numbers and not taking the place of the numerals, it makes the face look weird and asymmetrical. Unless that's what you were after, in which case, carry on. I've loved every craft you've done, even if I'm not nearly crafty enough to do my own. I just craft vicariously.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree about the watch (the part about it being too shiny). I think making it more matte would change it dramatically. Maybe steele wool in a circular pattern to add texture? Just a thought.

      Delete
  41. That mask is gorgeous and just makes me want to pursue leather-working that much more!
    I think the idea of dreads in varying shades of your natural color to white (plus embellishments) would look a-ma-zing. Besides, cyberlox always look more futuristic/space-y, but that could just be the ways I've seen it used.

    Whichever way you go, I'm sure it will be gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
  42. I am diggin' this all over!! I love steampunk, and I love Alice (I have a Cheshire Cat tattoo on my calf!) so this sounds sooooo cool!! I'm almost done with school for good, so this may be my chance to take a dive into leather crafting myself! How about a steamy Cheshire Cat to match your White Rabbit? Ooooh, I got ideas a-flowin'!

    ReplyDelete
  43. White hair seems key - but have you thought about tiny little top hat fascinator to really top it off?

    ReplyDelete
  44. I think the cyberlocks are really cool. They'd make a great white rabbit look. I love the idea of putting a key on your back! Like the Queens toy. lol Your mask is awesome too, you make me jealous, and inspire me all at once with all of your crafting ability lol. The only thing on the mask that I liked better on the ones you modeled it after is that the paint around the eye extended a little further over. Around the eye a little more, so it doesnt look like such a stark cut out. But maybe that's just me. Otherwise, I am amazed at it's awesomeness. You guy's really could open up a great etsy shop.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Wow. Just....wow. Nice job. Can't wait to see the rest of it.

    ReplyDelete
  46. OMG... that looks FABULOUS!!! :D

    ReplyDelete
  47. Looks awesome!

    What if you used your hair to kind of imply rabbit fur? (You'd have to spray it white, but there are all kinds of hairsprays for that express purpose at costume shops, usually for aging) You could do something like this or you could tuck your pigtails under a kind of furry cravat like this one

    ReplyDelete
  48. Your mask looks amazing. As always, your attention to detail is what really makes it work. If I were you, I'd style my hair in a Downton Abbey-ish do and then powder it to make it white.

    ReplyDelete
  49. If you slicked your hair back I think it would look pretty cool. What if your white rabbit concept was a sort of white 'allegiance'? You're the white rabbit as a sort of rank? Class? Special designation? That way dark features are acceptable.

    Sorry, I'm a writer at heart and I love thinking of back stories for characters.

    So cool! Someday I hope to visit the Epbot Museum.

    ReplyDelete
  50. I think this line of wigs from Arda would look great with your costume! Lots of colors to choose from too! http://arda-wigs.com/collections/mugatu

    ReplyDelete
  51. That is amazing! Love it.

    I'd go with a white wig, styled and definitely not bobbed.

    ReplyDelete
  52. I'm going to admit to not reading EVERY comment here, but if you did your hair white and made a very low bun it would look very much like a cute cottony bunny tail!

    ReplyDelete
  53. Was thinking maybe a childs white fur hat, slightly customized. Really awesome mask.

    ReplyDelete
  54. I think your mask is fabulous, but more importantly my husband the leatherworker thinks you did a fine job. So there! The huge watch is KILLING ME with envy.

    Ground covers rock! And they rock in direct proportion to how much a person's lawn mower sucks, so around here ground covers rock x infinity.

    Plain white wig = meh. Cyber lox could be cool. I don't suppose you could combine the two? If you do go with a wig it should definitely be bobbed and sleek. Unruly, unrestrained hair is *so* not the White Rabbit's look.

    ReplyDelete
  55. You can easily and cheaply make your own yarn falls. I've done it several times. Here's a pair I did a few months ago: https://fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/164260_10152731332595591_1756530898_n.jpg

    ReplyDelete
  56. You are AH-MAZING!
    I think the cyberlox look pretty great, or alternatively a white, short pageboy wig, possibly with some dyed/plaited in gold (and possibly red) highlights

    Sam xx

    ReplyDelete
  57. Wow, it's beautiful! You did a great job. I consider myself a crafter, but there is no way I could do that!

    ReplyDelete
  58. I'm with the anti-cyberlock faction. To me they give more of a eighties retro impression. I'd go with a white wig.

    The mask is amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Maybe French braid your hair back, then when it gets to the nape of your neck wrap the rest of the braid in a white ribbon or piece of white cloth? Kind of like hair wrapping with thread, only on a grander, less time-consuming scale. From experience it takes come practice to not make it too stiff and stick out, but then I think you've got a lot more hair than me to work with in the first place, so that should make it easier!

    Or perhaps just cover the whole shebang with a simple white beanie? You could even make a white beanie out of eyelash wool, which once it's knitted/crocheted up looks just like fur.

    Ooh! Put it in a bun, then put a hair bun cover over it, like a ballet dancer! A nice neat lacy white one - would be like hinting at a bunny tail! Or you could maybe steampunk it a little by making a cage for the bun out of wire - I think there's one in the first few image http://bit.ly/1aRPq3F

    Love the mask idea - I never knew it was possible to work with leather without needing an extensive list of specialist tools.

    Mini Mammoth

    ReplyDelete
  60. Wow that mask is incredible!!!
    For hair i would maybe get a white wig thats maybe a bit curled like downton abbey kind of?

    ReplyDelete
  61. I made a yarn wig once for a Raggedy Ann costume and while it was a bit time consuming, it was super easy. What is that craft that uses a metal punch tool to wrap short bits of yarn to a wide mesh for a decorate rug like thing? Brain not working. Anyway, if you know what I'm talking about you might be able to use that to craft a short, white yarn haired wig you could form fit to your head. Also, you could ponytail your hair out the back of the wig and just add silver tinsel hair decoration thingies to your ponytail to lighten it up and not have all your hair stuffed under a wig. Don't you love my technical terms? Anyway, that mask and watch are fab! Can't wait to see the whole thing together.

    ReplyDelete
  62. I know you said no hats, but what about an aviator cap? Like this one. Only in white leather? Or you could do a snood (an old fashioned hairnet thing crocheted or out of cloth)

    Can't wait to see the final product! =)

    ReplyDelete
  63. i think a platinum blonde wig, in a good period style - either a chignon or maybe pulled back in a (gold, perhaps?) snood - would work with this (ridiculously awesome) mask...

    ReplyDelete
  64. I personally vote for the snood or a hooded cape, I think they will both be more comfortable, match the style, and add to the mask not distract from it.

    On a side note (and I apologize if you have covered it before) but I was wondering where/how you got your leather and what form it was in when you first got it. I really admire Merimask's work and yours only encourages me more. I want to try making one with my husband and we have many of the tools, it's the raw material that makes me pause.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Wow the mask is incredible, you guys did a fantastic job! (I'm really impressed with the nice even white you got, I hate having to do large areas of white because it is so hard to get good even coverage.) I totally understand jumping into a more complicated project first thing, the majority of my leather work projects start out with me saying "I'm pretty sure I can figure out a way to make that."

    I don't want to swap your comments talking about leather work but if you've got questions or would like the point of view of someone who tends to do less traditional tooling (read avoids western style floral carving) please let me know.

    ReplyDelete
  66. actually, i would avoid being too literal and stick with your natural (or, if you really want to practice wig styling, another color) hair, if it's long enough to style. even though cyber locks and dreadfalls are really cool-looking and can be reminiscent of springs, they read as very raver/club kid/cybergoth, and when paired with something that is supposed to draw from a very elegant and polished time period of fashion, they don't fit. i would research victorian hairstyles and pick one that you think would be appropriate, or at least looks comfortable to wear and easy to put up.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Maybe do a platinum blond wig rather than white with chunky gold threads interspersed and maybe one or two braids with "ruby" clips.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Oh, and make sure the wig is strait and smooth rather than messy looking 'cause the white rabbit was always very fastidious!

    ReplyDelete
  69. That Leather work is WICKED Jen (and Hubby). As for Hair.. I am not sure I can be of assistance.. i am the master of messy buns and pony tails.. Though from the different things I have read above, I like the idea of white chalking for the hair then put it in a bun, or the bun/Braide plus one of those coverthingys for the bun/braid. I totally agree that a hat wouldn't work, and even if you did find one that would, It would take away from the wicked awesomeness of those ears.
    Oh and the "pocket watch" i think would be wicked awesome as a purse like the first person said. Is there a way to still make it function as a clock and have a useable purse?

    ReplyDelete
  70. Oh. My. God. This is simply amazing! You guys should def consider starting your own YouTube instructional channel for all the goodness you keep coming up with.

    ReplyDelete
  71. I remember it now, hook rug is the name of the thing I was trying to describe above. Sometimes I wonder about my brain. I think it might be missing a few pieces somewhere. In any case, last night I thought of the tinsel bit for the ponytail and realized it wouldn't stay on the bottom side due to gravity so I thought you could use a short piece of a paper towel cardboard roll and glue your tinsel, yard or whathaveyou to that and wrap around whatever you use to hold your ponytail together. I'm sorry for the second post, I hate incomplete suggestions!

    ReplyDelete
  72. I actually have a book on mask making from my theater degree. About half of the book is dedicated to the traditional leather mask making techniques of Commedia dell'Arte in Italy. I highly recommend the theater craft books by Thurston James (The Theater Props Handbook; The Prop Builder's Molding & Casting Handbook; The Prop Builder's Mask-Making Handbook). I think these books would make an awesome investment for all your awesome crafting! The molding and casting book was actually a required book for a class on curating fossil collections.

    ReplyDelete
  73. That looks amazing! I wish I was crafty enough to make my own costume. However, I have a goal, a plan, and crafty friends willing to help!

    ReplyDelete
  74. Your mask is incredible! And the huge pocket watch is amazing too. Congrats!

    About the wig, the first thing that came to mind was a judge's wig, or a wig like they wore around the revolution? I was thinking something like the Mouse King from the Nutcracker - a wig from the Victorian age. Something understated; I like the idea of the one you show here but it seems too modern for the rest of the cosplay.

    Good Luck!

    ReplyDelete
  75. If you want to make dreadlocks, make/use i-cord & felt it. Super easy!! Just use 80-100% wool or it won't felt. Fun, Fun, and more Fun! Good luck, your mask is amazing!

    As far as your watch goes, I would have to agree with aging the case. On the other hand, I love the bright gems, but because they are offset from the real time would stick to all the smaller size gems and not use the bigger ones to mark the quarter hours. Just my opinion on that. Please feel free to disregard.

    But do try to make wool dreads! They are fun and easy. We made some red ones for a Sebastian costume for the musical version of the Little Mermaid. They were splendid! You could mix it with your regular hair *cough* and go for a little queue braided with them tied back in a ribbon. :)

    ~Yet another Jenn

    ReplyDelete
  76. The goth kid that I am says Cyberlox all the way!
    That mask looks hella awesome! Can't wait to see your whole costume.

    ReplyDelete
  77. That mask is fantastic! I kind of like the idea of a white, short-haired wig, like this one: http://thesinisterlove.deviantart.com/art/White-Rabbit-Cosplay-153444947 Maybe a few streaks of metallic coloring to add some depth. It isn't too long, but you're not hairless either.
    Good luck! I'm sure it will turn out looking awesome, as usual.
    S

    ReplyDelete
  78. I went as the white rabbit to an Alice in Wonderland-themed showing of the Rocky Horror picture Show. I didn't want a hot costume wig on my head all night, but my hair is very long and fairly dark, so I had to improvise. I braided white ribbon into my hair, and then twisted the whole thing up into a bun. It worked pretty well for me, and was much cooler than a whole head covering!

    ReplyDelete
  79. Great mask work! I'm a leather worker and it's great to see things like this geting the craft out there :)

    I would love to know how you did the actual eyepiece though, that looks great. What is the edging around the plexi? All the guides say to use slip joints for goggles and such but they are impossible to get outside of America :( so fitting the lenses is the hardest part of all

    ReplyDelete
  80. Now I want you to use your leather sculpting experience to make a matching giant pocket watch purse.

    ReplyDelete
  81. I also had a thought on making your watch lighter. You could cast a mold of the case and make it from epoxy or whatever else (a light resin maybe?) and just fit all the stuff in the new, lighter case. Plus you can give it the aged look you want pretty easy. THEN you use the original metal case as a frame of sorts on the wall for something fun and steammpunky - maybe to display your mask or somesuch.

    ReplyDelete
  82. White rabbit was a member of court so I'd avoid overly crazy styles. Something like a french twist or a chignon held back with a fancy comb or hair pins would suit the role much better. Be easier too.
    Don't know what you plan as a costume but a dove grey tux, split open in the back for a bunny tail would be cute.

    ReplyDelete
  83. Hi Jen! Just saw something on Fab.com that I think you and the other geeks (myself included) would love. This link will send you to a page full of Trekkie Treasures:
    http://fab.com/sale/23454/?navEmail=1&utm_source=Triggermail&utm_medium=email&utm_term=saturday_nightly_sale_list&utm_campaign=nightly_sales_mailer&email_user=kim.jameyson%40gmail.com
    Hope you enjoy it :)
    KimberJ

    ReplyDelete
  84. easy hair disguise - pick your favorite or preferred colors on a scarf, keep it tight across your forehead as you wrap it around the rest of your hair in a twist and cover motion and style like a bun. secure with a knot, clips or pins. then add whatever additions you should like: wigs, hats, ears, dangles, etc.

    ReplyDelete
  85. Might want to go and straighten out the people at http://theworldofsteam.tumblr.com/
    They're trying to pass this off as their work and even have a tutorial up on it. I do wish that people would give credit where it belongs. :(

    Just FYI. Awesome mask and I can't wait for the actual tutorial if/when you decide to make one!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not sure if they've adjusted it since you saw it, Stephenie, but there's a link and credit to me there now, so I'm good with it! Thanks for looking out for me, though; I really appreciate it.

      Delete
  86. I agree with the Six of Us on a simpler white wig. If you want focus on the mask, you need to make the hair simpler, in my opinion. (But i don't know your final vision so you may want to ignore this comment.) Thanks for the tutorial. Edjumacational as always!

    ReplyDelete
  87. OMG I want to see the whole thing! And I want to get back to crafting. I've been on a month-long hiatus "cleaning" and organizing (AKA making my entire house look like it belongs on Pinterest). Anywho - I was thinking that it would be A)Fun B)Awesome and C)not as stark if you went with a fascinator. I'm seeing your hair in a ponytail that is then braided into several braids and maybe some gold/white faux braids clipped in or those cyberlox mixed in. If you just want to do the braids for an easier (not clipping lots of things in individually, I've another idea further down. The fascinator could have a little top hat and have white and gold mesh (if you can find the gold) with more gears and such. The mesh could go both forward and back, depending on how/where you want to clip it in and it could help soften the stark difference between your hair color and the mask. Not as stark OR fussy as a wig, should be quick and easy to do your hair when you're wearing it. If you don't want to clip the cyberlox individually into your hair, I'm sure you can find a way to attach them to the fascinator to let them intermingle if you skip the pony tail and just do multiple braids OR make some sort of thing that you can wrap into or around your pony tail. These are a couple images that sort of get to what I'm trying to describe with words...
    Braided hair idea: http://www.etsy.com/listing/85622216/steampunk-fascinator-the-pirates-bride
    Mini top hat with veil: http://www.etsy.com/listing/101754445/custom-bridal-mini-top-hat-fascinator?ref=shop_home_active

    ReplyDelete
  88. It's always interesting to me to see rabbits represented in things, since it's so often incorrect (from a physiological standpoint) unless done by a rabbit owner. They have entirely furry noses and no pads on their paws, designers!

    ReplyDelete
  89. While it is probably very flattering for you to use the Merrimask tutorial, you crossed the line by using her design. If you are going to go to all the work it takes to make something you should be original. Artists do not care for those who copy their designs anymore than writers care for plagiarist. Try being creative instead of copying.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would like to add that I don't believe you intended to be harmful to Andrea/Merimask in anyway, it is clear you are not out to profit from this.

      Delete
    2. Try being kind instead of hateful.

      Delete
    3. I just wanted to say that I've read most of Jen's writings for years, and I think her conscience is a good guide for whether or not she's giving credit where it's due.

      I also wanted to say that I'm grateful for Jen and her ability to rise above the fray in this instance. She's done a LOT of good for the internet geek & crafting communities, and though I was a little sad after seeing her initial response to Anonymous (7/2 at 5:50), I'm glad for the revised response.

      In general, I appreciate Jen's efforts to be positive, community-driven, and generous with praise. Thank you, Jen, for your leadership in keeping these blogs fun, uplifting, and an all-around great place to be!

      Delete
    4. Hateful? They were being pretty polite. While you're not directly harming the original artist, some people might take offence to the fact that you almost exactly copied their design, even if you don't mean to profit from it.

      Delete
    5. It's funny. This is the first I've seen this comment and it just makes me so sad. We started out absolutely in love with the original mask and honestly, I would have just bought it for Jen. She doesn't ask for much. But after discussing it for a while, we realized that it just wasn't exactly what we wanted for Jen's costume. So we decided to try it ourselves.

      Over the next several weeks, we began to learn leatherworking which was really fun. I sketched out a rough outline and Jen filled in the little screws and lines. We wetted it down and sculpted the stinky leather to her face so it would fit just perfectly, laughing the whole time. And after weeks of work, Jen put it up for you to see.

      And now, we're accused of stealing. Even though we credited several times, even though the masks are far from identical, even though we're not selling anything, and even though we've sent thousands of people to her Etsy store to buy their own. It makes me sad.

      This isn't photocopying a piece of art or profiting from anothers idea. It's learning to create something amazing while giving all of the credit to the original artist, something incredibly rare on the internet.

      Let me end with this: if the most you have done with your day is write a cowardly, anonymous comment on somebody else's blog, it might be time to question what it is you're doing with your life. Because our purpose, Jen's purpose, has and always will be to bring a little joy.

      Delete
    6. John, thank you. I struggled with whether or not to respond to the people accusing Jen of "stealing" and ultimately decided that I was too angry to write a reply that wasn't hateful. You managed to stay in control better than I would have in your situation.

      I regret now that I didn't speak up in defense of Jen because I'm sure she could've used all the supportive comments that she could get here. I hope this experience with these trolls isn't the reason Jen hasn't posted on Epbot the last couple weeks. I'm sure her regular readers would've come to her aid in droves if they'd noticed the accusatory comments, but as they were so far down the page, I'm sure only a handful of people read this far. And the ones who did, like me, were probably not too keen on the idea of feeding the trolls.

      Anyway, Jen's regular readers all know that Jen didn't "steal" anything here nor would she ever "steal." As always, she cited her inspiration for her project and credited her source. If her beautiful mask is "stealing," then every single DIY project is "stealing" (what a ridiculous idea!).

      Intelligent and creative people, like you and Jen, gather ideas and inspiration and then bust your asses figuring out how you can do something similar yourself, not as a huge "eff you" to the sources, but as a tip of the hat, an homage, a gracious "thank you for giving me such a wonderful idea and an opportunity to exercise my imagination."

      Of course it would've been easier to just buy the original mask, but where is the fun in that? The joy and satisfaction and experience of doing it yourself is priceless. The pleasure in making something that is exactly what you want and achieving a custom fit, and the excitement of adding it to the rest of a costume that you worked so hard on is a feeling that can't be bought.

      I desperately hope none of this will suck the pleasure out of the mask for Jen. I, for one, can't wait to see the rest of the steampunk White Rabbit, and I hope Jen will someday soon wear the costume with pride and get all the compliments she deserves.

      Jen has given her ideas away so graciously and selflessly over the years and inspired so many people with her humor, creativity, and kindness. CakeWrecks and Epbot are perfect models of everything that is right with the Internet. You guys just keep on doing what you're doing. Ignore the trolls. We love you both as much as we can love two people we don't know IRL, and you have our full support.

      KW

      Delete
    7. EXACTLY KW!! Inspiration is found and shared everywhere. Andrea at Merimask...Jen and John...you inspire us. Inspire us to dream of rabbits in a different way. Inspire us to try and create something similarly beautiful. Inspire us to appreciate the creativity and art around us. Inspire us to share that art, whether by blogging, or pinterest or facebook or by purchasing an original piece... or making an effort to imitate what we have seen. Thankfully most people choose to lift others up... rather than stroke their own egos by feeding their false sense of superiority. I hope you are feeling better, Miss Jen. You and John share joy and laughter and caring...ALL THINGS... the world (and Mr. or Ms. Anonymous) definitely... need more of.

      Delete
    8. KW I totally agree with you. I left a comment on Epbot's Facebook page hoping Jen would see it quicker and I sent her an email. Jen, forget the trolls, I and I'm sure hundreds (yes hundreds) of your faithful readers will agree with KW that you have done NOTHING wrong.

      I too was so angry that I didn't want to respond for fear of starting a fire storm. I didn't want to contribute to turning your beautiful blog into that but we need to stand up for you.

      My point would have been why would Andrea have put up a YOU TUBE TUTORIAL if she cared about people making things similar to what she makes? I checked the link and the video is gone now (not sure why) but the very fact that it existed means one of two things:

      1.) At the time Andrea did not care about sharing her process but may have changed her mind later and decided to remove it.

      2.) Some OTHER troll put it up without her permission but who would be able to know that if there was no mention of it?

      My feeling is probably option 1.

      Jen, please come back, but when you are ready. Know that those who "know" you believe in you and John and what you stand for and we stand by you. We are all anxious to see your finished product and hope you will wear your costume proudly!

      We love you.

      Michelle C (and the true Epbot readers)

      Delete
    9. This was not kind at all. Anonymous is using inflammatory language in order to provoke Jen and her readers. For instance, take a look at the sentence "Try being creative instead of copying." Would you say that to a friend who made an accessory based on something they saw online? I doubt it, because it sounds cold. It sounds like something you say to someone you don't like very much when you want to make them angry.

      I don't like that everyone is saying that Jen is copying Merriment's design. This mask isn't a direct copy. It is very similar, yes, but it is not a direct copy. The ears would have clock hands instead of gears, and would not be made to look like they are riveted around. There would be a black portion with swirls around the eyes and ears. The eyepiece would be on the opposite side. There would be no heart accent. I could point out more differences, but for brevity's sake, I won't. If you would like an in-depth comparison, feel free to contact me on my G+ page, and I can go into more detail there.

      Finally, Anonymous, I would like to say something about this particular sentence: "Artists do not care for those who copy their designs anymore than writers care for plagiarist[sic]." Unless you are the artist in question, do not ever speak condescendingly to someone for something they were inspired to create. You do not have the right to tell her that Merimask doesn't like what Jen made. Only Merimask can say that.

      Delete
  90. I don't think it was hateful at all, he was very polite, but inspiration is one thing, your mask is almost a direct copy, although beautifully done.

    ReplyDelete
  91. It seems to me that this is pretty great advertising for Merimask, especially since there are two links to her work and a large picture of it as well, all above the pic of Jen's mask in the article. I'm sure Andrea can comment for herself if she does have a problem with it.

    ReplyDelete
  92. did you by chance think to ASK Andrea for the use of her design? even though you refer back to her, she is an artist, and might take offense to your detailed instructions on how to copy her work. a little professional courtesy goes a long way

    ReplyDelete
  93. Does the clock on the mask tick? Maybe you could move the arms with the hour,

    "Hey, John, what time is it?"

    "1:00. Why?"

    "Time to move the arms on my forehead!"

    ReplyDelete
  94. Wow, so sad to see such a hateful comment. If that person had any attention to detail whatsoever they could see how the overall shape is pretty much the same, but the designs are very different. Inspiration and one's own interpretation, anyone?

    I like the white wig idea but also think it can depend on the rest of your costume. It so seems like a blunt bob wig would go well, but as for white, or maybe a black or brown wig, the color choice seems very subjective. Or how about just doing your hair in a very large, beautiful updo? Just throwing ideas your way, Jen!

    ReplyDelete
  95. Hmm, great mask, but might I suggest a ring of "diamonds" arond the clock at the top of the mask? And also, if you go to the dollar store or a beauty salon they have multi color wigs or if you go to an expensive...er "good quality" beauty salon sometimes they have wigs that are sort of a victorian hairstyle. You might also try Amazon.

    ReplyDelete
  96. I'm curious. About how many hours did that take? As in actual hands-on working hours, not including drying time.

    ReplyDelete
  97. Jen, I'm missing you! Are you feeling any better yet? I'm sending you virtual homemade soup and lots of speedy-recovery-wishes and positive thoughts/healing energy. Get well soon!

    (Or maybe you're just taking a well-deserved vacation? In that case, have fun and make beautiful memories.)

    Looking forward to your next post,
    KW

    ReplyDelete
  98. Missing your posts, I hope all is well. XOXO

    ReplyDelete
  99. Have you considered temporary hair dye? If I remember correctly, it washes out after a couple of weeks, but may be something for you to think about.

    ReplyDelete
  100. Come backkkkkkk

    ReplyDelete
  101. I agree with the people leaning toward a bun or chignon, something really sleek and sophisticated would look good. Have you seen those colored hair sprays cosplayers sometimes use? You could probably buy some white or grey at a costume store. Maybe try spraying after you style and comb it to blend it out/give some texture. The textured, crazy-scientist hair color would prob work well with the mask.

    ReplyDelete
  102. First time commenter. I just wanted to say I've missed your posts and I hope you're doing well!

    ReplyDelete
  103. We miss you! From reading other comments- it sounds like you're not feeling well- so get well soon!

    ReplyDelete
  104. I can't wait to see the whole costume. As others said above, I sure hope those negative comments did not burst your bubble with this project. Hope you're feeling better!

    ReplyDelete
  105. This looks frakkin' awesome. Great job.

    ReplyDelete
  106. This is going to be an amazing costume - enjoy wearing it. :)

    ReplyDelete
  107. I adore this, it looks great. I'm having a Steampunk Blog Link-Up over at my blog, Steam Ingenious and would love if you would drop by to share your awesome project. The link-up post is here.

    ReplyDelete
  108. At the risk of starting something bad again, I have to say that the whole discussion seems to be based on a wrong idea. Plagiarism is stealing another's words, ideas, or art and representing them as your own. While the definition is a little loosey-goosey it seems clear that 1. there was no intent to steal and 2. there was no intent to represent the finished product as the original.

    You can even argue about whether this project can even be considered "art," as opposed to "craft." And while the projects are similar, they are not identical.

    Look at the fashion industry. Ever since the beginning of time, seamstresses have copied the high fashion styles that were published in books and magazines. I see this as no different from that.

    I just discovered this blog and I hope that Jen returns before I finish reading all the old postings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In case you didn't know, there is no copyright in fashion as to the design of clothing, only the trademarking of logos. There is a fantastic TED talk by Joanna Blakely -
      http://www.ted.com/talks/johanna_blakley_lessons_from_fashion_s_free_culture.html

      Its worth a look.

      Delete
  109. I love that you give us a step-by-step idea, and often with photos, of how you do your costumes. Thanks so much for giving credit to the original artists, too. Even if your costume is fully handcrafted, it's always nice to give a nod to the original inspiration for it. I hope I run into you at a Central Florida con one of these days!

    ReplyDelete
  110. This looks frakkin' awesome. Great job.

    ReplyDelete
  111. I really appreciate your article.you give us a step-by-step idea, and often with photos, of how you do your costumes. Thanks so much for giving credit to the original artists, too.

    ReplyDelete
  112. Love your white rabbit SO MUCH! It is amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  113. Can something other than leather be used?

    ReplyDelete
  114. hey jen, hope you read this soon as I loved loved loved your mask that I made my own out of plaster cloth. I had so much fun making it and lots of my friends were in awe that I was able to do it! I had started a blog and wanted to give credit where deserved so is it okay I link ppl to your page? cant wait to hear back

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Of course, Shay, feel free! And please share the link on the Epbot FB page, so I can see it!

      Delete

Please be respectful when commenting; dissenting opinions are great, but personal attacks or hateful remarks will be removed. Also, including a link? Then here's your html cheat sheet: <a href="LINK ADDRESS">YOUR TEXT</a>

Related Posts with Thumbnails