Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Curse of the Death Eater?

I have this working theory that every time I mention a work-in-progress here on Epbot, I doom said project to utter, catastrophic failure.

So back during my Death Eater mask tutorial I mentioned that my own mask was already to the decorating stage. Naturally, that meant I got about 90% of the way before realizing it had stretched during sculpting, and no longer fit my face. Not a big deal, except the eyes were so wide set that, when I wore it, I looked like a cross-eyed Death Eater.


Which was hilarious, but not terribly Death Eater-y. (Death Eatery? Think anyone would eat there? "Cake or DEATH?!" "Um... cake, please!")

Ahem.

So then I paper mache'd a new mask.

Which we accidentally left in the oven too long on the final sculpt, warping it beyond salvage. Oops.

So I made a THIRD one.

That burned down, fell over, and THEN sank into the swamp.

No, sorry, the clay just re-wet the paper maché so much that it warped, shrank, and cracked - again, beyond salvaging:

DANG IT.

At this point I realized my original tutorial needed amending, so I went back and added that the paper maché might shrink, so you should try it on in-between layers, and that it should probably be sealed before applying the paper clay. I'm truly sorry if any of you had similar problems; for some reason John's mask was just so easy! Grrrr.

So, for my fourth attempt I went back to a pre-made craft mask, and had John use his heat gun to bend in the sides a little. Then I just sculpted a new nose and eyelids:

(Double the mask up for stability, and then prime it so the clay will stick.)

I sketched a design I liked directly on the mask, used tissue paper to copy it, and then folded the paper in half to make a symmetrical template:



I cut that from thin craft foam, plus a slotted mouth grate piece:

 With this mouth piece I didn't have to sculpt over the mask's lips. SCORE.

I wanted my mask to have a different finish than John's, so instead of bronze I based mine in Metal Effect's iron paint. Aaaand since we live in Florida, the iron already had a light coat of rust by morning - no activator needed.

The foam pieces got about 3 coats of silver liquid leaf, followed by 4 coats of silver Rub n' Buff, to give them a metallic shine:


At this point I've lightly aged the silver and added Rust Activator in a few spots. I still have more aging to do, but here's where I'm at after this weekend's work:


I don't think it's quite as creepy as my first one, but maybe after I darken it up around the eyes... ? (Then again, John think it's incredibly creepy, so I like to set it up to watch him while he's working. :D)

So, to sum up: I screw up my projects as much as anyone, if not more. Ha! And if you're able to start with a craft mask, I'd recommend that over paper maché. (If your face is too small or too big, though, then paper maché is still the way to go.)

Meanwhile, John's costume is completely finished and gorgeous. (I do love to see my man sewing!) So while I griped and groused over my mask, he was busy building us two light-up wands from stuff he found around the house. SO COOL. (Wait, did I just doom those projects to failure by mentioning them here? NooOOOOooOOo!!)


Oh, and this Thursday and Friday John and I will be in Miami for SuperCon, so if you are, too, then be sure to tweet at me so we can say hi! Or just troll the art aisles; I'm sure you'll spot us.

We're skipping Saturday & Sunday at the con because I'm pretty sure the crowds will be INSANE, and the new convention hall this year has no parking garage, so they have to bus people in. ACK. Here's hoping it won't be so bad the days we're there, though - and if it is, we can always park ourselves at Versailles and eat amazing Cuban food all weekend. Mmmmm.

40 comments:

  1. Oh Jen. This just makes me like you even more. Someone who isn't perfect at everything and will admit it? 'S wonderful.

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  2. Gotta agree with Cathie. I like that you're showing that creativity and art are rarely "voila." It's almost always "that didn't work, try again, that didn't work, try again... that was a cool accident... that didn't work, try again, ok, I've got it."

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  3. I hereby declare that your wands will NOT be doomed to failure or random swamp-sinking because you mentioned them on here. ::sprinkles fairy dust::

    And that mask is super creepy. I totally get why John would get the heebie-jeebies with it watching him.

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  4. I really want to see pictures of you in the first mask. A cross-eyed Death Eater sounds like something you would see in "Mel Brooks' Harry Potter"! Love it.

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  5. I agree with John. I think this mask is even creepier than the first one. The rust kind of makes it look like a face covered in dried blood.

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  6. Maybe with the cross-eyed Death Eater mask, you could put some really sheer black fabric over the eye holes... y'know, the kind that you can see through, because it's close to your eye, but from the outside it just looks black.
    My cursed project is anything that incorporates "Angelina film" which is awesome iridescent stuff that looked amazing in all the tutorials I saw, but I have ruined everything I've tried to make with it. I totally melted a pair of earrings I was making for a friend for her birthday. Luckily she's very patient and forgiving. :)

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    1. I've been wanting to try that film myself! I have visions of large fairy wings dancing in my head... but I'm scared. Ha!

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  7. Beautiful work and an inspiring post! What does "double the mask up for stability" mean, though? I reread but I'm not getting it.

    sry 2b dum,
    Kimstu

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    1. Ah, sorry! It means buy 2 masks and stick them together. (These masks are super thin plastic, so they're really bendy. Fortunately they only cost a few dollars each, though.)

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  8. "Uh... I'll have the cake!" Love the Eddie Izzard reference. I just went to see him live in June. It was so awesome. I really wanted one of the t-shirts!
    http://usa.izzardmerchandise.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=USA&Product_Code=USEI-TSH-CAKE&Category_Code=NEW

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  9. I love the first mask...except it doesn't say 'Death-Eater' to me, it says really cool Venetian mask that matches my black and white ball gown perfectly, if I had a black and white ball gown.
    The second mask is awesome and creeeeeppppy.

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    1. I kind of felt the same way - about the it looking too Venetian - which is why I went in a new direction for the latest mask. Glad I wasn't the only one!

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  10. I wonder if plaster gauze might work better than paper mache. We used to make masks out of that in Girl Scouts.

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  11. +5 for the Monty Python reference

    Love both the masks! I think the silver parts could use a little more aging on the new one because the bronze part looks older (if that makes any sense). You know, assuming it was a real mask, built all at the same time, both parts would have aged equally? I haven't had enough coffee for coherent comments yet I guess.

    I can't wait to see LeakyCon pictures!

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    1. SOMEONE GOT MY PYTHON REFERENCE!!! Woot!

      You're totally right on the silver; I'm planning to add more rust & dirt-like aging to it, since it's only rubbed down with black right now. Good to know I'm on the right path!

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  12. As the previous commenter stated above, if you really love your first mask, you might consider adhering sheet black fabric into the eye holes. That way, you can see out, but you'll get less of a cross-eyed effect.

    Either way, have fun at the Con!

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  13. Jen, I never cease to be in awe of your craft skills. LOVE the design on the mask, and I can't wait to see John's.
    Have you considered getting your doctor to approve a handicapped parking sticker/hanger for your car so you can park close? You can use the hanger-from-your-rear-view-mirror one when you want. Sometimes my boyfriend and I use his, and sometimes we don't. But it gives you the option of parking close when you need it.

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    1. That would be amazing, but it never occurred to me that a doctor would approve one for anxiety! Next time I see an MD, I'll be sure to ask. (Have to find a new MD, though, which I've been putting off for ages. Anyone around Orlando have one to recommend?)

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  14. At least you get to ruin your own projects! I had some paper shapes I had coated in resin waiting for them to dry and my 2.5 year old son decided to not wake me up this morning after he escaped his room and decided they needed playing with. Then he took my business ink stamps and stamped all over the wood floors. LE SIGH.

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  15. Your attention to detail is just delicious.
    Ignoring the fact that I have no patience when it comes to my art projects, a craft mask and craft foam sounds much more manageable. :)
    If I didn't live, literally, on the opposite end of the country, I'd give a shout out to you at the Con. But I do, so here's my shout out: "Yo Jen! What's a-happenin'!"
    Hope you have a great time!
    -- Piper P. from Washington State.

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  16. Hey Jen, question if you have time to answer (you super popular busy you :)

    Do you know of any paper mache (or costume making stuff in general), that is good, that does not require ANY special equipment? As a challenge, I'm making armor/sword out of just household items- made harder by zero experience.

    Just wondering if you knew of anything, or would recommend it! And if you can, thank you in advance!

    -Wildstar

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    1. Hmm. Well, paper mache in general only requires paper, flour, and water, so does that count? And most cosplay armor I see is made almost completely from craft foam (you can bend it into shape with a hair dryer), so that should be pretty do-able for beginners. (I'm including myself in that, since I've never tried - but there are tons of tutorials on Youtube!) And of course you can never go wrong with those two cosplay staples: cardboard and duct tape! :D

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  17. I did a medieval history class recently, and we used cardboard tubes (think wrapping paper tubes) and duct tape to make swords (paper towel tube inserted crosswise for the cross of the sword, flatten as desired and cut tip shape with scissors), foam core board to make shields (decorated with extra duct tape, which we also used to make the bands on the back to hold the shield), and I bought some sequined fabric that looks a bit like chainmail to make a chainmail vest (cut hole for head, laces up sides through small holes cut up the sides. Just be sure how much fabric you need before you buy it. Mistakes are expensive). If you look for medieval crafts for kids, it's really easy to find directions for all sorts of costume ideas.

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  18. That last mask is by far the creepiest. It gives me chills just looking at it.

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  19. Dammit Janet! Or Jen, rather.....I have too many craft ideas to try thanks to you!

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  20. You obviously have no children. I can't wait to try this when I get some time! =) You are amazing and creative!

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  21. What I would add would be some extra rust streaks near the eyes and rolling down the cheeks like tears had been there. Love the mask though! I might use the tutorial for some other masks I've been contemplating making.

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  22. I've used plaster tape (like for bandages) to make a custom fitted mask. It dries fairly rigid, but has enough flexibility to be comfortable, and I never had problems with warping of stretching, I then used paper mache or light spackle to add shape, etc. Just don't use plaster of paris, it's exothermic as it sets and can cause burns.

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    1. Ah, that sounds perfect! Do you use a tin foil base like I did? Or do you drape it directly over your face? (Uh, with air holes, I presume...)

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  23. Are you guys thinking of going to LeakyCon at all this year? It's in your neck of the woods AND you could wear these outfits!! It would be a total treat to meet you after lurking your sites for so long

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    1. Yep, that's what we're making these costumes for! So now you know how to spot us there! ;)

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    2. YAY that is fabulous news! I'll be on the look out for you. I'm easy to spot, I have red (natural) and violet (dyed) hair. See you then!

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  24. I'm with John, the last one is super creepy. Your first one is actually quite beautiful and even though you can't wear it, I would still display it. It is a lovely work of art!

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  25. Yay! I'm going to SuperCon on Friday too, maybe I'll see you there. Are you guys going to be dressed up? There's a couple of cosplay panels I want to check out so maybe you'll be at those.

    I hope it doesnt rain all weekend, it's really nasty down here in Miami today and I am not enjoying the news that there will be no parking at the convention center : (.

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    1. Yeah, the parking situation is my only stress point, but hopefully it won't be horrendous before Saturday.

      I don't think we'll be dressing up; too hard with the uncertain parking and a new location, plus I want to focus on taking photos. Well, and art shopping, of course. ;) If you don't see us just give me a tweet, so we can say hi!

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  26. I absolutely love the hardware and details on your first mask. Such a shame you can't wear it! I do agree with the other poster who mentioned displaying it somewhere. I also agree with those who said the second mask is much creepier.

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  27. Hehehe http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNjcuZ-LiSY&feature=kp

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  28. These are fantastic, I really want to make one

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