Tag Archives: plague

Feb 22 2012

Plague Doctor Mask Tutorial

Posted by Chris

Plague Doctor Mask

One of our projects for 2011 was a custom Plague Doctor mask.  Because we have received so many questions about the construction of this mask, we have decided to release a tutorial that covers the basic steps for creating such a mask.

Pre-Construction: Prototype & Template

When starting a new mask, we first need to know the basic dimensions of the actor’s head. Normally, a life cast of the actor would be used during this process so the final product would be a perfect fit. In this case, we constructed a simple head form based on a series of measurements of the actor’s head.

On top of this head form, we constructed a paper prototype of the mask. During this process, the prototype is trimmed and shaped to give both the desired appearance and a snug fit to the head form.

 

Construction Phase 1: Cutting & Stitching the Material

Once the prototype is finished, it is flattened and cut into templates for the various sections of the mask.  The resulting template sections are traced onto the mask material and cut out.

While this mask is intended to look like aged leather, we constructed it out of a light-weight foam material that is both easy to work with and comfortable for the actor.  This foam material is readily available in 12″x18″ sheets in a variety of colors at most hobby and crafting stores.  The material is given the appearance of aged leather with washes of acrylic paint.

After the individual pieces for the mask base have been cut out, we stitched them together.  First, the pieces were temporarily glued together using hot glue.  Once the pieces were assembled, a soldering iron was used to punch holes along the seams for stitching.  This method melts and hardens the foam where each stitch will be placed.  The hardened material functions like a grommet to add strength/tear resistance, and adds to the aged look.

Next, a heavy gauge sewing needle was used to stitch up the seams with hemp twine.  Hemp was selected for its strength, natural appearance, and ability to easily take acrylic washes for aging.

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