My oldest child, Videogameboy, told me he’d like to be the Empty Child for Halloween.There’s a challenge for me, especially since we’re not in the habit of making our own Halloween costumes – not due to a lack of interest, but rather a lack of skills.
But of course, I had no intention of letting that stop me. Off I went to trusty ol’ google for how to instructions only to find it lacking in what I needed. I had no real gas mask to alter and I wanted more than a paper printout of the mask.
Finally, months later, the inspiration hit me. I knew exactly how to make the gas mask.
I started with a mask that I found at Micheals and some modelling clay. I took some of the modelling clay and rolled it flat under saran wrap and then placed that over the mask from Micheals.
I shaped my gas mask with the rest of the modelling clay until I had what I was looking for. I used canning jar lids as reference for the size of the eyes and mouth piece and to help me keep them round.
Once I had the shape I was looking for, I smoothed it down with my fingers and oil and coated it with a layer of petroleum jelly. The petroleum jelly helps to keep the cloth mache from sticking to the clay so it can be removed in the end.
I tore some cleaning cloths into pieces to use for cloth mache. I used Arm and Hammer Wipes for this mask but in my mask making that this project inspired, I’ve come to prefer to use J Cloth since I can see when I’ve added enough layers with it.
I mixed some white glue with water, I estimated the amount of water but it was approximately 1/3 water and 2/3 glue; of course, I mixed it well.
With the first layer, I dipped the cloth in the glue and wrung out the excess with my fingers and placed it over the clay just as you would with paper mache. Once it had a good coating I set it aside to dry for 24 hours. This method left a lot of glue dripping off the mask as it dried so I had to keep moving the mask every few hours to keep it from being glued down onto the box it was drying on.
I added a second layer of cloth, this time I placed the cloth on the mask and painted the glue on until the cloth was saturated. This was much more time consuming, but it worked much better and is how I’ve continued to make my masks. It doesn’t leave any glue puddles in the end. This is how I would recommend doing all of your layers.
I used canning jar lids for the eyes and the mouthpiece. I managed to find a set at the Dollarama (of 2) with chalkboard paint on them. This was perfect for the mouthpiece since I wanted it to have black on it. I poked holes in the mouthpiece with a nail. One of my lids wasn’t the brilliant silver that the other two were. Assuming I was going to need to paint it I began to sand it and was thrilled that the layer underneath was the nice, shiny silver I was looking for.
The the clear plastic that was used for the eyes was the wrapping from a giant chocolate toonie that I bought from the Dollarama that I cut down in size until it fit and glued in with Krazy Glue.
Once the mask had dried completely, I removed it from the clay and painted it with black acrylic paint. I painted it twice. I would suggest letting it dry out before adding another layer. I was eager to finish mine, leaving my mask with an overwhelming paint and glue smell, that had me guessing at the length of the straps.
I cut straps from a cloth grocery bag that was already falling apart and attached them with staples, although I’m sure Krazy Glue would have worked just as well without leaving the marks that staples do. I would use Krazy Glue next time.
**Update** Unfortunately the stapled straps fell apart before trick or treating was completed. I would strongly advise using glue. Also, make sure the vent holes in the mouthpiece are large enough that the eyes don’t fog up while you breathe.
The “screws” on the straps and the three on the nose were added with silver Puffy Paint from the Dollar Tree.
Finally, I glued the canning jar lids into place and set it aside to dry and air out for the final time.
Now Dad has requested a mask identical to the sac-mask from The Strangers. This will be considerably more challenging since I don’t own a sewing machine.