DIY “The Joker” Mask for Labyrinth Masquerade XII!

 

FinishedMask_CmprsMy friend Jimmy (who happens to write/illustrate a great web comic that you should totes check out) is going to the Labyrinth Masquerade tonight! I’m super jealous because I can’t go, but I’m living vicariously by playing Fairy Godmother and sending him of with a custom made masquerade mask. He was just looking for something simple, but since Jimmy is a super fan of The Joker (from Batman) I was inspired to go for a Joker mask with a definite jester vibe.

Here is my journey to the finished product. Enjoy!

I knew I wanted to build out a custom shape for my Joker and I thought a store-bought mask, craft foam and scrap pieces of Worbla would do the trick. Once I played around with my materials a bit, I came up with a concept design and started building my piece

Next it was time to cover the whole thing with a papier-mâché . In the process I decided I wanted a slightly different texture for the hair and tried a new technique. Some tissues did the trick, but since they are so absorbent it took almost twice as long to dry as regular newspaper. Very happy with the results though!

After the papier-mâché  dried completely it was time to get down to painting. First I primed it with white primer from my total spray paint crush- Rustoleum. Then I used acrylic craft paint to do the rest and silver liquid leaf for some shinier accents.

I sealed all my detail work with Rustoleum Crystal Clear Acrylic (My absolute favorite glossy sealer of ALL TIME). Once a few coats had dried I added some 3d accents for texture. Since I was going for a masculine look, the only rhinestones I used were black. For other accents I opted for iron-on metal studs…only I just used hot glue to attach them.

Some inexpensive chattering teeth on wire gave me that extra Joker pizzazz to really put my mask over the top.

The very last thing to do was attach the head strap. I attached black elastic to either side with epoxy glue and used hot glue to create a loop at the end of each piece of elastic. Using the loops I was able to thread through a piece of ribbon for an adjustable fit. I also found the mask rubbed uncomfortable against my nose but it was an easy fix. Just a regular makeup sponge attached with hot glue.

Added a few matching embellishments to a Joker smile-on-a-stick that  I made before and voilà!

FinishedMask_Cmprs

Quickie Papier-Mâché Tutorial

Papier-Mache-Projects

Over the last year I’ve done  A LOT of papier-mâché crafts.

These are my papier-mâché tips and tricks.

Papier-mâché projects are sturdy and have a nice plaster type texture. I rarely use it on balloons, elementary school style.

Instead I use papier-mâché technique to change the change the texture of cardboard or poster board shapes for cosplay props and party decorations. (Mostly Halloween decorations. Because obviously.)

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

The Essentials:

  • Newspapers (cut into 1-2 inch strips)
    • TIP #1: Finally a use for those useless phone books they won’t stop delivering. I’ve found that phone book pages work just as well as newspaper and are easier to come by. One phonebook will get you through several projects and the pages torn in half and/or quarters is a GREAT for covering large surfaces!
  • White Flour
  • Elmer’s Glue
  • Water
  • Whisk
  • Bowl

My Handy Suggestions:

  • Latex Gloves
  • Trash Bags/Plastic Drop Cloth
  • Masking Tape

GETTING STARTED

Once you have your shape you should find an area you can get messy and keep messy for a few days. I personally have a large folding table that I set up in the garage when I’m in the mood to get my papier-mâché on.

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I mean REALLY MESSY you guys!

Cut open the trash bags and lay flat (or use your drop cloth) to cover your work area. Tape down a couple edges so it stays put. You’ll thank me later!

Also, tape down some plastic elsewhere (I use the floor) to have a place to lay your project out to dry. This is especially important if you’ll be working on multiple pieces.

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Don’t skip the gloves. You want to be able to take a potty break, don’t you!?
  • Tip #2: Stay Clean.
    • This project is REALLY MESSY, but the good news is the flour and glue are totally washable! HOWEVER, you should wear gloves because it can get really sticky and it will be impossible to do simple things like operate a door handle and use the restroom…
  • TIP #3: Crafting/Beauty Double Whammy.
    • This is the perfect time to try my Miracle Cuticle Fix before you slip on your gloves. Moisturize while you craft!

INSTRUCTIONS

pm-1

STEP ONE: Mix your paste.

Add approximately 2 cups flour and 1-2 table spoons glue to your bowl. Slowly pour in water, whisking the mixture together until it has a smooth “soupy” texture. You want your paste to be slightly thinner than pancake batter.

NOTE: I never actually measure this mixture, I just eyeball it. The most important thing is the consistency.

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STEP TWO: Dip your newspaper strips.

Gently dip your strip of newspaper or phone book page in the mixture. Use your hand to smooth the mixture over the entire piece. You want it to be covered, but not so saturated that it falls apart.

STEP THREE:  Apply your strips.

Lay your paste-covered paper over your desired shape or cut out.  With smooth, gentle motions smooth down the piece and press down the edges. Repeat steps two & three until all of your shape (except what is resting on the floor) is covered. Make sure your strips are overlapping generously.

STEP FOUR: Let dry.

Once you’ve covered every part not resting on the floor, let it dry to the touch and the repeat steps 2 & 3 for the part resting on the floor. When done let dry overnight.

Note: If you are working with a flat shape, let it dry to the touch and then weight down the edges so that it stays flat while it continues drying, Otherwise there will be warping…which can be a really cool effect if that’s what you’re going for.

TIP #4: Use a string for small pieces. Depending on the size of your piece you can hang it from string so that you can cover the whole thing at once (this will reduce warping and speed up your project).

(OPTIONAL) STEP FIVE:  Add a second layer for sturdiness.

Repeat the whole process (Steps 1-4) laying your strips/pieces in opposing directions to the first layer. This is good to get a really sturdy piece- especially if you’re doing something hollow or something that needs to be very stiff like a weapon blade.

Once your piece is completely dry it’s ready to be painted an decorated!!!

JoJo’s Note: This post was edited 10.4.14

How To Spot Treasures in Trash!

IMG_1138Ooh I scored me some awesome trash today!! Yeah, I know, not the most glamorous thing to get all hot and bothered for but, for realz, trash is a crafter’s best friend. Whenever I have a major crafting project coming up, like Halloween, I make a point to try and look at my trash in a whole new way before I toss it out. Newspaper automatically gets saved for papier-mâché projects, but I’ve discovered phone book pages work just as well. And since the dickweeds in Phone Book Land have completely fucking ignored all our requests to stop delivering them, I guess it works out.

Another great treasure is from the most super coolest gift ever: a 31″ giant Darth Vader doll action figure my man bought for me. Sometimes he is just such a guy  and brings home flowers, which is totes sweet, and sometimes he’s Super Boyfriend and brings home friggin’ Darth Vader! But I digress…

Vader’s packaging would make an excellent stand for a sign, if I laid it flat it could be a good angle for a display, or maybe I could weigh down the bottom and use it as a base for afore mentioned papier-mâché sculpture…lots of possibilities there!

Also exciting is a piece of very dense, flexible, non-corrugated cardboard that was included in the packaging of a duffle bag. What will I use that for? I have no fucking clue. But its soooo bendy!!! I’m sure it will come in handy for something.

And that’s really the point: learning to look at things with a creative eye and staying open to possibilities. It’s kinda like beer goggles, but for trash. If you’re not already a trash digger like me, it might be hard at first. To help you out I made a list of items I always think it’s worth saving when you know you have big crafting projects on the horizon. So put on your Trash Goggles and enjoy!

  1. Cardboard boxes, duh. Even if you don’t use them for a craft they’ll be handy for staying organized.
  2. Newspapers & phone books for papier-mâché.
  3. Wrapping paper & paper towel tubing.
  4. Shoe boxes.
  5. Buttons, trims and scrap fabric from old clothing.
  6. Trash bag twisty ties.
  7. Wire hangers (Mommy Dearest be damned!)
  8. Interesting cardboard, styrofoam or plastic packaging pieces.
  9. Spare metal pieces (for example curtain rods or nuts & bolts).