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My Crude First Attempt

Well, here we go, my first stab at it.

Fits a standard human head. Or a stuffed Biting Pear, interestingly enough.

I suspect that every person who plays around with leather masks probably makes some variation on this design first. I learned a number of things, like “Punch the holes for the strap BEFORE you mold it to a form, dumbass!”

Acrylic ink—I used the FW Daler brand, which I use for everything—sinks into the leather very well and doesn’t become quite as opaque as standard acrylic–looks a bit more like a dye. I used that as a base coat, then picked up the highlights along the nose, brows, and cheekbones with fluid acrylic, and did the copper bits with Lumiere fabric paint.I may try to see it with the Krylon clear glaze, but that will require daylight and the porch, as there is nothing quite as sad as having a stray moth adhere itself to your art.

For my next trick, we’ll see if I can master the arcane art of the rivet! And perhaps whether it is possible to glue two pieces of leather together effectively. I have stuff that claims to me leather glue, but We Shall See.

Originally published at Tea with the Squash God. You can comment here or there.


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"Fits a standard human head. Or a stuffed Biting Pear, interestingly enough."

Next obvious step is a biting pear mask, where the mouth is the wearer's mouth.

And then a photo of the stuffed biting pear wearing the mask.

Hot glue works remarkable well for making leather masks. or leather anything that is molded, and it's easily repairable. In my experience.

Great mask....being totally clumsy with eleventy-two thumbs I so admire those who can make interesting things.

Gorgeous! Seriously gorgeous; I like the shapes of the eyes in particular.

I did some masks a while back, and I discovered the glories of using gilding sheets-- you know, the horrifically thin fake gold (or real gold if you want) beaten metal sheets? You paint the mask with acrylic, wait til it's almost dry and then start applying the gold and rubbing it down with either a polished rock, your fingernail, or (if you're a painter of Russian icons and happen to have one lying around) a wolf's tooth (it's traditional. I used a piece of antler, which also worked.) You can get some *great* effects with the stuff, and you can antique over it or cover it with transparent glazes or whatever-- it was fun. Playing around with stick-on copper tape from stained-glass supplies is fun too, you can do all sorts of metal filigree if you cut it up with scissors. (Why yes, my home IS littered with craft stuff, why do you ask?)

You sound like a very fun person!

Now you make me want to try masks again!

Fantastic...although I would definitly punch the holes after it is finished forming. That way the holes don't change size. I usually use a dremel drill for working with hardened leather...Zzzzzzzip.

A dremel! Holy crap! Yes! I can dremel! Why am I driving myself insane with these punches!?

Anything that can be used to cut/texture leather is fair game here. If you have a particularly sharp, large cheese grater, you could attempt swathes of scale texture.

Leather is just skin, and skin is remarkably resilient to beatings. I've seen masks with designs burned into them with soldering irons, not to mention the myriad other styles that people use.

Because it was such a short trip? *ducks*

Not insane, just punch-drunk :-)

That is a great mask for a "first"!

Now I kind of want to see a Phantom of the Opera Biting Pear.

If I didn't have to run off to work in ten minutes, I would totally filk that. XD

Ms Vernon painted it
/b/ launched the craze
For green and grinning pears
On hills, sans gaze
And in a stylish mask
Who would not deem
The BIIIIIIIIting pear of Salamanca best
Of all the memes?

This is excellent, and I applaud you. xD

Mostly I had the line "teeth, pear and myyyyysteryyyyy, in you combiiiined" floating around in my head, in a kind of plaintive wail.

Very nice!

You can do amazing things with leather, I would never have thought of it at all.

Here's Zarathus's second mask, she's amazing.

So she says to me, "teach me how to carve wood"

OK, I think, I'll do what we do with kids - start her with a block of soap and a plastic knife - and something rough will emerge that will get her used to the tools.

When the spermatazoa carved soap and the snail in shell carved soap were done, I threw up my hands realizing that if you hand her an art form and vague instructions, she'll figure it out really quickly.

I refuse to let her try chainsaw carving - even though she really, really wanted to try it after seeing local artist Clyde Jones do his thing...

I took a set of Beados to our local con to give away in return for pixel art, but couldn't get anyone interested. :(

If I ever get to a con with Ursula again I'll definitely try again!

I JUST finished my first leather mask too! Granted I had the wonderful kazeno_taka here to teach me.

The best glue for this is household amazing goop, which is what Windfalcon uses on her masks and swears by (and it's working excellent on my mask; the ribbons are held on by another piece of leather in the back with the holes in it, so there are no holes in the actual mask).

As a "base" coat she had me use Fiebing's leather dye which not only worked great, but also helps to harden up the leather even more. I painted with acrylics then she recommended varnishing it with liquitex varnish (mixing satin and matte).

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me, or go straight to Windfalcon, who is an amazing mask artist and total sweetheart!!!

I am armed with amazing goop! And I definitely will--I'm fooling with a couple of designs at the moment, but what I'm really waiting for is my order of actual-hopefully-decent leather to come in...*grin*

Too bad these aren't practical for mass-production, otherwise I'd predict a Taxman line of masks in the future.

Riveting isn't really too hard. If you've ever installed snaps in fabric -- not the sew in kind, but the kind where you hit the tool with a hammer -- you've done a form of riveting.

Your first "crude" attempt is quite simply wonderful.

I use Barge Cement when sticking bits of leather together. It works amazingly well. If I try pulling things apart the leather will usually tear rather than come apart at the joint.

I second the suggestion of a dremel, I like using it in the drill press attachment for making many many little holes in hard leather. Way easier than trying to push a needle through.

Do- do we get to see the mask on the bitey pear? *big hopeful eyes*

Awesome! Can't wait to see what else you have in store! My husband was a little worried by the possibility of a phalloi mask though...

Okay, so this might see--WHOAH. What's with the new livejournal interface? I guess I haven't posted a comment in awhile.


Anyway, this might seem odd, but I was reading this and I just had a moment. A nice moment, I think. A few years ago I started experimenting with loudspeaker building. Like, designing and building speaker enclosures for home theater systems, etc.

Each set of speakers I build is more complicated than the last, with some new building technique. Add to that the fact that I tend to procrastinate so I'm usually pushed up to some deadline and working long nights trying to get things built for people... and then I have these huge setbacks. I'm trying something new and I do it wrong and now I have to go back and do even more work to fix the problem. At the moment I'm pretty stressed out about the whole thing.

But I was reading your post here and it made me remember how much I've learned. With each setback is a new important piece of information; a mistake I won't make again. So, for a moment there, I felt pretty good about all my mistakes. As many as I've made, I'm almost feeling halfway competent these days! I can't wait for the day when I can plan something out and build it from start to finish without any huge unknowns and stumbles and last minute all-nighters!

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