This past weekend I went to Glass City Con in Toledo, Ohio. But before I went, I had to finish my Princess Mononoke cosplay that I made for Motor City Con, which was in May. I had everything completed beside the mask, which is the most iconic part of the costume. Of course, I didn’t begin making it until less than a week before the convention, a bad move on my part. But anyway, I’ll explain a bit of my process in making the mask. There’s work to be done to it since it fell apart a lot, but I think I know what I did wrong.
If you want to see how I made the rest of the costume you can read it here.
- Styrofoam mannequin head
- Plastic wrap
- Flour & Water (Papier Mache glue)
- Mod Podge
- Red acrylic paint
- White acrylic paint
- Yellow acrylic paint
- Black acrylic paint
- Air dry clay
- Hot glue
- Felt (optional)
- White faux fur (less than a yard is needed)
Yes, it seems like a lot of materials, but it’s really not all that much. Most of these things I had already or will likely use in later projects.
I began with taking the styrofoam head and wrapping it in the plastic wrap, taping the edges to the head. Then I set the cardboard on the table and made little walls to keep the head
from rolling to either side. This was a bit annoying to set up, but in the end it worked out.Then, to make the paper mache glue, I put a cup of water and two tablespoons of flour in a small saucepan. I put it on the stove on medium heat, continuously stirred until it began bubbling, then removed the heat. As it cooled, I took newspaper and cut it into strips that would then be dipped in the glue and placed on the head.
So, the way I did this was dipping the paper in, wiping off majority of the glue with my fingers, then laid the strip down. After a layer was down, I took a paintbrush and brushed even more glue off, so it would dry more quickly.
Unfortunately for me, it’s extremely humid during this time of the year in Michigan, so I ended up having to put the head and wet mask in a room with a dehumidifier until it dried. This sped up the drying process by a lot and dried in only a few hours.
After it fully dried, I trimmed the sides so it was more of a mask shape, using the back of my mannequin head as reference still. Once this was done, I painted the top with white paint first, then once that dried, applied the red paint. Since I wasn’t painting on an already white surface, it was necessary I painted it white first, much like you would do to a wall that has been painted previously. Once the red paint dried, though, there were still spots that were not as dark, so another layer was applied.
After this, I added a layer of Mod Podge. This prevents the paint from chipping and somewhat waterproofs it, though I wouldn’t test it out.
With the Mod Podge drying, I shaped my clay into three circles, two wolf ears, and the white designs on the mask. I placed these pieces on the mask to tell where to put the black background on the eyes and mouth. I painted this with the black paint, and then let the the clay sit overnight.
Again, this was not drying quickly due to humidity, so the next day I put the clay in the same dehumidifier room. After a few hours, it was nearly dry. If it was not the day before the con, I would have let them sit much longer, but I was on a bit of a time restraint. And I would regret my procrastination while at the convention.
I painted the circles yellow, the designs white, and the wolf ears red. Though the backs of the ears needed to be darker, so I mixed red paint with a bit of black to get a bit of a burgundy color.
I glued the eyes and mouth on with my favorite craft glue, and the designs on with hot glue. Once all of this was dry enough, I moved on to the fur. And a tip for all of you wanting to try using faux fur: don’t ever ever wear black pants while working with white fur. This stuff sheds like crazy, and pretty much looks like a cat exploded on the
floor when you are done using it. But, it was necessary for the costume.
I put the mask up to the back of the fur and drew a half circle then cut enough fur that it would go down most of my back. The bottom comes to a point, like a wolf tail, so when cutting I gradually moved to the middle with my scissors. I really didn’t measure for this at all, but in the end it turned out fine.
I attached the half circle top to the forehead of the mask, using hot glue. And then I realized, I forgot to add the ears. So, I cut a slit where the edge of the forehead of the mask was, stuck the ears through and glued them to the underside of the mask. Here’s where the real problem arises. When I glued these on, the base of the ears was not enough to support the rest of the ear’s weight. So they began to rip. So I reinforced
with more glue, attaching them the best I could to the mask.
Then came how I would be keeping the mask on my head. I decided to just wear it like a hat, so I glued a headband to the underside and stuck that on my head. This is where the felt comes in, I wrapped white felt around the headband so it would match the fur a bit better. I put the headband on, and realized the mask was a bit heavy. So, I had to position the front to be a bit on my forehead to keep it in place as I walked. Not a big deal.
So, everything seemed okay, until the day of the convention. We were leaving, and I realized both the ears had practically ripped themselves off the mask. So my mom bought me some small craft sticks and I glued them to the ears to try holding
them up. Seemed like a smart fix, until they fell off three times during the day. I ended up holding the mask and throwing one of the ears in my bag since it had completely snapped off.
This whole ear situation wouldn’t have happened if I let them dry completely. They were still floppy when I glued them on, so I had a feeling they wouldn’t work.
Glass City Con Experiences
This was a small convention, much smaller than the one I’m used to: Youmacon. But it was really fun, with some surprisingly awesome cosplays. There was a giant room with arcade machines, desktops, consoles hooked up to projectors playing Smash Bros and Mario Kart. The arcade machines are what I played mostly. They were majorly rhythm games, which were pretty fun. All in Japanese, though which was a bit annoying since I don’t know a bit of it. But I got to play DDR to the Soul Eater opening and play a rhythm game with the Free! ending and the Death Parade opening, which was something I never expected to do.
I didn’t go to see the voice actors, since both voice actors were people I knew but wasn’t really all that familiar with. Leah Clark and Jad Saxton were the ones there, and I did get to walk by while Jad was doing signings, which was cool enough.
There were tons of cool cosplays as well, much more than I expected of a con that had less than 2,000 attendees. I only have a few pictures, though, since my friend was the one taking pictures and she only came on day two.
Here are my pictures
It’s a bit strange seeing San and Maka with blue/green hair, but I just hate wigs, so I went without. And a wig for my San cosplay would be a nightmare, since my mask already gave me problems. And my Maka cosplay was just reused from last year, since I didn’t feel like messing with my mask when I came home at 9 pm on day one.
So this was a bit of a lengthy post. Sorry for boring you. I hope you enjoyed my little tutorial anyway.
I will be on vacation from the 21st to 27th, so if I do not respond to your comments don’t think I’m ignoring you. I have another post planned to go up on the 28th, and this one is clearly on the 21st. I won’t have hardly any access to internet while I’m gone, but I’ll try to check on things from time to time. Thank you!
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