Monday, October 23, 2017

3 Ninja Masks

My wife and I have 2 awesome friends named Kerrie and Scott.  Their kids are also quite awesome.

Carl, Jsun and Petey.
(That's what I call them).

In addition to being highly amusing, the Kids are also quite proficient at Taekwondo.

Kerrie and Scott came all the way to Arizona for our wedding, and while at our house they decided to play with some of the props and helmets I've made over the years.

With Halloween coming up, Kerrie wanted to dress up her kids as the 3 Ninjas (from the1990's  movies).

I vaguely remembered the movies, but I was able to easily find the masks the 3 wear online.

So I decided I was going to make those 3 masks for the kids.  And I was so happy to do so since they were the only ones to send me a get-well card when I was really sick from gallstones. At the time I decided to take on this task it was already the end of September, so time was tight.  I was going to use my head mannequin and wrap the face with plaster wrap in order to make the 3 masks...

...but while out at the arts supply store to buy some plaster wrap, I spotted plastic face masks.

These masks were not the cheap, thin plastic you would expect out of a Halloween mask.  Instead they were a thicker ABS or PLA plastic - rigid and durable.  Each mask also had ribbon attached to it to make them wearable.  So instead of making the 3 masks with plaster, I simply bought 3 of the plastic masks (it was also cheaper than buying a few rolls of plaster wrap).

The plastic was very smooth and shiny, and would not hold normal acrylic paints - or even marker.

So I went out and bought some spray primer and paint in one.  This spray paint will also bond to the plastic.  Before applying any paint, I removed the ribbon on each of the helmets.

I sprayed the base color for each helmet.  First I did the light yellow for "Tum Tum's" mask.

Then I did the green for "Rocky's" mask.

And finally the light blue for "Colt's" mask.  Unfortunately the spray paint can's nozzle got clogged and so the mask became very textured with splatter.

Using some lacquer thinner and rags, I removed the paint from the mask and cleaned the nozzle.

Then I reapplied the paint, and this time it was smooth.

Then I let the 3 masks dry for a few hours.

Once dry, I flipped them over and painted the insides.  Once that dried I painted both sides with some matte clear coat and then let them dry overnight.  The clear coat isn't totally necessary, but it will make it easier to paint on the details with acrylics.

The next morning I used a pencil to lightly mark the details I was going to paint in.

The blue and yellow masks were easy to mark.

The green mask was not easy.  So when it came to painting, I decided to work on this mask last.

I started with the blue mask...

It took a few layers of paint to make the darker blue look solid.

The yellow mask required orange details, but I had no orange paint.  So I had to mix reds and yellows to get the color I wanted. 

The orange color turned out to be darker than I wanted, but it still looked good.  I then used the same orange for the eyes on the blue mask.

Once both masks were dry I added the finishing touches.

Gray was added to the lips of the blue mask.

And black was added to the eyes of the yellow mask.

I also made the brows and lips a darker color.

Now it was time to tackle the green mask.  Since I couldn't easily mark the mask with pencil, I simply decided to freehand it with paint.  I started with the red eyes and lips.

Since the green is dark, I had to put on at least 3 coats of paint in order to make the colors look rich.  But the end result was nice.  The reds, yellow and black all look nice.

Next I used a thicker white paint to fill in the chin and make the outlines.  The outlines scared me the most, but I was able to take my time and get it done nicely.

Once all the paint on the green mask dried, I added the 2 black details to the chin.

And this one is done!

To paint all 3 masks took me about 2 hours.

Next I brought the masks in the garage for a few coats of glossy clear coat.

The blue and yellow masks fared well, but the green mask had some shriveling of clear coat.

Saddened, I tried to use some lacquer thinner to remove the paint and clear coat from the top of the mask.

I reapplied the green spray paint on the top, but the leftover paint was quite visible and not to my liking.

So I would have to start from scratch and remove all the paint.

Once the paint was removed and the mask was dry, I reapplied the green spray paint and let it dry overnight.

The next morning I repeated the previous steps and repainted the green mask.

I'm happy that it came out just as nice as the previous version.

When the paint was dry I reapplied the clear coat, this time making many light coats until it was nice and glossy.  Thankfully there was no shriveling this time.

Lastly I used hot glue to reattach the ribbons so that they are wearable again.

And I'm done!  I carefully packed them up and shipped them to Kerrie and Scott.  A few days later they got the masks, and the kids loved them.  "Carl" even decided to wear his while in bed reading.

"Petey" is his full costume.

And here's all 3 of them.

With the masks on the kids they look so much better.  I'm glad I was able to do this for my friends.

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