Fluorescent Sculptures, LED lights and Smoke

Some more experiments in finding different props to use to make enchanting illuminated scenes which will move and interact with smoke on video.

Angry Fish in the Dark

A Fimo fish with a pearlescent finish. Leds under water cause the glare in the smoke.

 

Odd fluorescent objects floating in the dark

Fluorescent floaters. I’m planning to develop the use of this material.

 

Smoke, coloured lights and fluorescent sculptures

I love the way that the smoke weaves patterns, it’s a fun thing to capture in a still.

 

Photographic word designs using hand made coloured lights and uv reactive sculptures in water.

A little bit of underwater background lighting adds more dimension to the smoke and depth to the image.

 

Photographic name designs using hand made coloured lights and uv reactive sculptures in water.

This is a “new styling” for adding new names to my massive library of photographed names, which I may update at some time. Names In Lights

 

Printer Card Illuminations

After much prototyping and rejigging, here are the first two light designs.
Having had them around for a few weeks now, I’ve decided that I’m going to find an alternative way to make illuminated letters. I’ve tried different ways to give it the support it needs but it inevitably sags and it’s way to complicated to build.
The mushroom, on the other hand, is a lovely thing. I’ve rejigged it so that it’s huge, much bigger than in the photos.

These lights are made mainly from printer card and Mod Podge

These lights are made mainly from printer card and Mod Podge

The outer bodies of the lights are made from two layers of 300gsm card, bonded with Mod Podge, which is also the medium used to bond layers of translucent paper to make the “windows”. In this case, I’ve used mulberry paper but you can use anything which will let the light pass through.

Even in daylight, the lights give a bright and heartwarming display

Even in daylight, the lights give a bright and heartwarming display

Inside each light is another card structure, onto which the lights are securely fixed. There are no electrical tools or knowledge required, and once complete, the lights change colour by remote control.
The “light” parts for the project can be bought for under £10.

You don't need any electrical knowledge to construct these fabulous DIY Mood Lights

You don’t need any electrical knowledge to construct these fabulous DIY Mood Lights

 

Mushroom Mood Light – Design in Progress

Much as I love designing masks, I want to make plans (to create) for things with a more universal appeal.
Decorative lights and stained glass are passions of mine and I have always had it in mind to develop the plans in this direction.

Prototype Mushroom light made from Leds and 30 A4 sheets of printer card.

Prototype Mushroom light made from Leds and 30 A4 sheets of printer card.

My fascination with coloured lights is due in no small part to my having Aspergers syndrome. In true style, I have started off with a pretty complex design – it takes about twelve hours at the moment but I’m working on simplifying the build.

I like to think that I can “get away” with it being a project that you have to invest in (timewise) because of the very rewarding end result.
The full cost of the materials for building the light comes to less than £15 (excluding the cost of a mains adapter).
One of the most beautiful things about it is that you need no electrical knowledge whatsoever, just the same, very basic tools used for mask making. The only additional materials you will need to build this are the lights themselves and the paper for the “windows”.

Prototype Superhero Mask

I’m trying to make this one available as a free download as soon as I can. It takes just seven pieces of card, Mod podge, contact adhesive and black paint.

This is the second prototype of the Batman mask freebie.

This is the second prototype of the Batman mask freebie.

This is only the second prototype; it goes together well but there are a few small tabs and some tricky pushing at the end.

 

A Full Set Of Masks

At long last, I have all of the masks photographed. There’s still editing to do on some of them but I’ve put together these two compilation images, to demonstrate the whole set.

The starting range of diy cardboard masks from Polyfacets in white

The starting range of diy cardboard masks from Polyfacets in white

Here they are in their plain form. To make the join lines disappear, I give them a coat of Mod Podge mixed with white plaster pigment (about 70/30)
The coloured ones are painted mainly in paint made with Mod Podge and Sugarflair (food colourings). Not entirely waterproof is a fair way to describe it, so I’m looking for an alternative pigment to suggest in my tutorials lest it should come back to haunt me in the form of irate customers in peculiar hues.

The starting range of diy cardboard masks from Polyfacets, decorated

The starting range of diy cardboard masks from Polyfacets, decorated

I’m finding a use for many of the materials I’ve been hoarding, too. The penguin is decorated with Tulip squeezy paints and the Green Man (top right) has his hawthorne leaves coated in bronzing powder.
I’m still not quite sure when I’ll get them to market but I’m hoping to finish off my video and launch the Kickstarter campaign in the next couple of weeks.

Now with Twirling Unicorns

An old CD player has been recycled to make a slow, rotary display stand for the masks; it seems like a nice format for photographs to me. I think it’s useful to display them all in white, you can see their shape more distinctly than when they are painted up.
I’m working on making images like these for each design. Some of them present a bit of a problem, as to where to put the tube they rotate on, so there’s going to be a bit of bodging, no doubt.

DIY cardboard unicorn mask

DIY cardboard unicorn masks

Here’s another short video showing the unicorn being assembled; part of this is going into the video I’m making for Kickstarter.

Thoughts About Launching with a Crowdfunding Campaign

I decided a while ago that I’d like to launch the mask plans with a crowdfunding campaign. For one thing, a cutter and new video equipment would be a great help but it would be nice to start building an audience before I begin.
There’s a mind-boggling variety of must-do advice out there, about “building a following before you launch a campaign”, writing press releases and all that unpleasantness.
To that end,  I’m trying to sort out my various bits on social media but my main focus is on the video for a Crowdfunding Campaign. For me, this is way harder than making the demo films. It’s the difference between presenting facts and telling a really interesting story that will make the funders want to be involved. I lack the confidence to use my face or my voice, so my hands and my work will have to do the talking.  I’ve “blacked out” the booth I use for demo videos, so that I can try some stop motion style techniques. I’ve been using it for photos, too.

Here are the original three masks, a couple of versions of each.

0.aliens

You could make your own alien army from just one plan

0.mice

All purpose rodent – Is It A Mouse? Is It a Rat? Depends how you paint it.

0unicorns

Maypole Unicorn and Battlefield Unicorn – Quick paint treatments that can make your mask a work entirely of your own.

Of all of the plan sets, these are the ones I have the most confidence in, having made them so many times. I’m steadily ironing out the details in the others whilst I rack my brains about my Crowdfunding dilemmas.


Mask Road Test and Demo Videos

Mystery Mask Wearers

Last Sunday we took the masks along with us on a day out to Llangollen. They get a pleasing Ooo reaction when you take them out of the bag and people seemed really interested when they turned them over and saw how they are constructed. I can’t name all of the people in the photo but there’s a five-piece-two-harp rock band amongst them, I promise you.

I’ve been editing the instruction videos this week, starting at the end in my own usual style. Or, unusual style. There’s some revision still going on around the materials and building parts of the tutorials.
All of them are graciously voiced for me by JB, although I am solely responsible for the content.

The Zombie Bear tutorial is a straightforward invitation to use the form of the masks and do whatever you want with them.
They’re designed to be rigid and robust, so you can add any bits you want.
The Decoration Part1 covers a couple of cheap and simple paint recipes.

Decoration Part 2 covers a piping technique on a black mask and using real leaves and bronzing powder to make a Green Man.

I’m aware that the vids can sometimes come off as a sales pitch for Mod Podge but it is, a wonderful thing. I’ve often used PVA or acrylic varnish as an all purpose glue, medium and glaze in the past. The Podge has superior drying and strength, plus it doesn’t saturate the card as much, so there is less distortion.

Sugar Skull and Monkey Masks

Having spent the last week making the demo videos that go with my mask plans, there’s still a burning question.
Have I made it all too damned complicated?
The truth is I so want these to be accessible because once they are built, they’re a pure joy to decorate. The tutorials aim to inspire mask builders to go crazy with their decoration.
The video shows that you don’t need to be particularly artistic, so long as you’re patient. When you see the blank next to the painted one, it really shows that you can play with the geometry and almost loose it.

monkey.painted

Now that I’m almost at the end of filming, next week is going to be spent editing it all together into comfortable chapters. The launch and marketing of this project is as yet unplanned and my next steps, once the instruction pack is complete, will be to get some photos of the masks being worn as well as to get them tested.
As always, the business bit gets right in the way of the creative bit but that’s life.

 

 

sugar.skull
Here’s another mask from the weekends film fun. The design’s done with Tulip “squeezy” paints, which are thorough fun to work with. The construction lines of the mask give you reference points enough to make up your design as you go.
This is the “happy” mask, from the pair of drama masks – his “sad” twin has been made into a Green Man.

Plans Still in the Planning Stage

Although I may have been quiet on the blog, I’ve been working away on the mask project.

Since I had created the original three I’ve spent time trying to improve everything about them, including finding the best combination of materials, to give my customers the best chance to reproduce these masks accurately and for the masks to be robust and long lasting.

mouse.mask.pair

All Purpose Rodent – On the left is the original, the other uses the new build system

I have been able to narrow the list of necessary materials down to three – printer card, Mod Podge or Acrylic varnish and contact adhesive.

The completed guides will each include the pattern and detailed instructions (which will  link to short video demos by chapter).

The Alien Mask  - you could make a whole army of these with just one plan

The Alien Mask – you could make a whole army of these with just one plan

All of the patterns are divided so that they will print on A4 paper (or, ideally, card) and you don’t need many tools – just a sharp craft knife, straight edge, cutting mat a couple of small paintbrushes and some patience.
They’re built using a numbered tab system to fix them together from the inside. They are built with no tape on the outside, which allows us to have a nicely decorated end product.
I’ve got future plans for masks and other “self build” objects which are much more complex and the tabs not only add strength, they’re a useful mapping tool to show the user how it fits together.

The Unicorn mask has an optional piece, if you want to make a horse

The Unicorn mask has an optional piece, if you want to make a horse

All of my decorated masks are rush jobs because I’m trying to design an entire product range. To help makers with decoration, I’m going to do some tutorials on making and using your own paints.
Masks with ears have an additional sheet of ear liners, which serve to hide the construction lines inside the ears. They can be fixed in with glue or acrylic medium.
Finally, here’s one of the new designs.

Bunny mask

Bunny mask

I’m still going over and checking the fine details of the plans.
I made a set of videos based on the “original instructions” but everything is quite different now, so I’m going to re-film them. JB will once again be kindly lending his voice.
I’ve built a new “set” for the videos – that’s where all of the photos in this post are taken. I’ve built it so that I can get good lighting and decent overhead camera angles.
It’s still going to be a little while before I can get these to market but if you are reading this and you would like to make one as a “product tester”, do get in touch.