The Kickstarter Mask Plan Menagerie is Now Live

I have finally done it, after months of careful fiddling my mask project is live on Kickstarter at last!  I’ve taken as much advice as I can and the rest is done in my own way.
I love the concept of Kickstarter and so far it’s proving to be a great experience. Designing the campaign really made me think about how to communicate about the project.
Here’s the lead video from the campaign, I’d be interested to hear your feedback.

You can see the full campaign HERE

Super Tough and Sugar Skull Masks

I’ve been compiling the written part of my Kickstarter campaign and getting valued opinions from various folks. One particular group of serious business people showed me some tough love, and hit me with a barrage of questions, the sort of questions I should already be able to answer with no problem.
The exercise has been very helpful, not just for the startup, but for the business in general.

One of the questions was “why should I buy a plan from you, when I can probably get something for free?”
The main thing that I think sets my plans aside from others, paid or free, is the way they’re constructed and the strengths they have as a result. I made this video to demonstrate, using masks made with my standard methods. The main material is printer card.


Even I was surprised that they will support a 6 pound housebrick and I’m delighted that they’re so water resistant that they can be immersed completely and stay intact.
It probably takes a little bit more time to build one of my masks than one of the free downloads you can get but the quality of the finished products is worlds apart. I’m proud that these masks are so sturdy, it makes it worthwhile to spend time the decoration them because you know that they won’t just fall apart the first time you wear them.
They’re beautiful things to decorate, too. I gave these two spare monkey masks a couple of quick treatments yesterday and found myself almost in colouring book territory, in that, the lines are already there, you know what the main theme of the picture will be but you can colour it in any way you like.

Robot and sugar skull monkey masks

Sugar Skull and Robot Monkey Masks

I aim to make tutorials for all of the different paint styles and decoration techniques. I’ve quite a few ideas I haven’t even got around to testing but for now, the Sugar Skull technique is pleasing me the most. It’s much simpler than it looks, with the starting point being the bold white lines around the eyes, the skull outline and the mouth. Once those are in place, you can just “make up” the design, using the facets of the mask as a guide to keep it nice and symmetrical.

Save Money on Paint with this Simple Tip

I’ll get straight to the point, you can prolong the shelf life of most types of paint by using Duct (or Duck) Tape.
I’ll start with household paints (the big stuff) and talk about craft paints later.

One of the worst types of paint for spoiling in storage is oil based paint, the sort you might use on your woodwork at home. Even if you put the lid on tightly, it often forms a skin and becomes thick. After a while the set paint around the lid stops it from fitting.

One of the worst types of paint for spoiling in storage is oil based paint, the sort you might use on your woodwork at home. Even if you put the lid on tightly, it often forms a skin and becomes thick. After a while the set paint around the lid stops it from fitting.

Some people turn the tin upside down, so that the paint forms a seal around the lid, but that dried paint falls into the tin when you open it.

Instead, wipe off any wet paint and put the lid on tightly, apply duct tape, like this, pressing it down to make sure that it’s well sealed.

Instead, wipe off any wet paint and put the lid on tightly, apply duct tape, like this, pressing it down to make sure that it’s well sealed.

This prolongs the life of pretty much anything in this sort of pot, that “air dries”. I use it to seal the lid of my contact adhesive, too.

If you work on small craft projects, and you mix your own, small amounts of paint, duct tape is a great way to keep it useable.
I cover making your own paints in other tutorials, here are a couple

Any small container is OK to use to mix up your paint, as long as it has a smooth top edge. When you want to store it, make sure that the edge is clean and seal it with tape.

For a plastic cup like this, use two pieces overlapping. If your paint is water based, adding a few drops of clean water before you seal it helps.

For a plastic cup like this, use two pieces overlapping.
If your paint is water based, adding a few drops of clean water before you seal it helps.

If you’re making really tiny quantities of paint, try using  bottle tops. The tops from four pint milk containers are ideal.

If you’re making really tiny quantities of paint, try using bottle tops. The tops from four pint milk containers are ideal.

 

Download a #LegUp Logo

I was watching The Last Leg on catchup last week, and this popped into my head. It spent a couple of days as a fairly wonky scribble, this is how it’s ended up.
The #LegUp hashtag is a wonderful idea for a forum to give and receive help, so if this image can be of use to you, please take it and use it.

Leg up logo

Leg Up Logo – Right click and “save image as”

 

It’s been Retweeted and Favourited by @TheLastLeg on Twitter, so I guess it is OK to share it with you here.

If you want a larger version, this one is in a scaleable format   Click to Download The PDF

Last-Leg-Twitter

Make Your Own Superhero Mask – Free Plan and Tutorial

Want to make this cool and sinister looking Superhero mask?

Batman masks made from my free download

These Batman masks  were made from the free download available at the bottom of the page

You can make this from four sheets of printer paper, some scrap card, Mod Podge, contact adhesive and black paint.

I have to be honest with you, this is not the easiest of my plans. It was designed as a freebie, so I’ve taken the liberty of including some smaller joining pieces than I have used on my other plans.
Having said that, it’s eminently doable, if you follow the instructions.  The pale grey version has been made specifically so that you can see exactly the shape you need to push as you build the mask.


Just fill in your name and email to download the Superhero Mask Plan.
You will be emailed a link to the PDF, right-click on the plan and “save as” to save the file to your own machine.

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Here are the full instructions (which are included in the PDF)
There are instruction videos on my YouTube channel, with all of the information  broken down into the chapters you see here. Polyfacet’s YouTube Channel
1.Tools
Metal ruler                                Craft knife and new blades                   Scissors
Ballpoint pen                             Small paintbrush ¼” or ½”
Cutting mat / surface                  Tool to spread glue (a lolly stick will do)

2.Materials
Printer card – The best combination to make the Batman Mask is to print the pattern on  250gsm and bond that to 300gsm card.
Or use Recycled cardboard  – print the pattern on paper and bond the printed sheet to it. (Detailed instructions follow in the next section.)
Mod Podge or acrylic varnish can be used to fix your pattern to cardboard, protect and reinforce your mask.
Elmers glue or PVA is not a good substitute for the above.
Spray adhesive can be used to fix your pattern to cardboard.
Contact adhesive is the best way to fix your mask together, forever. The joins are under stress, so we need that “instant grab”
How you use each one is covered in the following sections.
Video Guide to Tools and Materials

I've given these some different paint treatments, so you can see that it's quite an interesting and complex shape.

I’ve given these some different paint treatments, so you can see that it’s quite an interesting and complex shape.

 3.Bonding the printed pattern to card
Mod Podge is by far the best, no matter what your combination of paper and card.
You can use spray adhesive. This is quite messy and should be done outside your living area – follow the instructions on the can.
You can use acrylic varnish to bond your pattern.
Whatever you are using…
Cut roughly around the pattern pieces and position them (dry) on your card. Draw around them (pencil or biro) to mark where to apply the adhesive.
Coat the pack of your pattern piece in Mod Podge and position it on the card, making sure it’s pressed down flat and the edges are sealed or
Cover the marked area in acrylic varnish, so that it is wet but not soaked. It dries fast, so you may have to re-cover some areas. Position the pattern piece fast,while the varnish is wet. Start at an edge so you don’t trap any bubbles. Smooth the whole thing down with your fingertips.
If it is wet enough, a little bit of varnish will seep out from the edges. Smooth it down, pressing down the edges until the whole thing is tack dry.
It may curl a little bit but it will soon be dry enough to be weighed down. A slight curl is not a problem if the card is thick enough. Don’t wet any areas with varnish that you don’t need to – the dry areas act as a frame to help it dry flat.
The sheet of numbered fixing tabs is best printed out on 250gsm card.
If you can only print it on paper, bond it to thin card.
Video – Bonding your printed sheets to card

4.Cutting
Use a really sharp craft knife to cut out the pattern pieces, right along the solid black outer lines.
The more accurately you cut, the better your mask will turn out. There are no inward cuts on this plan but you do need to take care with Piece 1, when you cut around the numbers 5-11.
The video guide has tips for accurate, safe cutting
Apply a coat of Mod Podge or acrylic varnish to the outside of the pieces after you cut them out. Dry card is easily scuffed and marked – it will protect the surface and it makes the card much less likely to crack when you are making your folds.
Coat the printed side of the numbered tab sheet with Mod Podge or acrylic varnish.

His head is actually that shape under the mask

His head is actually that shape under the mask

5.Scoring and Creasing
Score – (You can do this before or after you cut out the pattern).
Use a straight edge and ballpoint pen to score along all of the 4mm dashed lines. Press hard. A coloured pen is best, so that you can still see the dashed lines.
Crease – (Always after cutting)
Fold along the scored lines. Fold towards you “valley fold”, unless the line is marked “RIDGE”; for these lines, fold away from you.
For small or narrow folds, use a straight edge to push one side up, while you hold the other side down with your fingers or another straight edge.
Take care not to crease the pieces anywhere creases are not indicated.
Some of the folds will not allow you to make a “hard” fold – just pinch them gently so that the card will flex in the right direction in those places.
Video Guide to  Scoring and Creasing

6.Numbered Tabs and Building the mask
The final sheet of the mask plan is a sheet of numbered tabs, for best results, you have already given the printed side a coat of Mod Podge or Acylic Varnish.
Score the sheet right along the horizontal dotted lines and fold, printed face inwards, unless a ridge fold is indicated .
Cut out the tabs and fix one side of the tab only to the flat pieces. Mod Podge, superglue or any other glue is fine to stick the first half.
It’s always better to add the tabs to the pieces while they are flat, rather than once they are part of the mask being made.
Check you’ve scored and creased the piece before you add tabs. You have a choice of two positions – choose either.
Cut out just a few at a time and stick them on in the matching positions. Use the numbers to find the accurate positions for the tabs on the dotted areas.
Once they’re completely dry, fold them inwards.
Coat the back of each numbered tab and the remaining dotted areas on the printed pattern with a thin, even coat of Contact adhesive. You can use a small metal spatula, a piece of card cut to shape or a lolly stick. Allow the glue to dry completely before you build your mask.
Start at number 1. Look at the outside to make the join, pressing it together firmly before you press down the tab firmly at the back.
Always check how the piece fits before you commit yourself – some pieces will need a little tweak or change of angle.
Try to look ahead a little at how your pieces will match up.
It is not vital to follow the numbered order.
Once the mask is complete, it’s a good idea to give another coat of Mod podge or varnish, sealing the cut edges.
Video – Building a Mask with the Numbered Tab Sheet

 

Make my own Batman mask

The Batman Mask Prototypes with Bananas

This is my Pinterest post, it would be great if you would be kind enough to share this anywhere you like.

Batman Mask made with the Free Tutorial and Download from PolyFacets

Batman Mask made with the Free Tutorial and Download from PolyFacets

Why You Can’t Make Mod Podge

I’m writing this post because I predict that when I release my first (free) mask plan, some people are going to be cheap about the materials and then moan that their mask didn’t turn out right.
The main thing that I want to head off is the idea that you can make your own Mod Podge from PVA / Elmers Glue / White Glue. It’s nonsense that I have seen in many places, like THIS and this video


Make no mistake, using PVA where I tell you to use Mod Podge will leave your mask a distorted mess, rather than the crisp, sharp polygon mask I am teaching you to make.
As we are talking about being cheap, I will use some budget printer paper to demonstrate. I’m not even going to the extent of diluting the PVA, (as those links above say you should) because that makes it even worse.
I took three 10cm squares of paper, and coated each one evenly with a similar amount of three types of goo. Then I added a 5cm square of the same paper.

  1. was dry enough to handle in twenty minutes.
  2. took more than 2 houtrs before it was handleable
  3. was dry enough to handle in twenty minutes.
    You can't make Mod Podge

    A     is    Mod    Podge                B     is     PVA           C    is   Polyfacets   Goo

    This photograph was taken after about 20 hours.

    1. The Mod Podge coated piece has returned to being quite flat. It has a little curve but no ripples.
    2. The paper coated with PVA distorts worst of all. It’s curved and rippled, even where the extra square is stuck on.
    3. Polyfacet’s Goo – a slight curve but no ripples. The stuck-on square is flat.

    Put very simply, PVA is like a liquid plastic. It dries by evapouration and it shrinks as it does, which is why it distorts paper. It takes ages to dry, leaving your work saturated for ages as it distorts.
    Mod Podge is, I’m guessing, an acrylic polymer with suspended solids. To test out my guess, I mixed cheap hardware store acrylic varnish with talcum powder. This combination of a fast drying acrylic medium with added solids is MUCH more like Mod Podge. It adds weight and body and it dries rapidly without distorting your work. Gentle curves can be corrected as the mask is assembled. I’ll do a tutorial on how to make Polyfacets Goo if anyone needs it.
    Watered down PVA might work fine for some craft projects but it makes inferior masks.

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.

Building Masks With Card – Construction Videos

I’ve been editing videos showing the final build stage of five of the masks. It’s the best way to explain what I do. It’s given me the chance to really take stock of the experience I’m offering, as a home crafting project. There’s no doubt that it takes patience and accuracy to make them but they don’t demand the dedication needed to knit a scarf, for instance. I like the knitting analogy. They have that kind of “hang up your mind” quality; the sort of thing you might do listening to music and enjoying your favourite drink.

As far as materials are concerned, I’m delighted with Mod Podge and I’m sorry if it comes off as if I am on of their sales team. The stuff is amazing, it adds flexibility, water resistance and strength to card and it’s as easy as working with PVA. By the time they’re completed, it’s hard to believe that they started out as cereal boxes.

I explored many ways to fix the masks together. I have one eye on future projects; I’ve got a LOT of ideas, but they all depend on weather I can create projects that end with perfect results for my customers.

Tape on the outside was never an option. I tried all types of double sided tapes and tabs attached to the pattern pieces. In the end, the tab sheet system is the most accurate way to hold it all together; the masks are under a good deal of stress and a strong, intant bond is needed. Contact adhesive is the perfect glue for the final build, I use Mod Podge to secure the tabs to the flat pieces.

These videos show just the actual build. I did five on the same day and I have to say, I really enjoyed it. I can’t wait to get a cutting machine (I’ve made each of these over 20 times, now) it’s going to save a lot of time.