From Sinister Superhero to Carnival Princess

If you’re not already aware, you can download a free PolyFacets plan to make a Superhero mask, right HERE
Because it’s a plan, you can make as many as you want, you can even make smaller ones for the young ‘uns, if you use the resizing guide HERE

This tutorial started life as a “how to patch up a mask that didn’t turn out so well” tutorial (which will be coming soon).
It shows you how to make water-based paints with Mod Podge, and making up a design as you go along with sequin strings, giving you all the help you need, to go from

Batman masks made from my free download

Plain Old Superhero

Carnival Superheroes

To Fabulous Carnival Queen!

Come with me on my messy journey, thrill to the frustration of fiddly sequins and gasp at the audacity of goose feathers, all set to a little bit of Beethoven.

Kickstarter Success

A quick but massive “thank you” to everyone who supported the Polyfacets Kickstarter camapign; happily, the campaign raised a little more than my target amount.

The money raised was intended to buy a “plot cutter”, to save the time it takes to cut out so many prototypes during the design process. Like all of the “best laid plans” the need for a plot cutter has been superseded by that of a new camera. My current one, a Fuji Finepix is on its’ last legs, plus, it doesn’t cope with photographing lights, so I’m going to get a DSLR camera with the Kickstarter funds. At this stage, it’s more important to me that I can produce better quality images and video, so I will be carrying on cutting with the Stanley knife for now.

I will be updating the project on Kickstarter in the next few days.

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.

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.

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.

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.