Ok all you pretty much need for Nels mask is paper mache, tons of plasticine and a very light weight wood.
1. I covered my wig head (the one you see in the progress photos) with a bag and then did about 5/6 layers of paper mache all the way around the top until it was covered and then let it dry. You can get wig heads for about £4 from the party shop or fancy dress stores. I just happened to have mine from when i did my theatre degree!
2. Once it was dry i took it off and did the hard part which was marking out nels skull shape on top of it with a marker pen, and then i cut it out using a stanly knife and scissors. (Before you do cut it out i suggest putting it on your head and getting someone to see if the markings look right.) Dont worry if its a bit small, wig head generally are but once its cut it will fit.*
3.Then i gave it a few more layers of paper mache especially in the areas where I had cut it to help the sides become a little stronger.
4. Now this is the good bit of cheating that looks dead effective!hehe!when it was dry i looked at nels skull and marked out where all the really raised and thick pieces of skull were, so the nose the tops of the teeth around the eyes etc and i built these places up with loads of plastercine until it looked right. I went through 2 packs and got them from the early learning centre for £1 each. I also built up the edges ever so slightly so when you look at it it looks dead heavy and thick when in actual fact its quite thin and lightweight. Coate it all in pure pva glue when you're done to help harden it.
5. When the pva's dry that just give it another 3 layers or more of paper mache making sure you completly cover the plastercine. When it dries it will be hard and the plastercine will barely move.
6. This is the hard part and you might have to come up with another way of doing it but i did the horns next. My fantastic father who is a carpenter and wood carver made two matching horns from the pics i gave him of nels skull and then screwed them onto the mask id made. I was, before he suprised me with them, going to use maybe chicken wire with fabric to cover it to stop the paper mache sagging through the gaps when i gave it a few layers so you could try that or have an ask around loads of people do sculpting with paper mache so hope you find something!
7. Last but not least i filled in any gaps between the horns and mask with plastercine and paper mached over the top then painted it.I decided to do the shading to make it look more bone like and 3D but most people leave it white the choice is yours!
8. Not strictly necessary but I found that sometimes wearing the mask could rub but just glueing in a few pieces of felt or sponge in those places really helped to stop that.Its also handy if you accidently make it too big.If you need help to keep it on your head I just glued in hair clips though it stayed pretty well itelf.Elastic, grips etc can be used just find something that suits you.
Well hope thats made your lives a little easier!Just take a look at my profile for pics of Nel and Ggios mask. Halibel will be up there very soon as well!Any more questions feel free to message me!
*For masks like Ggio that really do have to fit the head just pad out the wig head until you get it to the right size.The masks really are quite flexible though so dont panic if its a little small.To pad my head out i just taped thick pieces of folded newspaper around the head and on top until it measured the same as the wearer.Make sure you really cover this with clingfilm or a bag if you do this method or you'll have extra bits of paper sticking to the inside!