Owl Mask

I’ve got a styrofoam head on order, but in the meantime, the bobcat head will continue her internet modeling career.

Lessons learned from this one: Never paint anything white.

Horrible awful color, lousy coverage, brush strokes stand out in sharp relief, needs to be touched up ten times over. We Will Not Be Doing That Again.

Lesson #2: Liquid Leaf does a gloriously strong metallic that covers in a single coat, looks nicely metallic, and adheres to leather beautifully. It also produces fumes so toxic that I believe I am measurably stupider after having used it. I could hear my brain cells exploding, like distant popcorn.

I think the smell has mostly dissipated and wearing the mask is the no longer the equivalent of huffing paint thinner, but in the future, I’ll stick to the Luminere brand if at all possible, although it doesn’t cover half so well.

I had a lot of fun with this design, which is based loosely on an antique carnivale mask. I like the shape here, but I may have to try doing a more realistic one, with actual feathers ‘n stuff, just to see how that comes out.

I am going to have to start selling these just to make up the price of leather, but I feel weird about it, since I am so desperately new to this sorta thing and have no notion of pricing whatsoever—the price of a GOOD mask is exorbitant, and this is just me screwin’ around.  So, errr…somebody make me an offer? (Lyssandra, you get right of first refusal if you want it, since you kept asking. *grin*)

  • reply E. ,

    Serious offer? OK, $150.

    • reply Victoria ,

      rule of thumb for pricing.

      Cost of materials and overhead + cost of labor on an hourly basis = cost of item. Annoyance fees are to be charged on an as-needed basis. (Frex: someone commissions a mask with white paint on it.)

      it really comes down to how much do you think your time is worth. Beginners cost less than experienced workers. How much would you pay an instructor to teach you how to make leather masks? What they charge an hour is what you should charge an hour.

      Depending on what I’m doing (crafting or editing) I cost anywhere between $10 to $20 an hour.

      • reply Victoria ,

        by the way…. very, very pretty. The liquid leaf part is very attractive.

        Can you build a DIY fume hood in your studio? That way the fumes are vented out a window and not up your nose. Something along the lines of a plexiglass box connected to a fan that’s pointed out an open window?

        It’s not as though you’re working with a biological agent that will turn you into a brain eating zombie. Or turn you into plant.

        • reply Sevesteen ,

          Not sure what you are using for colors–with leather dye, I’ve had much better luck with even the cheapest $10 Harbor Freight airbrush than any sort of brush, sponge or dauber.

          • reply Hawk ,

            Re: fumes – is it at all practical to go outside? I see Victoria’s suggestion of some form of fume hood, which is a good one. But in the meantime (or if putting such a thing in the studio will not work) – outside? I don’t do much with anything that gives off fumes, but one year I was using an acrylic spray sealer – supposedly meant to glaze and seal most anything. Turned out to look nice and shiny, but it left the surface of my medallions tacky >.<

            Anyway, I had to take that stuff outdoors, it was like spray paint, many fumes and whatnot.

            (I was making medallions out of Sculpey and painting them, wanting the paint to be "safe.")

            • reply Al the K ,

              For the white (next time?), I would try brushing outwards so the textural effect works to your advantage. Use a pale gray or even silver (primer-like) undercoat. Otherwise . . .

              If you want a super acrylic paint (6 bucks a fl.oz., yow), try out the ones from Polly Scale. There are military and railroad colors in 1 oz. bottles, from those types of specialty hobby shops or online. There was a fantasy line (for figures) that was discontinued IIRC.

              Brushstrokes smooth out incredibly well if not perfectly and you can get nice thin coats with it straight out of the bottle. It flattens down nicely. It ends up semigloss. The solvent to use for airbrushing or in general is either cheap 61% isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol (no additives) or household ammonia, not water as might be intuitive.

              • reply Rebecca ,

                I’m always impressed with people who tackle making masks out of leather, I just have never gotten the hang of it and I’ve been doing leather work for *clears throat* years.

                For dealing with fumes I’ve found even working by an open window with a fan helps a lot, but I think short of a few of the finishes I use, nothing I use is that bad this may not help a lot. Paint wise, I use acrylic paints and I have found I love the Lumiere and Neopaque paints from Jaquard, nice coverage and the Lumiere metallics are fantastic. The Neopaque white works pretty well, but like white its a crap shoot on how well it will work.

                • reply Korbl ,

                  My general rule of thumb for pricing an item is “cost of materials x 2”, with maybe a bit added in for labour if it took a long time/was annoying to make.

                  Being a culinary student, it’s started to get skewed because industry standard for a dish is “food cost x 3.”

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