In 2019 I took place in an event called the Prop Tart Secret Santa, where viewers of the prop making channel Punished Props make gifts for others, secret santa style. We are given three props to choose from to make for our “kid” (the gift receiver) or we can choose something from that franchise. For my kid, I decided to make a Psycho mask from Borderlands 3.
I also made a 10 page document on the process of making the mask, but I’ll sum it up here.
It started out as a cheap plastic mask, which was bulked out with foam clay from the Hero Studio. Basic shapes were defined and redefined to get the iconic eyes, eyebrows and cheek bones.
Once the general structure was complete, I 3D designed the respirator parts on Fusion 360 and printed them from my Creality CR10S. Once cleaned up, I glued them into position and built up around them using alfoil and more foam clay. A backing from EVA foam was also build to help when making the mold.
When everything was ready, I gave it a couple of coats of Flexbond and when dry, smoothed it out with some wet 800 grit sandpaper. Next I gave it two layers of primer. My biggest fear was that the silicone would not cure if it came into contact with foam or the sealant, so I figured it should be safe if it was primed. And it was!
The silicone I used was Smooth-On’s Rebound 25. Two thin layers were applied, then two thicker ones using Thi-vex. When the silicone cured, I added a jacket mold using pottery plaster.
The next step was to create the first cast. For this Smooth-On’s Smooth Cast 300 was used, in multiple layers to total about 220 grams. Baby powder was brushed in to prevent the resin from sticking, then the resin was slushed around to coat the whole mold.
After the resin had cured, I removed the flashing and was ready to begin painting. I started by painting black around the eyes and respirator, then I added a tan layer all over the mask. Over that, a much lighter tan layer was applied to give some contrast. The darker tan layer was reapplied in some areas such as around the edges.
This layer was varnished and it was time to move onto the next step, which was a black wash over the mask to bring out details and help make it look worn. After that, I drew on a pattern of the iconic logo onto the mask, and traced the outside with black paint. Next, a mixture of paints to make orange was applied to the inside of the logo in multiple layers. Before moving on to the next step, metallic paints were added to the respirator and eyes.
It was then time to really make it Borderlands-ish; cell shading! This was carefully drawn on with a liner brush and more black paint, around details, the eyes/cheek bones, respirator, etc. Some things I learnt about cell shading:
-Major lines are disjointed (they have breaks here and there)
-Some major lines, as well as details, may also have outlines
-Don’t over-do it-A lot of lines define contours, such as on the brows and cheek bones
-Outlines of raised parts, such as the bracers around the respirator, sit slightly away from the edge – you can sort of “hide your crimes in plain sight” by highlighting them with cell shading
Once completed, I added some highlights to the metal parts with bright silver paint and bam – the mask was done! Just a final layer of varnish to protect everything.With the mask I also sanded behind the eyes and included some black fabric so that my kid could attach it if he wanted.
The process of making this mask was slightly terrifying, exciting and a heck of a lot of fun. It was my first time making a mold and I was extremely lucky with how it came out. I also loved having the opportunity to try out cell shading, something I had wanted to experiment with for a while.