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October 21, 2006
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Princess Mononoke Mask by nippyfrog Princess Mononoke Mask by nippyfrog
A fan art piece. Replica of the Mask worn by San in Princess Mononoke.

I get a lot of questions so I'm going to try and nip that in the bud right here with this FAQ.
I'm always glad to hear that people enjoy and it makes me happy it's greeted with such enthusiasm.
If you do make a mask I'd love to see it! Let me know about it or post in the comments. I'll link you in the bottom of this description.

I cosplay and I want to make a mask like this to wear, how do I do it?
A lot of people ask how I made this and they always want to make one like it to wear. Problem is that a real replica of the mask is heavy to wear and you risk breaking something you spent weeks making.

This was made to be a replica, so end the end it's not really something you want to chance wearing around since it's actually clay which makes it fragile.
1. It's heavy
2. There is such a high risk of it breaking or falling off your face from being heavy.

My thoughts on making a replica mask that you can wear.
If you don't mind the idea of breaking something you spent weeks painstakingly crafting, I have some thoughts on how to make an authentic looking Mononoke mask to stay on your face.
This mask was originally made with the intent of being able to wear it, but it's decently heavy. I originally was going to put very large elastic around the back of the head attaching to the face of the mask like a hockey mask or something. I'm not sure that would have done the job.
Looking back I could have made a plaster mold of my face for the inside and padded it with something in order for it to sit better. It might have anchored it on my head somehow too. I suggest looking into plaster molds if you really want to wear it on your face, and something that would heavy duty anchor it to your face. Getting it to stay on your head without breaking and looking authentic is going to be a challenge and a lot of hard work, but I don't feel it's impossible. More power to you and good luck!


What is it made of?
It's made out of rabbit fur and brown clay which I glazed. You have to know how to kneed clay, know what slip is, and always score when you apply new pieces of clay so it won't explode. This is a HUGE problem with people new to clay and they don't take it seriously enough. I had someone else's clay project DESTROY a project of mine I spent weeks on because they did not kneed/score and slip properly or at all.
You need a kiln to fire it in. Then when you glaze it you need a kiln once again to fire the glaze.

OMG YOU USED REAL FUR?
It was from a thrift store (something old from a long time ago)- I don't support fur sport, but this animal was already killed a long time ago. I support making use of things that are already here, but not making new fur to sell. This animal died in vain and I acquired it for almost free from goodwill to make art with. I would never buy fur from a real store and support the fur trade.

How do you make the mask?
To start it I put a big slab of clay over a bowl and some wet newspaper lining it and filling spots where it needed to round out more. Then I smoothed out all the curves on it and let it sit overnight with sponges around it and covered so it would get more stiff, but not dry. Then I carved out what I wanted each day allowing it to dry a little more adding clay and carving it to get the geometry correct. I poked holes all around the edges of the mask so I could attach the fur later. Then it was fired and then glazed and fired again. It was quite the project. When people come over my house and don't know what it is they always say it's really creepy. I guess it kind of is.

How did you make the ears?
I made the ears by making basically a hollow 3 sided pyramid with one side missing. The bottom part I poked holes in so I could sew the fur on.

How long did this take you?
I worked on it for weeks. Plus you have to wait for it to dry completely, fire it, glaze it, fire it, assemble it. It's a very large project if you want it to look real. Get ready. ;)
Add a Comment:
 
:iconmoonunicorn123:
moonunicorn123 Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
That is fantastic!! I love all the studio Ghibli Film and Princess Mononoke is one of my favourites! Well done Nippy Frog!
Reply
:iconpokesmosher365:
PokeSmosher365 Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2012  Student General Artist
Can you post a picture of yourself wearing it?
Reply
:iconfluffyspiderz:
FluffySpiderz Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I've seen a great paper mache version.
Reply
:iconknightobsidian:
knightobsidian Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2012
would there be a way to make one out of wood?
Reply
:iconnippyfrog:
nippyfrog Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2012
I think there would. That is a good idea!

Also- lightweight plaster might work.
Reply
:iconknightobsidian:
knightobsidian Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2012
is there a way to make one out of wood? then paint.
Reply
:iconadrianimation:
Adrianimation Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2011  Student Filmographer
this is really good! I love how you did the ceramics! I'm making a San cosplay and I used a plastic decorating mask from hobby lobby and I paper-mache'd it to make the eyes and mouth pop out. I'm going to prime it later and then paint it.
Reply
:iconglittered-silence:
glittered-silence Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2010
Wow this is gorgeous. Im making one as well hopefully starting wednesday, though instead of using clay im using plaster, so hopefully min will be lighter and a lil less work.
Reply
:iconnippyfrog:
nippyfrog Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2012
How did this come out? Plaster is a good idea.
Reply
:iconlareine22:
LaReine22 Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2010  Student Photographer
OMG DO WANT.
Reply
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