Foam Mask and Dread Tutorial

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New Member
Here's a quick tutorial I was asked to make for making a foam predator mask like this one:

This is a very low cost method for making a decent mask.

What you need:
*1 inch thick upholstery foam sheeting (I got mine as off cuts from a matress makers for free but even if you have to pay for it it's not much)
*A hot glue gun
*A head form (like a manequin head or wig stand as long as it's about life size, you can use your own head but it's more difficult)
Decent scissors
Permanent markers
Brush or mouldmaking latex (optional)

Start by making the basic structure, one wide strip wrapped around the head (from top lip to mid forehead), crossed supports on the top of the head and a strip under the chin



Cut out a triangle around the nose for comfort and mark the eye position but don't cut them out yet

Next you want to mark out the dome of the head like so

Make it as big or small as you like, mine is around the 30X40cm mark which is a little small compared to the other masks out there I think??
Cut the dome out and glue it to the forehead of your basic mask structure, if you want to be sure of the shape and placement attach it with pins first and make any adjustments you need too before glueing it down.

Attach it fairly close the the eye holse you have marked as it will form part of the eyebrows.

Use a thin strip from the middle of the back of the dome to the base structure to determine the angle of the dome of the head and to hold it in place

To make the sided of the head hold a piece of foam along the side of the head (parallel to the bottom of the base structure) pin it in place if you need too and mark where the dome sits. Make sure the 'point' of the piece extends past the face because this will become the top mandibles


Mark one side and trace the other from it to make it symetrical

For the lower jaw cut a small rectangle of foam, fold it over one way then the other to make the jaw shape


Glue it in place to the back of the jaw is attached to the narrow edge of the jaw suppor of the basic mask structure

For the upper jaw/nose thing =/ cut a tapered rectangle and glue it over the nose with the cut edged glued to the flat of the basic structure

For the lower mandibles cut a rounded 'L' shape and glue it in place (sorry forgot to take a picture of this stage) and glue it in place

To shape the end of the mandibles put a stip of glue along both edges and down the centre like so

The squeeze the foam in your fist to make the rounded shape

At this stage you want to make sure the mandibles are symetrical and place them how you want holding them in place with glue and round off the edged by snipping little by little with the scissors.

You should be left with a basically hexagonal shape in the centre of the face over your mouth, use some paper and trace that shape and cut that shap out of a piece of foam. Draw the design of the inner mouth on the foam and cut the detail in with the scissors, take your time with this step and cut little by little to avoid having to start over, once your done glue it in place.

The membrane around the mandibles can be made by either glueing material (stretch preferably) in place of cutting 2 inch wide strips of foam, split the strips length ways so you have 2 half inch thick strips rather than 1 1inch strip (cutting the foam into 2 inch wide pieces prior to splitting makes it easier to split evenly) then glue the strips in place to form the membranes

Now go ahead and add details buy carving the foam and adding things like eyebrows, head ridges and the crown spikes however you would like and then cut out the eye holes (keep them as small as possible while still allowing adequate vision to give the desired effect)

Here's mine so far

After you are happy with the foam work coat the mask with the latex, brush latex is thicker than liquid latex and wont soak into the foam as much and be wasted. Make the first coat a light one to seal the foam then add as many layers as you like until you get the desired effect.
Alternatly you can cover the mask in felt and paint it, or even just paint the foam depending on your budget

I am still at the foam work stage of my mask I will add to the tutorial the more I get done.

HINT: When using hot glue on foam if the glue gets too hot it soaks into the foam and takes forever to bond it together so you are left holding it. To speed up the proccess don't let the glue gun get too hot, unplug it and plug it back in as you are working to keep it at the right temp, this also reduces the chance and severity of burns that may occur.

I forgot to take photo's of a few steps but tried to explain it as best I could, if you have any questions or need something explained better feel free to ask and I will do what I can =]
Enjoy and I hope this helps

Dread tutorial

What you need:
Old sheet/ or sheeting material (preferablr black but any colour will do)
Access to a sewing maching
Polly fill (ie teddy bear stuffing)
Some cardboard or paper (for the pattern)
Black spray paint (if not using black material)

Start by making your pattern. Make a sort of elongated triangle shape the length you want your dreads. The base of the triangle should be twice as wide as you want your dread to be i.e. if you want a 1 inch dread make the pattern 2inches wide. Now I said 'sort of triangle shape' because to get the right look you want the first 2/3 or so of your patter to be fairly straight with just the last 1/3 of the total length tapering to the point.
Once you have your pattern made trace out at many as you need onto your material, cut them out and sew up the edges, leaving the top open.
Stuff the dreads with the poly fill, make sure you stuff them enough so they hold their shape but not so much that they don't move.
Sew up the ends (either by machine or hand and paint if you didnt use black material) and attach to your mask.
And there you have cheap, good looking dreads that swish nicely

Again if you have any questions let me know =]

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New Member
Very Nice Job!!!!!! :D With It Being Foam, What Can You Use To Paint It With??
If you are just paint the foam plain old acrylics will do fine, same if you cover it in felt then paint it. If you latex over the foam use a mixture of acrlic paint and latex otherwise it will crack and peel, I use about 1:1 latex:paint but you can fiddle with the ratio

Thats it! I'm gonna work in Foam!
I love working with foam, quick easy and cheap.

I'm attempting to come up with a movine mandible system at the moment, moving jaws are easy and I have done it on other maske but the mandibles makes it a bit more complicated


New Member
Me Too! Easy to work with an cheaper!
I use latex and acrylic as well, it protects it and also makes it stronger when you add dreads!
Cheers :D


New Member
I'm looking forward to seeing what you guys come up with.
I'm adding another mini tutorial for dead cheap dreads in the first post

War Predator

New Member
Man ill tell ya this is the coolest head made out of foam i have ever seen.
this is how im gonna make my mask.

thanks alot for putting this tutorial on the Lair.

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New Member
Very good!
May I also add the head polystyrene looks exactly like the one I used to have, which is massively undersize.
If anyone is thinking of doing this try bulking the head out more to your headsize (yes i know foam stretches out) but I rather have a head that fits rather then forcing around my head lol

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New Member
brilliant, i was looking for a way to make cheap dreads this is awesome get the misses to fire up the sewing machine :p.

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