Labyrinth Blind Beggar

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MouseMeat

New Member
I wasn't sure to put this in costumes or props, because it's a bit of both.

I'm going to dive into the deep end of crafting and make a version of the Blind Beggar disguise from Labyrinth. These are some of the refrences I have; it is a costume that lasts for 20 seconds and is never seen well lit. I also don't think it's been made that often, so resources are scarce. I'm also making this as cheaply as possible (like I always do).

I've ordered a Bauta mask blank for a base, along with some sculpting mesh and paperclay to sculpt the details out of while keeping this as lightweight as possible. I've found the fabric I want to use for the cape. I think the hardest part of this build is going to be the puppet body, because I have no clue what I am doing. Any advice in that department is highly appreciated.

I'm also going to be making this fun by wearing Sarah underneath it instead of Jareth. It's inspired by one of my favorite pieces of fanart, honestly, and I'm hoping it will just be a fun twist. The original piece by Lily-Fox is here. For the sake of keeping this entire project contained, I'll also include the basic builds for Sarah's shirt and vest here.
 

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juanmanuelp

New Member
I wasn't sure to put this in costumes or props, because it's a bit of both.

I'm going to dive into the deep end of crafting and make a version of the Blind Beggar disguise from Labyrinth. These are some of the refrences I have; it is a costume that lasts for 20 seconds and is never seen well lit. I also don't think it's been made that often, so resources are scarce. I'm also making this as cheaply as possible (like I always do).

I've ordered a Bauta mask blank for a base, along with some sculpting mesh and paperclay to sculpt the details out of while keeping this as lightweight as possible. I've found the fabric I want to use for the cape. I think the hardest part of this build is going to be the puppet body, because I have no clue what I am doing. Any advice in that department is highly appreciated.

I'm also going to be making this fun by wearing Sarah underneath it instead of Jareth. It's inspired by one of my favorite pieces of fanart, honestly, and I'm hoping it will just be a fun twist. The original piece by Lily-Fox is here. For the sake of keeping this entire project contained, I'll also include the basic builds for Sarah's shirt and vest here.
Perhaps you can take some inspiration from this book :
 

MouseMeat

New Member
I'm so happy to see other people interested in this! I've only ever managed to find a couple other people floating on the internet that have done it.

I'm impatient in waiting for the materials for my mask to get here, so I decided to start work on what I have, which is stuff for the hat.
My base is just a basic felt tricorn you can get at any costume shop (we tend to have one or two laying around at any given time).
20200726_121414.jpg

I then cut the brim down and started patterning with some spare watercolor paper (pretty peak stiffness there). I started out generous (ha ha ha) with a 10" brim. I wanted to have plenty of room to have to cut down, not add on (if I could help it), which worked. It was a right monstrosity to start (even after trimming off a couple inches) that I couldn't even fit through a doorway with :oops:
20200726_130454.jpg

After another three or so hours of constantly trimming, pinning the front up, trying on, then cutting down again, I finally have a size that is big, but proportional to me and the character. David Bowie had some fairly narrow shoulders, but the pauldron on his jacket adds bulk under the cloak. The sides of the hat are about even with the width of his shoulders, so that was roughly what I was aiming for. I will not be wearing Jareth underneath this, so I'm not taking extra bulk into account. I will, instead, be wearing Sarah. Knowing a shirt and vest really isn't going to pad me out much is helpful.
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Right now, it's just some very thin felt (I sacrificed an old costume piece for this) because the paper pattern was too heavy to get to hold the shape correctly. I pinned some spare jewelry wire into the edge of the brim so I could shape it a little more accurately, which also affects the width. This is still a really big hat; I love it and hope Barbosa would be jealous. I have suede swatches on the way to pick a color, which I plan on reinforcing with some good and stiff interfacing. I will also wire the brim under the bias tape trim so that I can keep it nice and crinkly. Currently shopping for a little skull, and I might even have a spare ostrich feather laying around. At this rate, the hat will be the first thing finished (which is fine, because it will be the easiest part!).
 
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I should have known you would have a thread on the forums! I'm looking forward to seeing your updates.

I wanted to make sure you saw this: I had a vague memory of someone posting a photo of the blind beggar's mask in one of the Labyrinth facebook groups I'm in so I did a search and found the below image (Plus a better quality reference photo of the beggar costume):

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Also something that's a bit fun... the costume made an appearance in the recent prequel comic book series: Labyrinth Coronation. It's a bit silly to see Jareth mulling about with the little puppet body strapped to his chest.

labyrinthcoronation.png
 

MouseMeat

New Member
I should have known you would have a thread on the forums! I'm looking forward to seeing your updates.

I wanted to make sure you saw this: I had a vague memory of someone posting a photo of the blind beggar's mask in one of the Labyrinth facebook groups I'm in so I did a search and found the below image (Plus a better quality reference photo of the beggar costume):

View attachment 1330338 View attachment 1330339

I LOVE YOU SO MUCH! Having a 3/4 profile of the painting copy is PERF. I'm increasingly happy with the mask blank I bought to sculpt on because it has defined ocular ridges, which this character clearly has pronounced. I've also NOT been able to find just this lightened image from the tunnel scene by itself. The best quality I could muster was a screenshot from a YT video when it's not even actually in the video, so I have giant red YT PLAY logo over it :confused:

Also something that's a bit fun... the costume made an appearance in the recent prequel comic book series: Labyrinth Coronation. It's a bit silly to see Jareth mulling about with the little puppet body strapped to his chest.

View attachment 1330525

I'M ALSO SO MAD AT MYSELF. I love the "Coronation" prequel (it's canon, dammit, and I wuv it; the art makes me so happy) and am so disappointed I forgot this whole scene was even in it. Ugh. Bless you.

Also, I start sculpting this weekend, so we'll see how it all goes!
 

MouseMeat

New Member
I ordered a whole bunch of fabrics for the other pieces of this project, and in the meantime started sculpting on my mask.
The base is a (fairly substantial) bauta mask with sculpture mesh affixed with plaster cloth for the beak shape:
IMG_20200801_215230_172.jpg

I'm using an air-dry clay for most of the detail work and largely have all the details blocked out:
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I'm definitely referencing the original sculpt, but largely winging it with all the wrinkle placement. Because I don't have the eyes like the full sculpture, I'm having to change a lot of how the folds lay around the ridges, so I'm just trying to make sure the prominent shapes are there.
While I let this dry, I'll be using foam clay to try and sculpt out the nostrils and the big domed end of the beak. I decided to go this route for the sake of weight. The base mask is already heavier than I thought it would be (it's a really good quality, solid plastic mask and not like a craft mask that I thought I was buying) and all this clay on it has already started to weigh it down. I really wanted to put as little weight on the mesh of the beak as possible to prevent warping, and the foam clay is going to dry comparatively weightless.

I hardly ever sculpt (despite enjoying it; it's just not a skill set I ever developed), and I've certainly never done anything close to this. I'm pretty happy with how it's looking right now, though, which is shocking to me. I really want to be proud of this finished product.
 
That's coming along really well! If weight becomes too much of a problem maybe you can use the sculpt to make a mold? I haven't tried it myself but I've seen videos of people using worbla as a casting medium of sorts. You put vaseline on the original sculpt to prevent it from sticking to the worbla, then lay heated worbla overtop and work it into all of the creases.

And you're welcome for the additional photos! I enjoyed the prequel comic as well, I think the serial format works really well with the world of the Labyrinth (It makes me wish that the movie sequel was going to be a Netflix series instead!).
 

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MouseMeat

New Member
That's coming along really well! If weight becomes too much of a problem maybe you can use the sculpt to make a mold? I haven't tried it myself but I've seen videos of people using worbla as a casting medium of sorts. You put vaseline on the original sculpt to prevent it from sticking to the worbla, then lay heated worbla overtop and work it into all of the creases.

Overall, I'm not as worried about the weight as I was. This stuff dries pretty light. A lot of the weight honestly comes from the base mask still be so substantial. Though, I've decided I'm going the film route and I'll be attaching the mask directly to the inside of the hat. So that will keep it from sliding anywhere since it can only sag as far as gravity will let it on my head. That and I plan on making the blindfold ties reinforced, so I don't think this thing will go anywhere I don't want it to.
 

MouseMeat

New Member
Tangential update, here. I'm still working on the sculpting for the mask (will likely post some more progress on that over the weekend), but since I'm also making Sarah to go along with this, I decided to make her brooch.

There are, quite literally, no detail photos of this thing. It's likely more oblong than round, but I really liked the look of a round one. I ended up with two styles because I accidentally bought the wrong settings (the one on the right) but didn't realize this until after I got it made o_O So I turned around and just bought more stones and the right settings, meaning I have the supplies to make 6 of these guys, while keeping one for myself. I added the rhinestones (of which we have many laying around) to the simpler setting to make it a little gaudier. All I'm waiting on is the spacer beads I ordered to go on the end of the short chain length.
117712433_3130642860347167_1870221977925884939_o.jpg

If anyone is interested in these brooches, I am selling the extras, since I'll only need the one.
 

MouseMeat

New Member
Mask updates!

So, I was having issues actually sculpting the nose detail from the foam clay. It's not near as malleable as actual clay and I couldn't even really get the shape down confidently. So I sculpted just a thin nose piece with the nostrils and then built a spacer platform out of the foam clay to give the tip of the beak the thickness it needed. I let the foam dry overnight to the nose piece, then glued it down to the actual beak. This actually kept it really light on the end, since there's a sizeable amount of weightless foam clay padding everything out. Then I just sealed everything with a thin layer of the clay and let it dry.
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Today, I sat down and got the rest of the details and folds in. I'm pretty happy with this level of detail, honestly. At this point, this is the final stage of the sculpt for me. I plan on sanding things a little once everything is dry, and then it'll be on to figuring out the painting, which I'm honestly terrified of mucking up...
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Good luck with the painting! Painting something to look fleshy will be a challenge for sure, but I think the shape of the mask itself (Along with the rest of the costume) will be so iconic that you'll be instantly recognizable even if the painting isn't all you hope it'd be.

I'm also excited to see the final brooch! It's funny how she wears the dang thing in every scene she's in and yet there's no good photographs of it eh? Same with Jareth's amulet, you'd think we'd get at least one shot of it somewhere in the entire film and yet it's appearance is still such a mystery.
 

MouseMeat

New Member
I'm also excited to see the final brooch! It's funny how she wears the dang thing in every scene she's in and yet there's no good photographs of it eh? Same with Jareth's amulet, you'd think we'd get at least one shot of it somewhere in the entire film and yet it's appearance is still such a mystery.

I do at least have a ton of references for his amulet. That shape was everywhere in the film, even if it was made out of different materials. I have a photo a found on here that someone posted that is an OG prop that Toby got to keep (and wears). I also have photos from someone else here who made one out of cast pewter. And the buckle on his brown leather jacket (with the pauldron and collar) is actually two of those, which I found a great, fairly high res photo of. That's actually going to be my next sculpting project for this, and then I get to figure out how I'm making this puppet body.

Her brooch is a damn mystery. It's on the mannequin on display, but I've never gotten to go to that Henson exhibit (I think it's up in WA) so it's not like I could take my own photos. If museums were open, I have a couple friends I could ask to go for me, but alas.
 

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Ooh awesome! I hope you post your reference photos when you get to that part of the project! So far the best quality close-up I've seen has come from EPBOT's flickr, though it's not of Jareth's amulet but of a stand that was apparently given out by Jim Henson for key members of the crew. I've wondered how accurate it was to the one from the movie (I think I've seen the photo you mentioned that Toby has, and if my memory serves it's a bit different from the stand?).

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Random note: But in one of the Facebook groups I'm in someone posted their photos from the Labyrinth travelling exhibit, apparently one of them (Somewhere in New Mexico) they had an amulet on display! According to the plaque it's on loan from Michael McCormick, who was a puppeteer who worked on the film. The user didn't post/take any close-ups sadly (If it were me taking the photo you can bet I'd have the camera lens pressed as closely to the glass as possible!).

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MouseMeat

New Member
Ooh awesome! I hope you post your reference photos when you get to that part of the project! So far the best quality close-up I've seen has come from EPBOT's flickr, though it's not of Jareth's amulet but of a stand that was apparently given out by Jim Henson for key members of the crew. I've wondered how accurate it was to the one from the movie (I think I've seen the photo you mentioned that Toby has, and if my memory serves it's a bit different from the stand?).

I will, indeed! I'm hoping to start on it before too long, since I have a feeling I'll be putting off trying to figure out the puppet for as long as possible :cautious:

Nothing? NOTHING? Tra La La?!

sorry, I had to. ;)

Great work so far. My all time favorite movie ever since it first came out.

Thank you! When I was a little kid, I was scared of the goblins. I grew older, though, and just always loved it. The songs were always my favorite and my mom would always randomly yell "You remind me of the babe!" and we'd go through the whole song :) The movie means a lot to me, but I've never had a huge desire to make any of the costumes before.

Looking amazing! Any future cons planned for it? Well, one the world stops being nuts that is.

Yes! Well, I'd love to wear it to a con, but the one even I'm aiming to have this done in time for (which is a very large window of time, clocking in at a full year from now) the Labyrinth Masquerade 2021 here in L.A.
 

Trooper_trent

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Thank you! When I was a little kid, I was scared of the goblins. I grew older, though, and just always loved it. The songs were always my favorite and my mom would always randomly yell "You remind me of the babe!" and we'd go through the whole song :) The movie means a lot to me, but I've never had a huge desire to make any of the costumes before.

Same! That first scene when they take toby is still pretty creepy. I remember the Dance Magic song was stuck in my head for WEEKS. The Fireys also kind of creeped me out when they started trying to take Sarah's head off lol.
Sarah was also my very first little boy crush. I was SOOOOO in love LOL.
 

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