Monday, July 20, 2009

The Poison Ivy Leaf Eyebrow Masks (A Tutorial)

I've received hundreds of emails with questions regarding this particular costume accessory. Can it be bought? As far as I know there was not a stand alone replica of this mask for retail purchase. Trust me, I've looked. The only thing released was a sequined eye mask made to resemble Poison Ivy's eyebrow prosthetics. That unfortunate creation came packaged with the officially licensed Poison Ivy costume from Batman and Robin. That would simply never do for costume enthusiasts, so most people made their own. This tutorial is very much a do-it-yourself project and it will cost you practically nothing.

I've created a template that can be printed out at home; it's no larger than a standard 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper. It's available in three different formats:

Low Resolution 72 dpi (jpeg)
High Resolution 200 dpi (jpeg)
Adobe .PDF

These are all available for download. Just right click and save or print out through the browser interface.

Supply ListThis is a list of some basic materials needed for this particular project. You may or may not end up using a few of these items. I also suggest a spray bottle (mister) for keeping your paints wet and some toothpicks for aid in precision gluing. FYI the foam sheets are available in various shades of green. The palette of colors depends on the brand you choose. I chose the basic green by "Funky Foam". It's somewhere in between the Kelly Green and the Lime Green. These foam sheets can be found at craft stores like Micheal's or Hobby Lobby.

Step 11. Begin by printing out the template (preferably on a heavier weight paper or tag board). After cutting the shapes from the paper you should have four pieces total. If you are doing both halves at the same time then you would have eight pieces. Place the cut pieces on top of the foam and trace around them. Once the tracing is done place the paper pieces aside. These can be reused if necessary. Before cutting, make sure the scissors are decent quality and sharp. Trust me it makes things easier. Start cutting and take your time.

Step 22. By now you should have your foam pieces cut out and ready to assemble. However, before the gluing process I do an additional step. If you look at the foam mask pieces you'll notice they have a slight "cookie cutter punch" appearance around the edges. (See pic) To get rid of this I take my scissors and carefully trim away the sharp edge. You're basically creating a more organic bevel effect. But only on one side; the edge that faces forward. Be mindful of this because you want the back of the mask to be flat. Same goes for the detail leaf pieces. Consider practicing on scraps before moving on to the mask. The edges don't have to be perfectly beveled and smooth. Leaves on the official mask have a curled and wrinkled appearance. I finish off the foam preparation step by running an Emory board (nail file) over the bevel.

Step 33. The gluing process can be a bit tricky. A lot of that depends on how you want to adhere these pieces together. I prefer to use high temperature hot glue because the bond is quite strong. Place and glue the leaves based on the diagram. When doing this just be mindful of where the glue is applied. Keep it mostly centered on each piece and do not glue past where the leaves extend beyond the base. Otherwise there will be globs of glue showing on the back side of the decorative leaves. Once cooled, slightly bow and flex the mask. This is to see if any of the edges stand up or out. If so, just take a toothpick and dip it into some hot glue, then slide it under the loose edges. Also, you will get a better bond if you press the pieces together while they are cooling. Consider using the scraps for practice purposes before this step. For the less adventurous or skillful a glue like Arleen's may suffice.

Step 44. The painting step is what really makes this mask pop. I don't have any brilliant suggestions for novices. But I figure, if you can paint your nails, you can't paint craft foam. Acrylic paint is best. I usually squirt a small amount onto a plate (why bother with a palette). I also keep water on hand to dilute the paint as needed (aim for a consistency just above water colors). I usually start with the darker green paint and begin to shadow the valleys of the mask in layers. Often times no highlighting is necessary. The last thing I do is add the veins. The painting process is open to interpretation. Add more paint (or less) or none at all. Acrylic paint dries fast and shouldn't crack. I've kept my completed example fairly matte. But if you want more of a pearlescent sheen there are pearl and metallic acrylic paints available. If you feel the need, add some jewels or glitter for extra sparkle.

Step 55. The mask(s) are ready to wear. There's a couple of different ways to adhere these to the face. Eyelash glue is a lightweight option but not the most secure. Prosthetic adhesive may work. But I have always suggested the use of spirit gum. It's inexpensive and long lasting. But before we get into the spirit gum adhesion -- let's talk eyebrows. You likely have them (and want to keep them) so they need to be covered up. Why? Because any adhesive you apply to the brow area will stick and pull out hair if the area is not prepped/blocked out. I've used Kryolan's Eyebrow Plastic. It's applied like heavy duty chap stick over the eyebrows then smoothed with a finger. Once this is done you apply the spirit gum to the back of the mask (avoid the ends of the leaves). Let it dry for about 45 seconds and then tap it with your finger to make it super tacky. Place the mask in the correct position and hold in place. The holding may take a while to get a sure bond but once dry they will remain.

Some things to keep in mind: Play with the positioning of the masks before gluing to the skin. This will aid in knowing where to apply the adhesive on the back of the mask. These do travel up near and sometimes into the hairline. You don't want to end up with spirit gum in your hair or wig unnecessarily.

If at all possible put your makeup on after these are applied. Too much foundation or powder (etc) will inhibit the bond if done beforehand.

To remove the masks, use spirit gum remover. Chances are that you can buy this at the very place you bought the spirit gum. Use a Q-tip and work the liquid behind the mask. The gum will dissolve and you can reuse the mask if wanted. Rubbing alcohol will do. Or you can just rip it off like a band aid and perhaps suffer the consequences.

And finally...if you are wearing these out and plan on drinking an "adult" beverage -- do remember that alcohol will break down the spirit gum bond faster (through perspiration). You may end up with an eyebrow mask in your fancy drink if not careful.

Addendum: I've begun to find masks (online) that were created by using this tutorial. Great! I'm more than happy to feature any person interested in sharing their efforts. Be proud, be green!


Jamie said...

can you reuse this then? :]

Deadly Garden said...

If you're asking if the masks can be reused - the answer is yes. The foam is quite durable. If spirit gum is used for adhesion I would recommend buying the remover as well to clean up the back of the mask. I will say that most glues can be scratched and scraped off too once it totally dries. Realistically these mask can be reused at least 5-10 times (if removed carefully) before they show signs wear and tear.

Now if you're asking me if this tutorial can be reused elsewhere - sure why not. Just give me credit - I would appreciate the traffic. The more Ivy fans the better.

If you have anymore questions just ask! Enjoy!

day tripper said...

you are awesome! thank you so much for sharing this.

OSPeachy said...

Do you think the spirit gum from a Halloween store here would be good enough quality to hold this? Or would it be better to order the brand you said you like? Price isn't an issue, just curious about your opinion on the quality.

This is a great tutorial! I am sooo excited to make them :-)

day tripper said...

Thanks again :)

Anonymous said...

I used two different shades of green foam to make mine stand out and than outlined everything in black and used thin black marker to draw the leaf lines. So I didn't have to paint anything. I also bought the Halloween store spirit gum - I haven't used it before so have no idea how it works I am putting mine ABOVE my eyebrows! lol! Hope they stay on! :)

Anonymous said...

You are my savior. I'm using this for comic com next July. I like her first outfit from the movie the best. Thank you so much.

Anonymous said...

I can't find spirit gum anywhere in Australia...Help!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your tutorial. I am going to start on my costume this week, I have Wonder Woman and Bat Girl to work on as well for my daughters. I can't wait to see the final results!!

Anonymous said...

Any good costume shop like camelot costumes in Brisbane 32297868

Anonymous said...

This is awesome!!!! Thanks from Puerto Rico :)

Cerisa "Bronze Goddess" said...

Thank you for this! Amazing!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing so freely...will complete my costume!

Anonymous said...

please reupp!! thank you so much!

emza tayler said...

the templates links dont work, can you reload them?

Anonymous said...

templates dont work please reload them

Anonymous said...

Where are the photos and templates? :( it just takes me to a different website

Anonymous said...

Please can you reload the templates, the links have expired by the looks of it and it just takes you to a site called 'life of the party' Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Yes looks like link has expired I too tried to download
thanks :)

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