Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Arrival of Pauldrons

Valkyrie inspired pauldron
Today's post is about some of our newest additions to the Squirrel Creek catalog: pauldrons! Pauldrons are shoulder armor in a variety of shapes and sizes. The two featured here are highly influenced by fantasy elements. The first one is based on Valkyries (with the wings), and Chinese scroll work with the swirling patterns carved into the leather.
The second is based on dragon scales with contrasting blue markings to really make the design pop!
Close-up of the lower strap
Each pauldron is fitted for both left and right shoulders, with the main strap crossing under the opposite arm. A smaller strap is on the bottom-most panel on each pauldron that doesn't have to be tightened, but helps keep the panels from flopping around too much.

 These are just the first two items in a new series of fantasy armor from Squirrel Creek! Other items on the dream list include: helmets, greaves, breastplates, swords, shields and who knows what else might pop up! They can be used for theater productions, cosplaying, Halloween costumes, LARP armor, and more! As always, we take commissions, so if there's a certain piece you have in mind, feel free to contact us over on Etsy anytime, and one of our crafters will be in touch with you asap!
Have a squirrelarific day!
"Dragon Scale" Side-view
Swirling side-panels
Fight in comfort and style!
"Dragon Scale" Pauldron

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Spirit Gum Mask Guide

Ever wonder how cosplayers get their mask to just sit on their face, with no strings or ribbon? They're probably using spirit gum! It creates a skin safe bond that keeps your mask in place and secure, even for a long day in costume. Ready to learn more about how to use spirit gum with your mask? Read on!

Hello everyone, I'm here today with Darkreilia Cosplay to talk about how to wear your mask with spirit gum! She's purchased a few of my masks in the past, and has even formed her own mask to wear with spirit gum. I designed and cut the blank for her from leather, and she followed my simple instructions on how to get a perfect fit.

Let's get started with some basic questions!

1.    How well does it stay on?

"A mask with spirit gum can stay on for several hours. For example,
I just recently went to a convention where I was wearing my mask from 10am to6pm. The funny thing was that we thought it wouldn't be staying on for longthat day because we were running out of spirit gum. But, to our surprise itlasted quite a long time, with minimal spirit gum placed on it."

2. How long can you wear it?

"As stated above, it can stay on for as long as you are comfortable
with it. If you want to wear it for only a few hours though it gets tricky. The
shortest amount of time I would suggest would be around 4 hours. If the spirit
gum does not start wearing off as it would if you wore it longer, it hurts a bit to get off."

3.   Can you do cosplay makeup with the mask?

"I always, always wear makeup when I am in cosplay. I apply my lotion, foundation, concealer, finishing powder, and eye shadow before I apply the mask. Given that the mask doesn't cover my eyes, it still applies very easily with makeup on. Once you apply the spirit gum to the mask though, you have to wait for it to become tacky, then hold it to your face for around 7-10

4.   Makeup before or after mask is on?

"I would say to do the makeup before you put your mask on because one, the mask limits your field of vision, and two, you don’t want to get makeup all over your mask."
5.   Removal

"The removal process is always the best part (sarcasm intended).Its not always the best feeling peeling something from your face but it has to be done. After you have worn the mask for 4+ hours (the longer the better), begin by making strange and outrageous faces. The more you move your face and muscles, the looser the mask becomes. 

DO NOT peel it straight from your face! If you do, this can cause you to rip off several layers of skin and that hurts a lot. Just keep wiggling your face around until you can slowly wedge it a bit with your fingers. Then, using spirit gum remover or rubbing alchohol, wipe off
any excess spirit gum from your face. Once you have fully cleaned your face it
is very important to apply facial lotion or aloe gel to your face to help reduce the redness from where you were just wiping and put moisture back into your skin."

6.   Cleaning - any residue on mask?

"There will be some dry spirit gum on the mask but it will not be an issue. If you feel you need to remove it use a tiny dab of spirit gum remover and wipe the back of the mask only. Do not use rubbing alcohol because it will start eating away at the mask."

7.   Is it comfortable? Can people with sensitive skin use Spirit Gum?

"At first it will feel awkward with something foreign stuck to your face, but you do get use to it right away. I have sensitive skin and I can wear the mask all day long. I just make sure I apply a good amount of lotion to my
face after the mask and the spirit gum is off."


8.   Any other advice?

"The best advice I can offer is to form the mask to your face for a better fit. If you are spirit gumming something to your face that doesn't quite fit right, it will be uncomfortable and you will have to leave it on for several hours. Also, DO NOT RIP IT OFF!!! I cannot stress this enough. Wait until you really want to change out of your costume before taking the mask off."

Sounds like some great tips! Make sure to stop by www.facebook.com/darkreiliacosplay to see her wonderful cosplay photos and give her a like!

Thanks for reading about wearing your mask with spirit gum. As always, be safe when trying a new product on your skin! Test for an allergic reaction, and follow instructions that come with your spirit gum or liquid latex.

If you would like to order a mask blank to form to your face, check out the listing in the Lucy Loves Leather etsy shop : https://www.etsy.com/listing/224737668/cosplay-mask-diy-leather-mask-superhero?ref=shop_home_feat_1

Be sure to check back in 2 weeks for a tutorial video on how to form a mask to fit your face!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Glasses Modification Tutorial - Wear glasses with your mask!

Do you wear glasses?
Do you like masks?
Do you like to see with your mask on?

Then you're in the right place!

Hi everyone, this is Kym and I have a quick tutorial for you today on how to modify a mask to be worn with glasses. This works on many leather masks that we make, and we offer it for free when we're at shows. Since each mask, glasses, and face combo is unique, it's hard for us to do without you and your glasses!

If you have some simple supplies and about 30 minutes, you can do it yourself at home!

A few things before we start:

1. If you're not a responsible adult, find one before using sharp things!
2. Know where your blade is going when it slips. "But I won't slip, Kym! I'm steady as a rock!" It will slip, trust me. I've got the scars. Watch where you're cutting.
3. Cut on a safe, well lit surface.
4. Use a sharp blade.
5. Plan before you cut.
6. For the love of squirrels, don't cut anything while it's near your face!

Okay? Okay!

First you'll need a few things, as shown in my picture. I'll cover optional supplies at the end of the post, and some caveats.

Find a safe cutting surface, like a self healing mat. You'll also need a permanent marker in a color similar to your mask. If you can't find one that's close, a black marker or paint will work. Get your glasses and mask ready too. I suggest removing the ribbon or cord so you don't accidentally cut it.

Once you have everything ready, it's time to start!
Place the glasses, with arms closed, on the nose of your mask.

Check out how they line up with the eyes and the nose. You want them to be at a similar place to how you would wear them normally. Keep in mind, they will be a bit further away from your eyes than normal, so things will look slightly different.

Now it's time to use your imagination! Pretend the arm of your glasses is there, and look for where it would touch your mask. Make a small box, just a bit bigger than the arm of your glasses.

If you want to use a color close to your mask, go ahead! I used the permanent marker for visibility. I've done enough of these mods that I normally don't make a mark anymore, but I really recommend it for your first few.

Carefully cut out the box. You might need to press your mask flat for this. Be gentle, and test it's flexibility first.

Now do the other side to match. Try to keep them aligned with each other and the eyes. Start smaller, and you can make the holes bigger later.

Put your glasses in the holes, then put the mask on your face. You'll use the ribbon last to secure it in place. Check the fit, and see if the glasses are in a comfortable spot. Adjust the holes if you need to, a little bit at a time. You can always trim away more!

Side view. See how they fit over the ears and sit on the nose? Perfect!

Now grab that marker, and touch up the inside of the cut. This step isn't nessecary, but looks nicer. Especially if your mask is a significantly different tone than the natural leather! You can use a bit of sealer or paint if you want too. If you bought your mask from Squirrel Creek, just message us for the color details of the paint on your mask.

That's about it!

See how easy that is?

A few notes before I turn you loose. Not all masks are suitable for this modification. Some are very rigid, depending on how hard set it is. Sometimes decorations are in the way, and it would be hard to cut around them.

On a happier note, many smaller masks don't need this process! The domino masks I make are small enough to fit under your glasses, as are some of the masquerade masks.

It's best to leave your mask intact if it's possible, but seeing is important. Can you imagine the zombie panic at a convention from too many people shambling around because they can't see?

Hope this is helpful! Please message me or leave a comment if you want some more help on this.


- Kym