As a diehard Bioshock fan (no really, I have a Big Daddy and Little Sister inked on my entire right forearm), I decided to create a simple and last minute Halloween costume for my boyfriend and I as Spider Splicers. And being a certified crazy cat lady, I naturally chose the kitty Splicer mask to make since I already have a collectible bunny mask from a Bioshock toy I bought ages ago. This is a super simple and relatively inexpensive project; the worst part is waiting in between coats of paint to dry since that can eat up a ton of time, so if you are juggling projects, just throw on a coat of paint and work on something else while it dries to save you some time. The best part is after using the mask, it looks fantastic hanging on my wall along with my other various Bioshock displays.
What you'll need:
Blank Kitty Mask - $11.95 on Amazon, or you can pretty much get these at any Halloween shop or craft store
White primer paint
Gold spray paint
Flat black spray paint (not pictured)**
Gold 3D paint (don't fret on the color here as much, you'll be painting over it anyway)
Black acrylic paint
Metalic gold acrylic paint
White acrylic paint
Brown acrylic paint (not pictured)
A sharp Xacto knife scissors
Various sized paint brushes - $5 on Amazon for a variety pack
A medium-duty scrub dish sponge
Newspaper/towel to catch overspray
It's also always important to protect yourself while using spray paint with some form of gloves and breathing mask. Always remember paint in a well ventilated area as well!
Step 1: Prime Your Mask
Even though your mask is likely already a blank white, you're going to want to prime it with some white primer paint.
- Make sure you follow the directions on your can of primer on how to paint, and cover all areas of the mask. If you don't, then the mask won't have a consistent texture and paint will be less likely to stick to it.
- Spray it with a couple coats and let each coat dry in between.
Be mindful not to spray too close, or else you will have puddles form and your primer will drip, which will not have the right texture that you are looking for on your mask.
Step 2: Cut & Crack Your Mask
These masks have been around in an underwater city worn by addicts who have lost control of themselves and are trying to kill you, so you're bound to see a few cracks and chips in them. This is where you can be creative and go wherever your scissors/knife take you.
- Using a sharp Xacto knife and/or scissors, cut out chunks of the outside of the masks, around the ears, around the eyes, anywhere you want, to give it more of a broken look.
Make sure you are EXTRA careful here when cutting, as these masks are thick and take some extra umph to cut. Also be mindful of where the mask sits on your face so you can avoid cutting sharp and pointed edges on pieces that may cut your skin.
Step 3: Hand Paint Some Detail With Dark Gray Acrylic Paint
This part was a total experiment on my part. I wanted to give the white paint different levels of wear by giving it a darker value to paint over the top of, so I figured I'd paint some dark gray cracks onto the mask. Be wary of how much paint is on your brush though; too much paint will pool up or give it a texture that you might not want, i.e. paint would be raised up a bit high and could contrast poorly with your detailing later. Plus, an almost-dry paint brush actually gives the right randomized texture for cracks.
There are several different methods to do this, but what I did was:
- Mix some white and black acrylic paint together to make a medium gray color
- Dip your small, pointy paint brush in a mild amount of paint, then pat the brush dry so only a little bit of paint remains
- Gently paint some cracks from the cuts you made in the mask, making it as randomized as possible to emphasize some wear and tear
- Paint some small speckles on the mask to give different levels of paint chips
- Don't make anything too thick or else it'll look fake!
Once your layers of paint are 100% dry:
- Spray on one last very light coat of primer to take away some of the boldness of the black.
Step 4: Weather Your Paint Job
- Spray a very thin, light, and uneven coat of metallic gold spray paint over the top of everything.**
Why, uneven, you ask? These masks are supposed to be old, tired, and worn by the wicked who are severely addicted to ADAM, so you will want some inconsistency in them. The uneven coats will provide a more erratic look to give it the feel of it being old. We'll even it out later during the detailing phase.
**Image above is waaaay shinier than the mask actually is, and it doesn't show how uneven the spray job is
- When the paint is dry enough to be tacky, take your dry sponge and dab it in various areas to pull some of the gold paint out.
Rubbing the paint around will not only show faux wear and tear, but it will also fill the "cracks" you previously painted. Make sure you do this when the paint has dried just a little but not too much, otherwise you'll either smudge the paint in an unflattering manner, or you'll do nothing at all with dry paint.***
***My paint was super quick drying so I accidentally waited too long and ended up rubbing a lot of the paint off with the sponge. This actually worked out well for me, as it gave more of a "scratched up" feel.
- When dry, take your sponge and spray a light amount of white paint onto it and dab it. Once dabbed, rub as much as you can to smear it up. It dries really fast, so be quick!
This process will weather the mask and give it more of an older feel to it.
- Wait about an hour for everything to dry, then re-paint some gray cracks onto your mask with acrylic paint.
Step 5: Sponge on a Layer of White Acrylic Paint Evenly
- Pour a bit of white acrylic paint into a container and add a small amount of warm water to make it much easier to paint on
- Using the soft side of your dish sponge, dab some white paint across entire mask
- Since the paint is runny, put on several layers and rub across the mask until it's mostly white, the painted cracks are light but visible, and there is some gold still visible in areas
Make sure you are not using too much paint when you're dabbing! This will cause it to plop on there and cause a mess rather than give it the spongey feel, which will not give you the desired result.
- Allow the mask to sit for at least an hour to dry.
- Once dry, grab the rough side of your dish sponge and softly rub on certain areas to "wear out" the paint a bit more.
Step 6: Add the Design of the Mask
- Take your gold gel or 3D paint and draw on the design of your choice.
- If you mess up, this paint is easily wiped off and reapplied while it is still wet.
Prior to painting if you prefer, you can lightly draw on the designs that you are looking for. Just be very wary of when you are drawing on your designs, as there is a possibility you will not cover the lines you drew on fully with the paint and you might be left with the stencil still showing.
If your gel paint isn't as gold as you'd like it to be:
- Once your paint is dried, grab your metallic gold acrylic paint and very carefully re-paint over your gold.
- Put on a couple coats, allowing each one to fully dry before applying the next.
- Once all paint has dried fully, hold the gold paint container about a foot away from your mask and spray a very light coat of gold over top.
Step 7: Add Some Gold and Black Dust to Mask
Now we should add some shimmer and shine to the mask!
- Very lightly spray a light coat of gold spray paint on your mask, holding the can at least 9-12" from the mask and spraying in small bursts. You don't want a lot of paint on here at all, just a very light shimmer of gold.
- OPTIONAL: Repeat above with a flat black paint, holding the can about 12" from your mask.
This is a really subtle difference, but it makes it look less perfect.
Step 8: Paint Your Shadows and Contour On
Now we add the contours and shadows by applying a very light coat of watered down black acrylic paint to the cracks and crevices of the mask, then cover it with a light brown acrylic paint.
- Mix warm water and black acrylic paint together in a small container
- Dab your black paint to get a very light coat of black
- Dab it in areas like the cracks, inside of the ears and eyes, the outer portion of the mask, and on the outside of the gold gel paint trim to make it darker and worn out.
With this part, I ended up painting over the gold trim and wiped it off. This antiqued the gold a bit more and made it look less shiny - win win!
- Take off the extra with a qtip so there's a faint line
- Once the black is dry, dab some light brown and use a qtip or your finger to spread it out a bit more to give it depth and shadows.
- Paint the outside and the cracks of the mask with the watered down black. Let it sit for a minute and dab it off with a qtip.
Step 9: Add Blood Splatter
A splicer mask is not complete without a splatter of some fake blood of the poor saps who get in the way of our next fix of ADAM!
- Stand the mask up vertically by placing a glass or something tall behind it and lean it up against it
- Pour some fake blood into a small container and slap on some latex gloves
- Dip your fingers into the container and flick the fake blood in various patterns with various amounts of blood
- Smudge some of your blood as if someone was grabbing the mask
- Drip a good amount of fake blood from above and let it drip down the mask
- Let the mask dry naturally or, if you are impatient, take a hair dryer and set it it on low then blow dry it from afar to speed it up.
And there you have it! Your very own kitty splicer mask. This was my first time making a mask so there's a lot if experimentation in this tutorial. If you make this, show me yours in your comments!