Sunday, 18 March 2012

Lucha Libre! How to make your own Mexican Wrestling Mask [Photo Heavy!]


For those who don't know, Lucha Libre is Spanish for 'Free Wrestling' and is a popular Mexican past time. It's been around about the same amount of time as regular wrestling (the early 1900s) but the main difference is that  the wrestlers wear masks, hence the term Mexican Masked Wrestling.  They still wear the standard theatrical wrestling outfits (lots of Lycra and spandex) and there's even a Luchador in WWE, (World Wrestling Entertainment - previously WWF but not to be confused with the panda loving World Wildlife Fund) Sin Cara.

WWE's Sin Cara
"Why are you telling me this?" I hear you cry. Well, firstly it's interesting but more importantly, I recently went to a Mexican night, organised by my friends.  We ate enchiladas, nachos, fajitas and guacamole and drank Sol and an awful lot of Tequila (Disclaimer: Only drink Tequila while being supervised by a responsible adult, or lots of irresponsible university student). So my outfit, as you may well have guessed by now, was a Luchador! Why? Well I couldn't easily make a sombrero and the choice was between a Luchador or a taco...

How to make a Mexican Wresting Mask!

The main ingredients:
A large beanie hat (big enough to stretch over your face and prefereably a bright colour so as not to look gimp-y, unless that's the look you're going for...)
Some long socks in a contrasting colour (to use as binding)
Some sparkly and shiny fabric scraps to add details (stars, lightening bolts etc)

I bought my beanie and socks from the pound shop, thus my entire mask cost a grand total of £2! Hurrah!

Now, you're going to want to plan out your mask before you start. I took a photo of my own face then drew on it using photoshop but a print out and some coloured paper would do.

Now that I've shown you my plan I can get on with the tutorial...  Oh and just to warn you, the photos are slightly ridiculous!

1. Put your hat on and see how the top seam sits.  This is how the hat is meant to be worn but as you can see, it gives me a square head, so by moving it round, I can get a nice smooth head shape.

2. Get a friend to help you with this one (or do it yourself but it might be tricky).  Once you've got a smooth hat, use a marker pen to mark dots where the centre of your eyes, the end of your nose and you mouth are.

3.  Take the hat off and cut in a straight line up to the nose line.  This is how it ought to sit.  Then cut two small circles around where the eye dots are.  When you put the hat back on, you ought to be able to see well enough to draw on your eye shapes using a mirror.

4.  Cut the new eye shapes out and try on your hat to see how it looks.  Now is the time to even them up if needs be but remember, you cant sew it back on if you cut off too much so be conservative!  Also make a mark under your chin where you'd like the mask to end, I marked mine off on the jawline, and one at the back of your head, at the base of your skull.

 5.  Join up the chin and head lines with a smooth curve and mimic on the other side.

6.  Trim the base at the curve.  Because my hat has two layers of fabric, I pinned round all the cut-out bits so I could make sure that when I bound it, I would catch all the fabric together.  If your hat only has one layer though, this isn't necessary.

 7.  When I bought my hat I also bought some long socks with the intention of using them as binding for the raw edges.  Cut the socks into long strips along the edges, about an inch thick.

8.  This is the fiddly bit.  Take the strip and lay it along the underside of the raw edge of the hat so the edge of the hat lines up to the middle of the strip.  Pin the one layer from the black strip through to the pink and back out again, and as you do, fold the under edge of the strip so that it's raw edge is caught under the pin, hidden from view (like on the wonderfully sketchy diagram on the right - the pin is the green line).

9.  Do the same on the other side of the strip so that it covers both sides of the raw edge of the hat.  Pin and tack into place.

10.  Do the same all the way round all the raw edges on the hat. Around the nose hole, stretch the black sock binding so that it will fit tightly when you put it on.

11.  Pin and tack into place. Try the mask on and check it fits.  When I tried my hat on I realised it stuck out at the base of the head at the back, so I decided to put in a dart from the middle back of the head to the neck.  I ran the dart through the sewing machine when I sewed the binding on, but not yet! First pin and tack the binding round the eyes, then you can sew it all at the same time!

Then it's time for you to get creative! Now your mask is fully constructed you can glue gun on all the decorations you want.  For mine, I glue-gunned one end of the fabric on between the eyes and then stretched the fabric over the mask (while wearing it) and got a friend to glue the end in place.  I also glued on some little wings on the side of the eyes.  And this was the final result!

Although I did look a little daft compared to all the regular Mexicans, but we soon forgot about that!

...Moustaches optional...

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