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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I've been the proud owner of a Don Post Full Moon mask for many years, and it has been stored in my closet for about 9 years now. I had kept it dry, stuffed with tissue to hold its form, wrapped in a plastic bag, inside of its cardboard box. Recently, I got a styrofoam head and I wanted to display my prized mask. To my horror, when I got the mask out of its bag, I saw that the latex has degraded significantly. Bits of the inside of the mask had fused together, the mask is covered in surface cracks, the latex is overly soft and stretchy, and bits of the tissue paper are stuck all over the inside of the mask. Is there anything I can do to restore it or am I just screwed?
 

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Well, after hours of trying to tape the cracks together, I've pretty much given up on this piece. The damage is just too extensive. I contacted a couple different professionals, but the cost of restoration is way outside of my price range. Oh well
 

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Well, after hours of trying to tape the cracks together, I've pretty much given up on this piece. The damage is just too extensive. I contacted a couple different professionals, but the cost of restoration is way outside of my price range. Oh well
If you've resigned yourself to the idea that repair is impossible, perhaps you might consider another approach that will decrease it's value as a collector's item, but give it another shot at life as the mask it was meant to be. Repaint it using the techniques that professional painters use on their masks. We have a number of props that go out into Oregon weather every year and that takes a toll on them. But as they begin to crack and show wear, we repaint them and extend their life as a prop. They will never be collector's items. We don't collect anything. If it can't be used to freak kids out or give parents a laugh, we don't buy it. But before they find their way to a dumpster, we make sure they have as long a life as we can give them.

Allen Hopps has a great tutorial on how to mix paint for latex masks. He tells you that his paint is mixed exactly the same way as the folks at Distortions Unlimited, so you know that you're working with a paint and techniques that are meant to hold up to the wear and tear they expect their masks to endure. Head on over to https://youtu.be/1QAqTJr73JM?t=371 and watch that video to get guidelines on how to make paint for masks. We sort of fudge a bit on the recipe because we couldn't find a small amount of the casting latex, so we opted to go with the thinner makeup latex. For us it works just fine because we leave out the water in the mix he gives. But again, our goal is to make a prop that can withstand the elements thrown at it outdoors.

If we're going to repaint any prop that has the kind of detailing that your mask has, we first take pictures of it. We want lots of reference pictures from the front, sides, top, and bottom. We then go in and give it a clear coat or two of the latex to help fill in the cracks and give the mask or prop a bit of "glue" to pull it all together. After that we repaint the prop with multiple coats of the appropriate colors. If you're careful, and you do a bit of color matching, you can bring your mask back to a place where it can be used not as a collector's items, but for what it was born to do.... creep out little kids.

It's not the perfect answer to preserving your mask, but we think it's better than tossing it out. It seems to us that it still has years of Halloween mayhem just waiting to be shared.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I appreciate the help, but the latex of the mask is so severely weakened and distorted that short of reinforcing the entire mask from the inside, there's not much that would help. If it was only cracks, then I could see that repainting and sealing would help. But the consistency of the latex below the surface is like silly putty. Just picking up the mask is enough to cause new tears and distortion.
 

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I didn't think it would ever be a mask again, but I thought it might become a nice head for a prop. There's another Allen Hopps video might give you an idea of how to go about it. https://youtu.be/7JJYFSCpj9s?t=376 is how he used a two part foam liquid that expands similar to what Great Stuff does. You have to cover the eye holes, and you have to work with the mask while it sets to help keep its shape, but I still think it's worth a try. I'm sure by the time it's set there will be even more cracks but as long as the mask has relatively the same shape it had originally, the new layers of latex will cover up most of the damage. That said, we're also big fans of low light for covering up a multitude of sins.

It's sad that it can't be what it once was because even though some of Don Post's classic molds are being recast by his son, the werewolf isn't one of them. I was hoping somewhere along the line he could be salvaged enough that he could share a haunt with other characters who might be a bit more together than he is.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I might give that a try. I'd have to tape up the outside of the mask a lot more to keep it from stretching out too much

Edit: I've taped up the entire outside of the mask with masking tape. My plan is to patch all the holes from the inside and foam fill the mask. Most of the face is largely undamaged, but the chin, sides, top, and back of the head are heavily damaged. I can coat most of the mask with a layer of latex to seal everything in place. Then I can cover the fur textured areas with wool. I think furring the mask is a better option than trying to repaint the heavily cracked areas at this point.
 

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Alright, I foam filled the mask today, and started the delicate procedure of removing the masking tape. The face is still mostly intact, although the head is distorted somewhat, and some paint chipped off around the right eye and cheek. Hopefully furring the mask will cover the majority of the damage.

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Touched up the paint on the face to conceal the damage somewhat.
It's coming along great. It may not be a mint condition Don Post Full Moon mask, but it already is such a cool prop. Giving it a new life is going to make so many kids freak out. Considering how damaged it was, that has to be far more than it ever could have dreamed. (Providing latex masks dream. Electrical sheep do, so we just figure maybe cool latex masks do too.)
 

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Finished. It took several hours to make the pattern for the fur, cut out the pieces, and attach it.

View attachment 581409
Looks good.

All you need to do now is to crouch in some underbrush, or stand on a chair and peek out from behind a large tree, have someone take a shaky, blurry video of you, and post it to YouTube as a Bigfoot sighting. :D
 
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