Have I ever mentioned I REALLY love penguins?
This is a few weeks late but I still want to share this because I had so much fun doing it. Behold! My Adventure Time Ice King mask.
When I found out my sister was going to make Marceline’s axe-bass for Halloween, I had to up the ante. With a homemade Finn hat already in the family arsenal of costumes, I knew I had to be another Adventure Time character. I dislike pink ensembles, though, so Princess Bubblegum was out of the question. Sewing the Flame Princess’s dress daunted me and a store-bought Ice King costume felt inadequate.
I was intrigued, however, by the idea of making an Ice King mask. There are a lot of cool masks out there, and it certainly solves the problem of having all-over face paint.
After some research, I realized I was drawn towards the threatening and evil fan art of the Ice King. So I bought several blocks of Sculpey III clay in pearl blue and white, assembled the scattered sculpting materials around the house, and got to work.
Initial sculpting of the Ice King. Take note—no nose yet!
Using an old mask covered in foil as a base, I kneaded the clay and repeatedly draped, blended, and cut out the clay to form the face. Since my base was rather bumpy and skull-like, I had to keep fixing portions to get an even sheen.
I used to be a cake decorator and I worked with fondant and gum paste all the time back then. I also took a lot of basic pottery classes, too. All of these old skills were revisited when I tackled this mask. I made sure I had even thickness all around (it’s at least 1/4 inch thick.) Since Sculpey clay needs to be baked, I pricked out all the air bubbles, too. While a pock-marked Ice King doesn’t seem far-fetched, I wanted to go for a little smoothness.
Midway through, I ran out of clay. So I wrapped the mask in plastic so the material would stay pliable. When I got back to the project a few days later, with more clay purchased, everything was still malleable.
The Ice King—now with nose and eyebrows.
I attached the nose during this second round. It is the only section of the mask that is reinforced with wire. I wanted to make the nose longer and bigger but I was worried that the weight of the clay would make it impossible to wear. So I settled for a nose that reached down to my chin.
While working I frequently brought the mask to a large mirror, to make sure 1) I would still be able to see out of it, and 2) the proportions were still good. The asymmetrical look of the mask is intentional. I figured that going for absolute symmetry would be more work and look less threatening in the dark. The Ice King is not supposed to be pretty, folks.
At this point I also added white eyebrows, which I texturized with a brush and some sculpting tools. This was necessary because the white wig and beard I ordered didn’t come with eyebrows.
Beads are a good way to use up excess clay.
Right before baking, I removed the plastic base. I did not remove the foil, though, since doing so might damage all my hard work. I positioned the mask on more foil so it would keep its shape. I then kept a close watch on the oven while it baked.
As a side project, I used up all the remaining blue clay by forming marbleized beads and flat discs. As much smaller objects, these pieces had a shorter baking time.
After an hour in the oven, my Ice King mask was almost done. I let it cool down for a few hours. When it was completely cool to the touch, I peeled off the foil easily. Any bits that clung to the hard clay were easily removed with tweezers.
Baked and ready to wear.
I then got out some superglue and attached a shaped sponge that would cushion my nose from the weight of the mask. I also attached an elastic halter (recycled from another old mask) so that the whole thing would stay firmly in place all night.
With a white wig, a beard, a homemade crown, some metallic blue eye make-up, and a dark blue nightgown, I was ready to accompany my nephews on their quest for free candy.
I’ve never balanced so many things on my head before and the beard was incredibly itchy, but it was fun. I got a huge kick out of freaking out the neighborhood kids, too.