Red Nebula Studios

Fantasy art, costumes, crafts,
and creative endeavors.

Costuming Q&A - Velociraptor

I received a question from a reader about building a velociraptor mask, and she granted permission for me to share it here on the site. It also happens that my very first mask was a velociraptor! It was made for Halloween the year Jurassic Park came out... exactly 20 years ago! (Goodness, did I really just say that?)

My velociraptor was made from cardboard and papier mache. It was not the best mask, but it did have a moving jaw, and I even tried to build in a way to make the eyes move! Best of all, it was my start into a costuming hobby I've truly enjoyed.

If I was to build this mask today, I'd do it much differently! Read my advice to Amanda below.

A front view of the mask for my 1993 velociraptor costume.
Q:

Hello! My name's Amanda, and I'm a big fan of your works. Your art is amazing, and I'm in awe over your Garrus cosplay! It simply looks amazing!

For Halloween (and a paired cosplay with a friend), I want to be a velociraptor from the first Jurassic Park film. My friend is going to be dressed up as Robert Muldoon, and I'm going to be 'clever girl.' At first, I wanted to try and make a raptor suit, like they did in the actual film, but after watching a short clip on the evolution of the suit, I realized that making that would be too hard. So I'm going to make just a mask with a movable jaw, and clawed hands and those infamous clawed feet. And a tail, once I figure out how to make that work.

But I'm stuck on how to work with the mask. I want to make it somewhat realistic and similar to the raptors in the movie, but I want the mask to be breathable and comfortable. I've been looking through your step-by-step process of Garrus' face mask, and thought about doing it that way. I even went to the craft store near me (it's called Pat Catans but I think it's only stationed in Ohio, where I live) and tried looking for some of the materials, but I could really only find wire mesh, instead of the plastic one you used for Garrus. And I probably need to look around other craft stores too, but I couldn't find Epoxy putty in that store. I'm a bit worried about how to make the teeth too, since the raptor's teeth look like they'd break easily if I didn't make them the right way.

If you can offer me some tips, that'd be great! I hope to hear from you soon!

Sincerely,
Amanda

A:

Hi Amanda,

Thanks for writing! I'm glad you enjoy my work. I actually did a velociraptor costume a long time ago, my very first costume. I was inspired to make the year when Jurassic Park came out, because I wasn't happy with the masks Halloween stores were selling. It wasn't the best costume ever, but I had a lot of fun with it and it got me started on many future projects!

The most realistic way to make a raptor mask would be to sculpt it, make a mold, and cast it in either latex (like my Garrus) or silicone, but understand that it will take some practice to get a good handle on any kind of molding and casting materials. They're a challenge, but they're worth it! You can also sculpt it out of a self-hardening material, like epoxy putty (or even papier maches, though I find them difficult to work with), but the finished mask would be rigid. It would look good, but wouldn't have a skin-like feel, and may be heavy depending on the material you use.

In any case, your local craft store should have the plastic mesh I used. It's typically used with yarn work, so check if they have a knitting and crocheting section - it will probably be there. For the teeth, polymer clays (like Sculpey or Fimo) work great! You can take as long as you want to sculpt them, and then bake them in a normal oven. Once baked, they feel kind of like plastic, and they aren't completely rigid - you can bend them just a little. I've made many teeth, claws, and other small costume pieces from polymer clay and never had one break.

In regards to epoxy putties, or materials for molding and casting latex or silicone, I'm afraid you might have to turn to the Internet for those. Unfortunately, it's rare to find those materials at local stores. Smooth-on is my favorite site for molding and casting materials, and they have a bunch of good tutorials. TAP Plastics and Monster Makers are two others that I've ordered from and can vouch for, sites that have both useful materials and information that might help you out. (Note that Monster Makers tends to get a lot busier in the months leading to Halloween, so it might take them a little longer to ship materials at the moment.)

I hope this has been of some help!

Take care,
Sarrah

Have a question about my art, costumes, crafts, or creatures you'd like me to answer? Please don't hesitate to send me an e-mail. I may even feature your question on the website!

Posted by Sarrah Wilkinson on 9/24/2013 - Page last updated: 9/24/2013

Keywords: costume, question and answer, q&a, velociraptor, Jurassic Park, dinosaur