The Making of the Mummy

The Making of the Mummy

A full costume build this time, and another project from last year that I never got round the uploading here. This time we have a Mummy costume, and this was one of those that’s just a sheer pleasure to work on.


They asked for a full wrapped mummy that was wearing the big golden head-dress-mask, and there’s also a staff that you can just see in one of these pictures, it’s a cobra head in gold. I looked at Egyptian mummy sarcophagi and statues as well as fictional ones. The final design was a mix of Ra from Stargate and Tutankhamen.

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Mummy Laundry

The Body was easy enough, I just bought a white jumper and trousers from a charity shop and a long length of cheap white fabric from my local haberdashery. I ripped the cloth into strips (fairly wide) and then some into narrower strips that would be used as wraps for the feet and hands. I then mixed up a big batch of brown and red and yellow arcylic paint in a bucket with loads of water and dumped all the fabric through that, squeezing it out as I went and generally making the job messy and uneven. That was then left to dry while I did the rest.

Next up I started on the head, I knew the shape I wanted, but it was actually quite a challenge making it. I ended up making a few mock-ups from cardboard to get the shapes right before I moved onto the EVA foam. Since I was using the foam floor tiles, there’s a finite size to them, so I  was careful to stick within that. Working the big sheet for the back of the helmet-head was extremely hard, it’s curved in every direction and working with something that large was just plain unwieldy. However, Once that bit was done and glued to the front section, the rest was pretty fun.

I knew from the start I was planning to cover the snake-cowl with strips of very thin (1mm) EVA foam I got in a bumper craft pack, this would allow me to be fairly brutal and messy with the seams to make sure they stayed together, and since the cowl was striped anyway I figured sticking on strips of foam would cover the joins and also create the strip lines without having to cut into the foam.

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I didn’t take many photos during construction but you can see here the strips going in. Once they were in place I used a normal ball point biro pen to draw Stagrate/Egyptian style patterns on them. I did this on all the EVA pieces, then later went over them with a sharp knife to score the surface.  It’s the usual technique for EVA, cut it then use a heat gun and it shrinks back from the cut, so you get a groove line. Very quick and easy and that’s basically how it was all done.

The chest piece is a just a lightly curved panel of EVA. The collar/shoulders is the same, just a sheet of EVA mat cut to shape and curved. The gauntlets have a bit of elastic helping to keep them tight when on the wrists, but they hold their shape because they’ve been heat-gun moulded to the curve.

The facemask was actually he hardest bit of all. What you see in the final version is a hybrid of a thick EVA undermask and a heavily modified white mask from an art shop. The art shop mask is supposed to be a base for painting and for a fun craft project, so it’s exceptionally thin and literally tears without much effort, so it’s useless for a costume that’s going to get shot at with BB’s. I used the thick EVA foam to cave a rough face-shape mask as a base and then gluing the much more lifelike craft mask over the top. I had to enlarge the eyes significantly but it worked well enough. If the face gets shot it’ll go through the craft mask, but won’t injure the person wearing it. The eyes are covered with steel mesh as usual. The mask is so thin it distorted when I used the heat gun on the engraving lines of the beard, you can see in the construction photos the mouth looks pinched like he’s eaten something sour. To fix that I cut the lips off a spare mask and glued them over the melted mouth. The seam lines actually sort of looked deliberate since the face is so stylised anyway.

The beard is made from a roll of EVA, the detailing around the beard and the forehead are made from the same thin 1mm craft EVA, they are actually there to hide the fact that the craft mask is very small, it only extends to just above the eyebrows and didn’t have a lot of depth in the chin area.

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All the EVA parts are sprayed rattlecan metallic gold, which came out a lot better than I was expecting. I actually bought a couple of different brands expecting a flatter colour but I was really happy with how golden they looked. I then used black acrylic to dull it down and highlight the engraved details (after all, he’s been entombed for thousands of years, it shouldn’t be shiny!).

The skirt is a bit of gold fabric, which cost as much as all the white fabric, but I think it was worth it. It’s attached to a simple adjustable webbing strap. The chest plate is attached to the collar with a simple webbing buckle. Underneath the head-dress there’s more of the gold fabric to cover the back between the internal helmet that sits on the wearer’s head and the back of the cowl, that allows some flex and keeps it lighter.

I hot-glued the mummy wraps onto the white trousers and long-sleeves T-shirt and added a but more strategic weathering with brown/red Acrylic paint washes, and wrapped up lengths of the bandage to cover the hands and boots of the wearer on the day. The jewel in the forehead (there’s also the same on on the forehead of the snake staff and one on each gauntlet) are just fancy costume buttons I got from the haberdashery and the dash of colour just really brought everything together.

The snake staff was made from a broom-handle from a local hardware store and a topper made from EVA foam which I carved with a dremel and finished in the same way as the rest. Total build time was about 4 days I think.

Oh, the cartouch on the cowl, I was trying to write “Frontier”, but I ran out of room, so it just says “Front”, which I found immensely amusing.

With these projects, the thing I enjoy the most is working out how to get something that looks cool and does the job it’s supposed to do within the budget for the games. Because these costumes are only maybe once a year, and they are abused quite terribly, they can’t be expensive, and the short deadlines mean they must be done fast.



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