Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are Back! Making of the Masks…..

You can tell I live in the land of boys because I spend my days with Angry Birds, Transformers, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT).  Our older minion decided he wanted a TMNT themed 6th Birthday party.  Most of you that know me, think I am crazy for the details but I like to just call it completely thorough.  Of course, once he made his decision, I got on Pinterest and created a board for TMNT parties.  I quickly decided that our party favors would be in a pizza box because we all know the turtles love a good pizza.  I also wanted to make mutagen (slime), nunchuks (yes, I know they are a weapon but our version is pretty soft), and masks.

This post is about my good friend Karen who made the masks for me.  I will never pretend that I have the time to do all of these things by myself and more importantly I generally lack the patience.  I’m getting better with each year that rolls by.  Karen is my “beyond useful” friend.  She is the person (well and her husband Kevin) that if there is a zombie apocalypse, I am finding them first.  She can make anything.  There is never a project she tells me “no”.  So, I sent her on a mission to make TMNT masks and here is what she found!

Searching the internet for a pattern and tutorial I was dismayed. What I found were many not so inspiring go-bys. The felt masks (which were many) did not look like a TMNT mask. Then there were the ones that used felt and elastic. These did not look good either. I decided to reinvent the TMNT mask for that b-day party.

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Yes, I bought T-Shirts to use.  It was a very frustrating search for the fabric, the right color, the right texture, the right stretchy, etc.  I was browsing the men’s clothing section in a retail store and came across the perfect material.  I cut the shirt into strips, 2 1/4″. A couple of the shirts had seams on the side, due to this and not wanting the seam in the facial area I cut the strips on the front center.



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I then went on a search for the sticky back felt. I found it in blue and red. For the orange and purple I had to use regular felt and applied permanent fabric double stick tape. The felt is used to give structure to the light weight t-shirt fabric and is soft on the face. The felt should be on the inside of the mask, not showing. It also keeps the fabric from fraying around the eye holes.

I made a paper stencil pattern and traced onto the felt with chalk. Chalk works great on this and easily wipes away.  I cut out the masks, but not the eyes yet.


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Here I have all my strips of material ready for the felt application.




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Progress, lots of eye holes, but worth it. I also used a small rolling tool to make sure that the fabric and felt had a nice flat consistent fusing.



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I applied the sticky felt to the middle of the fabric strip and then cut out the eyes. A little time consuming but way better that trying to line up eye holes on stretchy fabric and sticky felt.  (Note that my strips are the same width as the felt mask. These are for 5 and 6 year old kids. I would suggest that if you make these for older kids or an adult costume you will want to make sure it is scaled accordingly as well as the eye placement.)






I applied all the masks to the fabric strips so that I could just continue to cut eye holes without having to stop, apply, and cut.


Ready for a turtley awesome birthday party!



All done and clearly the minions loved them.  Don’t mind the bad pics, hard to catch a moving target!

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Next up, nunchuks!

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