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Scaling up into a GIANT tiger puppet mask

Made by Cori Philips

When I was asked to make a big tiger puppet/costume for my children’s school production of Jungle Book, I wasn’t sure where to start. But your excellent template and clear instructions gave me so much confidence! I made the tiger mask three times in the end.

First I did it as is, just to get the hang of it. Then I printed on A3 instead of A4 and did another version. I knew he needed to be able to talk so I experimented with this one to find a simple way to make the mouth open and close. I ended up detaching the lower jaw and fixing it on to a litter picker.

I used what should have been the top of the ‘hat’ bit from the pattern as the back of the skull (it fit nearly perfectly!) and ended up with a great animated tiger puppet head that was operated by squeezing the litter picker. (I’m happy to share pics of that one separately if people are interested).

But the kids weren’t happy. It might have been the size of a real tiger – but it still wasn’t big enough to have the dramatic impact they wanted. They wanted it giant over-the-top two person Chinese dragon style – and I didn’t want to disappoint! So I massively scaled it up.

Giant Tiger Puppet Mask
Giant Tiger Puppet Mask

This was a bit of a faff to do and make sure it was still accurate, especially for the really big pieces that crossed onto multiple pages. I did it in Microsoft publisher but I’m sure there were other ways. This is how I did it though – I converted the pdf into a jpg of each page that I added as images to the document. I then made sure every image was formatted to exactly the same percentage of the original size (425% in this case!). I then copied the images for as many pieces as they were on the page and cropped those images around the pieces so that I had a 425% version of each individual piece. I arranged those onto the A3 pages of my new document however they fit best and saved it as a final pdf.

I then sent it off to be printed and laughed hysterically when I collected the printing and realised just HOW large it was going to be. Once it was all put together it was nearly the size of my table! Absolutely huge. I had to gather cereal boxes from everyone I knew, lol. (and use a spray adhesive – it was a lot of surface area to cover!)

There are crossed dowels in the back (instead of the flat piece) to support the weight, hold the shape, and provide a handle for the child inside the costume – but I knew I still needed it to be light enough to be carried by a child, so I followed your advice on using a single layer of super strong wood glue. I also used orange and white napkins instead of paper so I wouldn’t have to paint so much – I let them be a bit wrinkly and it gave it a lovely mottled effect.

I made three changes to the pattern. Firstly, I cut out the eyes a bit more into a more pointy menacing shape – the lovely rounded eyes were too friendly for Shere Khan! Then I eliminated the ruff because it was going to struggle to get through the wings of the stage if it was any wider – also, I knew the kids were going to be a bit rough with it and it was likely to be snapped off. And then the biggest change is that I detached the jaw. I just did this along the fold line and then extended the two sides longer and put a hole in the end so that I could stick one of the support dowels through it, creating a really simple hinge. I painted it black inside and added teeth and it meant that the child carrying it could simply open and close the mouth as needed (I’d add a video if I could, it was fab when he came to ‘life’ and roared!).

I’ve never done anything like this before but I enjoyed it so incredibly much and I want to do more now. I’ve also become very attached… and there’s now a massive tiger head hanging above the sofa in my living room (whether my husband likes it or not)!

It really did end up being highly effective and you have my profuse thanks for all of your very helpful tutorials and instructions. And if anyone is ever curious about whether the patterns can scale up – well I’ve tested it to the extreme and I can attest to the fact that they most certainly can!

Giant Tiger Mask

It was put on by the Bunscoill Ghaelgagh – which is a primary school taught entirely in Manx Gaelic (the only one in the world!) here on the Isle of Man.

The words of the song, if you’re interested are:

Quoi ta reilley ‘sy doofyr? Shere Khan

Quoi ta reilley ‘sy doofyr? Shere Khan

Follaghey, fuirraghtyn, rish y cragh, nish t’eh lheim,

eaisht shiu rhym, gow shiu aggle jeh. Shere Khan.

Shere Khan – ta ingnyn liauyr echey

Shere Knah – ta feeackleyn birragh echey

Shere Khan – ta ingnyn liauyr echey

Shere Knah – ta feeackleyn birragh echey

Who rules in the jungle? Shere Khan! 

Who rules in the jungle? Shere Khan! 

Hiding, waiting, near his prey, now he jumps, 

listen all of you, you should fear him. Shere Khan. 

Shere Khan, He’s got long claws, 

Shere Khan, he’s got sharp teeth

Shere Khan, He’s got long claws, 

Shere Khan, he’s got sharp teeth

Scaling up into a GIANT tiger puppet mask

Back of the Tiger’s head

Scaling up into a GIANT tiger puppet mask

Showing the Litter Picker below the jaw

Scaling up into a GIANT tiger puppet mask

How the pattern was enlarged.

6 thoughts on “Scaling up into a GIANT tiger puppet mask”

  1. Hello Jonni,
    I’m blown away with how amazing your tiger mask is. I particularly love the way the mouth opens. WE are going to to an end of year celebration with in our infants school in July, and need a large tiger for the theme. Are we able to use your tiger mask design and if so how do we go about getting the card dimensions and instructions?

    Many thanks
    Emma Edwards

    Reply
    • Hi Emma. I’ll jump in here, in case Cori is no longer watching for comments on this post. Cori made the big tiger, and I made the pattern, so I guess we ‘collaborated’ on this project. :)

      The size of the tiger’s face is about 10″ high. You can use that measurement to determine what percentage to use when printing the pattern larger, depending on how big you want the final head to be. The pattern does not come with instructions for making a moveable jaw – that was Cori’s idea. You can find details about the pattern, and see some videos, by clicking here. I also have a video about how to make the patterns larger – you can see that video here.

      Reply
  2. Just looking back through older entries to the Daily Sculptors page and came across this. What a fantastic project! I’ve had to resize objects many times for free lance projects and it is not an easy thing to do, especially when going large. Bunscoill Ghaelgagh must have been thrilled that a parent would take that on–and then do such a excellent job. Shere Kahn looked the part and moved so well. Above and beyond, by far!

    Reply

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