VORTEX #23, copyright 2009 by ED

Number twenty-three: Chinatown’s got somethin’ for everybody.

[VORTEX COMICS occur once per day Monday through Friday. VORTEX COMICS do not occur on weekends. VORTEX COMICS is made by selecting five images (photos I’ve taken, made grayscale, and inked after printing) and five phrases (taken from things I’ve written in the past), pairing it down to three phrases, and leaving the connection up to the reader. VORTEX COMICS have no defined story…for now.]

AND NOW! Because Halloween is tomorrow, and I know I’m not the only one who waited until the last minute, I present you all, ye faithful few procrastinators, with handy-dandy instructions on how to craft your very own Starro mask!

(I’ll warn you, though, that these are VERY rough and VERY amateurish instructions, so I welcome any suggestions for improvement.)

1. ASSEMBLE YOUR TEAM! To make this bad boy, I’ve gathered a few choice materials: purple and blue fabric; black and red nylon mesh material; blue, black, and purple thread; black elastic band; a needle; safety pins; and an old towel.

2. YER EYEBALLS! Using a rough measurement of the distance between the far side of either eye made with my index finger and thumb, I cut four circles from the red nylon mesh (enough to provide a red color while still allowing for sight) larger than the measured size. I then made pupils out of the black mesh. Set these aside for later.

3. FINDING YOUR INNER STAR! Next I traced a dinner plate on the back of the blue fabric. Finding the center, I used the same rough measurement to cut what would eventually determine what I couldn’t see while wearing the mask. Using that circle as a base, I cut a rough star shape out of the larger circle.

4. WHEN STARS COLLIDE! Using the smaller, blue star as a base, I traced a larger star shape around it on the purple fabric. I then traced the blue star again onto the purple star, this time cutting it smaller than the blue star. I then pinned the smaller star beneath the larger one, so that the blue-lined eyehole is neatly tucked under the purple. The two were then sewn together around the inside edge of the purple star.

5. I NEED BACKUP! Using the whole star, I once more traced the shape onto the blue fabric and cut a similar hole into the middle. Both shapes flipped around, so that what will be the messy, messy insides are now facing outwards, I sewed both together. Using the eyehole, I flipped the star right-side out and began stuffing the innards through the eyehole with strips of towel. The inside edges were then sewn shut as to keep all that stuffing in, the red nylon mesh sandwiched between each edge.

6. ATTACHED! Using two seperate lengths of elastic, I fasted one between two opposite arms of the star, and one from the top-most segment to the other length of elastic.

7. FINISHING TOUCHES! On the inside lower section of the mask, I stitched up loose parts of fabric to bring the lower “appendages” closer to my face. I also sewed the black nylon on top of the red in the center of the “eye” where it wouldn’t impede my vision.

And there you have it! A fairly easy-to-make (if you’re really pressed for time, you can skip the stuffing altogether) and VERY affordable (the fabric, thread, and elastic cost ~$6.50) costume with definite nerd cred.

Bonus? You can still drink your choice of holiday beverage, not to mention eat candies and breathe comfortably, without removing it.