Laser Cut Leather Plague Doctor Masks

I wanted to share a sample of one of my leatherwork projects that was laser cut.

I do a lot of work in the Halloween and Haunted Attraction industry, and last year I had a client that wanted a couple leather plague doctor masks.

The finished masks.

Sewing on the goggles.

Blue painter’s tape was used to protect the surface of the leather from smoke damage.

Pieces laid out after washing (to remove charred material from the edges). They were allowed to fully dry prior to staining.

And here are the final stained and sealed pieces before assembly.

The design was prototyped out in L200 foam (cross linked polyethylene) as it is inexpensive and can be formed/sewn/riveted/etc much like leather, and it’s very easy to trim down or modify.

Once I had everything to my liking I cut the prototype apart, photographed the pieces over a scale grid, applied a filter to counter lens distortion on the photographs, and then traced them in Adobe Illustrator. Once I had the digitized templates I then went through 3 or 4 optimization passes where I would laser cut the design out in foam, assemble, then make changes to get things perfect.

Laser cutting leather is a lot of fun (aside from the smell) and made producing these much easier than hand cutting them. One thing that helped a great deal was being able to use the dashed lines in Adobe Illustrator, which cut as tiny individual slits on the laser cutter. The made lining up seams and sewing everything together much less labor intensive.

It was also great to have all the rivet holes in the design as well.

If you are interested in a more detailed overview of the build process for these masks I’ve released a tutorial on instructables:

Can’t wait to get my Glowforge and do more fun projects like this!


I absolutely love this! I’ve been wanting to build one of these for the longest time!

Beautiful work! I hope you’re planning to contribute to the catalog!

Really very nice!
As an aside I bought an old flatbed scanner for just this purpose.
Scanning the disassembled pieces directly into illustrator gives you a fairly accurate template and is probably faster than the photo/deskew step.

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These are just beautiful!

I have an app on the iPhone called “Scanner Pro” that I use for scanning most of my patterns. It allows me to adjust for perspective, and it is able to correct for the lens distortion on the iPhone (so lines are straight) which makes it super easy. I just place my patterns on a cutting mat that has a 1" grid on it, that way I can adjust everything to scale in Adobe Illustrator.

Having a scanner would be helpful for smaller patterns, and that’s something I hope to add to my shop (if I can ever find the space!)

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Huh, I have that app as well but never thought to use it for that!
I found a cheap used scanner at the local computer recycle place. It is amazing what you can get by scanning 3D objects on a flat bed scanner if you try…

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This is absolutely epic. Another one for our internal inspiration board…

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I made some Plague DR masks for Halloween 2 years ago, I went with Fiberglass and 3D printed goggles. This would have been way easier!

Great job. Hope you consider adding the plans to the catalog.

Love what you did here!

I just saw this video and said… Hey!!! We will be able to do that soon!!!

I am so jazzed to try this out


Some people just have too much talent and imagination.
Great work.

those are awesome!

I really want to make one of those for Halloween