See-through fabrics and their limits?

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#1 Marthony on 1 year ago


I'm thinking to build a Iron Giant cosplay and am trying to think through the helmet; I'll be looking through the open mouth mostly I think. Underneath I plan to wear a black layer over my neck & face. I'd like to not have to have the mouth open all the time, yet still be able to see however.

Link to article & pics about a toy version I'd be basing my design on: [URL=""][/URL]

Questions as I've never tried see-through fabrics before:
- How reduced is the eyesight if over my eyes, with the black fabric shaded from most light?
- Could I make the jaw a frame covered in such fabric and be able to see out through it, with the outside of it in light (and gray)?
- Could someone please recommend such fabrics and where to buy them?
- Anyone think I'd do better to have fabric over my eyes, or let my eyes be visible within his mouth?


#2 Penlowe on 1 year ago

It depends on the fabric. In general, most fabrics used this way need to be as close to your eyes as possible. Stuff you can see through at 2 inches can be opaque at 6 inches.

JoAnn and walk around holding them up to your face. It's truly a matter of how much you can tolerate.
Most of what may work for you will be in 'dress' and 'occasion' sections. Touch stuff, if it's thin and light, hold it up to your face.

#3 gypsy_girl on 1 year ago

Sheers for curtains. Also check out thrift stores for curtains. Try holding the fabric at the distance it would be with the costume. Lighting will also affect visibility. I certainly recommend having a handler (someone who can help you to make sure you don't fall down stairs or walk into things.)

#4 Scunosi on 1 year ago

I think if it were me I'd be thinking about having vision out of his neck/collar rather than his mouth. It'll help you keep the proportions even taller/thinner and it's already going to be built black anyway so it lends itself better to this purpose I think.

I've only worn such a head once and while my vision was obstructed it wasn't completely so and I felt relatively comfortable walking around in it. It was mostly like walking around with a haze over everything. I also had the added obstruction of having part of the character's skull covering the space between my eyes so if you go out of the mouth or neck you'd have even less obstructing your view than I did. Though I suppose that's assuming you don't include the "Superman" S as that would get in the way from the looks of it.

For fabric it really is a "touch and see" thing. I ended up using a sport fabric but a lot of fursuiters use buckram which I either couldn't find at my local store or it was too gappy when I did find it. I feel like I've heard painting the "inside" of the fabric black helps with vision but the fabric I got was already black so I didn't alter it that way.

I don't think building a frame covered in fabric would work well. You'd have to worry about rigging it in such a way that light doesn't filter through it too much and you see the structure (while still being able to see out of it), and make sure everything's always taut so wind doesn't suddenly make your "metal" mouth flutter.

#5 walkerofdarknes on 1 year ago

I would point out a couple of things.

First off, since your face is covered in black, in the shadow of your helmet it'll be hard to make out your eyes in the back. You could even play up to that, by having something on your face (a fake throat or death ray, whatever) to reveal when your mouth is open.

Secondly, I debated this when doing my Gundam, but I considered making a 2 way mirror using some plexiglass for the eyes. In your case, the upper and lower jaw would be the mirror, with the teeth being the plexiglass frame. Then you'd give it a very, very light coat of paint, with the goal of being thin enough to see through, but still heavy enough to show what you're looking for. Again, the dark inside of the helmet would help to sell that.

#6 Marthony on 1 year ago

Thanks for the responses folks! Sounds like I need to do some experimenting with fabrics as well as wire mesh (Facebook comment). Hadn't thought about the distance to eyes factor before!

Indeed, seeing through the mouth I will be in shade well. It also means light won't interfere as much with my ability to see out as the fabric won't be 'lit'.

The 2 way mirror idea is very interesting, thanks! If it worked it would be a great improvement to my field of vision.

Plan B is to be able to see out below the jaw well.

#7 becosplay on 1 year ago

I would give Scunosi's idea serious thought and use the "grill" area of the Iron Giant at the bottom of the neck/top of the chest as your viewport. This area provides a strong framework to which the see through fabric could be attached on the grill back. It should also allow a larger field of view which just the "ribs" blocking some narrow angles. Also this can allow your head/face to be further back from the grill and thus less noticeable. If also will give you more flexibility with what you want to do with the jaw, having it fixed or movable.

#8 Marthony on 1 year ago

Thanks Becosplay, but this changes the proportions a fair bit; this cosplay will be scaled to my body, so at the moment I feel raising the head too high will be hard to get to look right. As it is with the idea of looking through the mouth I might have to add 1-1.5" to the tops of the chest piece to keep the proportion looking ok.

Certainly a good method if I was to be on stilts/risers though!