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The making of the skull masks for The Silkworm, Strike Series BBC1.



Earlier this year we were asked to design and create seven masks for BBC1 Cormoran Strike -The Silkworm. Here is an inside peak at the process of creating the masks from start to end. Photos of the finished masks can be found on the PROPS page.

Masks designed and sculpted by: The masks are made from fibreglass with foam padding and leather strap work.

Miles Ascough (Project Manager), Dan Sipos & Samuel Allan. With thanks to Tom Holloway and Garry Bradley.

The characters feature throughout the drama ( which is contemporary ) however in this scene they are acting out a story within the story. It is a surreal, grotesque, and macabre tale in which we can identify the characters even though they are masked.

The characters are as follows:

-Wild boar mask (Bombyx/Quine)

-Crow mask (The Tick /Liz Tassel)

-Little Owl mask (Succuba/ Leonora Quine)

-Fox mask (Vainglorious/Michael Fancourt)

-Rat mask (Harpy/Kathryn Kent)

-Albatross mask (Cutter/Jerry Waldegrave)

-Reptile mask (Phallus/Daniel)


Design Work

Initial Designs BBC1 The Silkworm

Above Designs by Daniel Sipos and Miles Ascough. Below: Phallus designs by Samuel Allan.

The initial sketches went through a number of stages of refinement paying close attention to feedback from the designer and art department. The finalised designs can be found below.



The creatures were sculpted in water based clay around polystyrene head mannequins and wooden armatures.


Mould Making

The masks were moulded in silicon with fibreglass jackets. All the moulds were made in multiple (bolt together) pieces so they released easily from the complex sculptures. The moulds were partitioned using a combination of Plastishim and clay walls.



The masks were cast in polyester resin with fibreglass matting and woven glass to reinforce areas of stress.

The cast masks were then cleaned up, filled and sanded.



A combination of airbrushed paints, glazes and hand brushed patinas were applied.


Leatherwork & Padding

leather straps were fashioned from Horween vegetable tanned leather. The buckles received an intense antiquing. EVA foam padding was patterned to add comfort for the actors.


Lights camera action!



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