In preparation for an upcoming con, I talked my kids into wearing Jawa costumes to supplement my R2-D2. They agreed, so I got to work building their costumes. There are many great tutorials online about how to build a Jawa costume. I read most of them, and borrowed ideas from many of them. In the end, I kind of blazed my own path.
I started with a medium sized coaches fencing mask. The coaches masks have a black bib which are easier to work with than the traditional white bibs. They are also a bit lighter and less expensive. I bought them new for $52 USD each. My son needs glasses to see, so I was happy to find that he was still able to wear them, even with the fencing mask on.
Fencing masks have a metal tongue that sticks out the back over the top of the head. It’s meant to be bent down to help keep the mask on. It also has Velcro straps across the back of the head so this extra support is not really needed for the costume. I considered removing them, but, as it turns out, by leaving the tongues up, they provide great support for the peak of the hood, so I kept them on.
Next, I found some inexpensive amber submersible LED lights that were twist on/off. They use a standard CR2032 coin cell battery and are easy to disassemble to replace. I think a battery should last at least 8 hours.
I drilled 2 holes through the mesh of each mask wide enough to allow the tip of the LED bulb through (about 5/8″). I placed the LED bulbs in and used E6000 to keep them in place.
Next, I needed a plastic cover to diffuse the light for the eyes. I found a clear candy wrapper candy holder which breaks in half. I sanded the inside with fine grit sandpaper, and then sprayed with a frosting paint.
I placed the plastic over the eyes and found that there were some hot spots from the LEDs which did not look good. To further diffuse the LED light, I added 3 layers of Glad Press & Seal wrap over the LEDs.
To save batteries, the wearer can reach into the mask and twist the LED bases to turn them on/off as needed. The backs can be screwed off to replace the battery without having to remove the whole LED assembly from the mask.
Next, I used E6000 to glue the frosted plastic domes over the LEDs. I found the mask mesh alone was not enough to hide the face, so I bought some black burlap fabric and cut it into 4″ strips. I layered the burlap over the front of the mask and around the eyes. The burlap + mask mesh still allows the wearer to see out, but much harder to see inside.
My wife did a great job sewing the floor-length robes and hood to complete the costume. Some black elbow-length gloves and boots covered in burlap helped to complete the picture. The final touch was a leather pouch belt that goes over one shoulder. The end result looks fantastic.