Tony from SteampunkMasks got in contact with me after my plague doctor mask project and asked if I'd like to try a second project. I liked his "respirator" steam punk masks and decided to try one. This turned out being an easy build. Even without a laser cutter would not take long to prep the pieces and it looks great when it's finished.
I managed to fit all the pieces, including the straps, on a single 14"x12" sheet of 6oz leather. If you were cutting this out by hand and did not want to buy a larger sheet, you can get by with two 8.5x11" sheets of 5oz leather from Tandy.
If you have access to a laser cutter, it's good to test on scrap pieces to find the right frequency/speed/frequency. The trick is to not burn too much of the leather yet get all the way through (especially on stitching holes). If you want to remove the char from the edges, some Fast Orange and a toothbrush takes it right off.
While laser cutting is certainly cool and speeds up the project, this entire process could also be accomplished with a box cutter, leather punch and a hammer. The pattern comes as a PDF so you would print it out, cut out the pieces and then trace on the leather with light pencil marks. If you wanted to improve the appears of the mask, you can still bevel and slick the edges, but I chose not to.
The pattern has no real instructions but by looking at the example it's clear how the parts come together. This project calls for three, 3/4" buckles, eight 3/16" eyelets and rivets for the strap system. If you are cutting it out by hand you could easily just box stitch some of the mounting points near the mask.
When doing the top cover, it's important to have soaked the leather in warm water to get it pliable. If you try to force it you can crack the dry leather. The eyelets on the front are aesthetic since there is more than enough gap at the edges of the mask to breathe comfortably.
I liked the red dyed version in one of Tony's example photos so I simply replicated it. The dye took several coats before it got dark enough to not appear pink. The soft side in the photo shows what the first few coats looked like and the mask shows what several heavy coats turns into. Since there is no historical basis for this piece a more radical color does not look that out of place.
The Fiebing's alcohol-based red dye dries very fast so it could be completed in a single evening. I've learned that if there will be lots of tight curves on a piece and you're using alcohol dye to apply it after primary assembly. This avoid cracking or fighting the leather too much when you're trying to manhandle it into place. Finally, I rubbed in a heavy application of neatsfoot oil to re-soften and protect the leather. This has the side benefit of helping darken it further.
The straps were very long in the pattern so you may want to trim them down. I wear a large helmet size and I am still only using the fifth hole on the strap. I chose to make a small keeper out of scrap in case I wanted to put it over some kind of hat, but if you intend to wear hats or hoods over it I'd shorten them.
I am not sure what kind of costume this goes with but I'll probably combine it with some military surplus. The mask itself could probably be thermoformed out of Kydex with a heat gun which would be its own interesting take. By deleting the eyelet and changing the holes, you could also easily integrate something like piping or tubes coming out.