Monday, September 28, 2020

Face Shield from a Breyer Box


This post aims for two goals.  One is to show how ridiculously easy this project is to make.  The hardest part is peeling the box!  Scroll down to a photo-rich series of instructions.  My second goal is to capture, however imperfectly, the 180-degree switcheroo I went through, from resistance to pride in the making.  How did I accomplish such a changeover?!  What got me past my emotional wall of resistance and refusal?  (There certainly were tears!)  It seems to me the phenomenon of volte-face is more interesting than usual these days.

If you collect Breyers and are reasonably handy (i.e. you have a hole punch somewhere in the house), the ingredients for a face shield like this should be lying around.  One:  a Trad scale horse.  I chose this one because it was his turn to be opened.

You'll need scissors, to cut the box plastic.

Two:  an old spare billed cap, what I call a baseball cap, which wouldn't mind having holes punched in it.  No offense meant, dear Hoss.  (Hoss's is a local restaurant, a very good one I might add!) 
 Three, a means of hinge or fastener. Since I am a model tack shop, I used screw-end key posts, which in real life are for key fobs but which I used to use for model parade set stirrups.  Sorry I cannot spare any of these key posts.  I got them at Tandy's.
I haste to add a screw and nut would work.  So would a paper brad.  So would a short bolt and nut.  So would a stapler!  In a pinch, a needle and thread would do the job... although a shield sewn down would be much harder to lift up. 
Four, a way to bling.  This is by no means necessary, but it goes a long way towards explaining the switcheroo.  Perhaps the story is a short one, after all.  I used a Sarah Minkiewicz sticker for my bling.
 In addition to unsurpassed artfulness, it helps the plastic hold flat across its natural fold-line.

The argument for a face shield is that it protects the eyes.  It also enhances the protection of a mask, redirecting air currents around the face.  I don't disagree with the science.  What I didn't like was the sheer unfairness of asking even more from somebody who'd already given so much... where does this stop, we've gone from paper masks to fabric to gloves to changing grocery stores to...  and also there's Embarrassment
Protecting the eyes can also be done with wrap-around sunglasses, of which I have a couple pair.
On the plus side, the fabric mask really helps with fogging up.

Peel the plastic off the box (or, more accurately, peel the box off the plastic).
Fingernails were useful.  Flatten the sheet carefully.
This is the end result:  a complete sheet of clear flexible plastic.
Test for your face.  Then cut as suggested by the pink dotted line below.  I decided a little overlap of paper, cutting through the tips of the mistletoe leaves, would not offend.  The longest straight line, at top, is the top of the shield.  The curved bottom was cut to take advantage of as much plastic as possible.

I really like a face shield that extends as far down as this.  Of course there are different Breyer box sizes, and different face sizes too.  This pattern was cut by eye:  I have no pattern to give away or sell.

I used drafting templates to help shape the corner curves, and a leather hole punch to make the holes.  The hole is about one inch in from all the edges.  The curves could easily be done by eye.

 I held the sheet of plastic around the cap's bill (or shade), while wearing the cap, to find the best place to punch the holes.  In this case the best spot for the hinge hole was in the strap, close to the edges of the bill.

This cap was so thin and the keyposts were so long that I had to add some shims.  I used leather pieces.
Here's a shot of the layers coming together.
Probably the most challenging part is getting the tension right, so that the bill edge touches all the way across.  The tension should be tight enough to hold up the shield, but not so tight you can't lift it.

It was a lovely coincidence that the horse whose box this was should be wearing a mask himself.
In a house full of puns and in the home of a meteorologist, a horse called Minstrel was going to be named Mistral.  The Mistral is a dry cold wind that occurs in southern France.
Between the appeal of personal bling, creating something customizable, glorious recycling (!) and having a horse to share the way, I just might navigate my volte face.  But I'm still gonna prefer my sunglasses.
Thank you, Mink and Mistral.


  1. I am totally gobsmacked. What you have done and how you did it is amazing!

  2. Came back now for this because with glasses, now the weather has those masks fogging up my glasses quick, AND freezing the fog onto them! Face shield to the rescue. :)