6/16/11

Making a Paper Mache Head

For a while now I have been keeping an eye out for a mannequin head for photographing my earrings. No luck. I found some online that were $35 plus $12 for shipping and I have been hoping I would figure out a way to avoid this expense. I remembered making masks in elementary school and I thought that it would be fun to just use my sister as a mold and make a head piece by piece. Well, I figured that would not work out because the main part that I need, which is the ear would be a little more complicated to get the detail. "Hold still for a few hours while a shove wet newspaper in your ear." So the next plan was to go to a department store and see if they sell their old mannequins. Well, the other day I was at a friends house and I noticed some heads that had been painted and made into an art piece. I asked him where he got the heads and he told me that some business had thrown them out and he just took them figuring he could find something cool to do with them, which he did. I told him how I had been looking for one and he offered to lend me one to use as a mold. Yay! I am not sure what these heads were used for as the top of the head seamed to have some kind of a detachable piece, either way these will be perfect.



This head was covered in a spray foam and a lot of paint. He had used this one as a practice head so my friend gave me permission to remove the paint and foam. I could not remove all of it but I got enough to get the detail I want.


Next I made my Paper Mache with equal parts water and flour and a little salt (salt helps prevent mold from growing) and then ripped up pieces of newspaper. I put a thin layer of Vaseline all over my mannequin face so once the masked dried I could easily remove it.


I put a few layers all over the face and smoothed it all over. I let it dry over night and went to check it the next day.



The mask came off easily though I did rip it a little in one place. I decided that it was not as thick as I would like so I put it back on and added a couple more layers.



The added layers made it much better. Next I did the back of the head and neck.



Next, For the top of the head I blew up a balloon and set it in the cavity. Then I paper mached over the balloon, later when it was completely dry I simply popped it from the bottom. I forgot to put a thin layer a Vaseline on the balloon before paper macheing it but it wasn't that big of a deal for me.


After it was completely dry, I lightly sanded the entire head.
It's a little lumpy so if I wanted to refine it more I am sure I could
have made some sort of a pulp to fill in the crevices. 


Next a painted the entire head with acrylic paint in a solid skin tone color. 


Then came the eyes and lips.



A $16 wig from a party supply store was the finishing touch!


I used my smallest drill bit to drill an earring hole in each of the ear lobes.


Now I can showcase my earrings and hair accessories
with a more accurate depiction of size!


At some point I would like to make or find a stand for
my display head to make her a little more sturdy. 
I hope this post was helpful and thanks for visiting!! :)

1 comment:

  1. absolutely beautiful and so creative. I am going to try this with my art students. Thank you for posting this.

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