Friday, January 28, 2011

Foam Heads

So after the post about the successful foam fish, I bring you the story of the failed foam severed head.

Again I was working on a show with a tiny budget and a giant props list. I needed a severed head, and a plea to fellow props masters for a rental in the area turned up empty. One of the props masters mentioned though that he had made a severed head once with a cheap wig and a painted wig head.

I took a male wig head and added paper mache to make the neck look severed.

I painted him with a flesh tone (with a little green to make him look dead). I speckled him with blood and added a cheap wig from the bargain bin at a local costunme store.

Later I decided to cut the neck on a rougher line becuase it looked too long and clean.
I printed out the eyes and modge podged them in. The ink ended up running and the eyes looked a lot less realistic than I wanted. If I were to do it again I would spray them with some sort of spray fixative to set the colors before trying to glue them in.

The problem that I couldn't solve was the position of the mouth. The foam face was constructed with the jaw firmly set. A dead person does not have the muscle to hold their mouth the way that the wig head did.

When I asked the props master who gave me the idea he told me that the problem hadn't come up for him becuase his show had been heavily masked. The mask on his head hid the jawline.

I couldn't figure a way to change the existing jaw line without totally destroying the face.

In a last ditch attempt to distract from the mouth I added a fake moustache I bought at a costume store. It failed miserably and the head ended up getting cut.

If I had to do it again I think I might have to carve the whole head myself, or find someone with the expertise and supplies to do a good casting of a face.
Or just suck it up, cut money from somewhere else and invest in buying one (you can find them online through halloween stores year round).

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