Making Foam Animal Headpieces: Rabbit Head
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Note: This workbook was made in 1984-85 as part of my my MA Project at California State University Fresno. It was intended as a text workbook for the Advanced Costume Construction class to use in the costume properties portion of the class. Certain portions of the text now border on the antique because of the date at which it was written, for example under "Materials" in 1985 a hot glue gun was an unusual craft supply, only obtainable at hardware stores. I hope you will bear with these small oddities and look to the basics of this work, intended as an introduction to several basic costume crafts processes. --TM
PROJECT 7'' A SCULPTED FOAM RABBIT HEAD Uncovered foam is very light but also very fragile as it tears easily. Foam can be covered with a variety of materials to strengthen it. Plaster bandages laid over the foam will give it a hard shell that is fairly light but completely inflexible. Fabric coverings vary greatly depending on the fabric used, but generally are soft but strong and give a soft-sculpture, stuffed animal look to the foam. A painted-,.over raw latex shell can give odd skin-like effects but protects the foam only slightly from ripping. Raw latex painted over a stretch knit is similar but much stronger., Fabric can be attached either by sewing or with "Barge" cement beneath If you would like, experiment with one or more of these finishes on the rabbit head when you are finished with the project. The advantages of foam-are lightness, cheapness, and easy construction. The disadvantages are that it cannot be washed, it is very hot to wear, and it tears easily.A SCULPTED FOAM RABBIT HEAD Purpose:To practice cutting and gluing foam sheets into 3-dimensional shapes. To create a soft, light mask, quickly. Not recommended for hard wear unless covered as mentioned in the introduction.
M a t e r i a l s :
- "Barge" cement 2003 Note: I now recommend hot glue, or non-toxic contact cement instead of this glue,' as a non-toxic substitute.'
- Head form
- 1" soft foam, sheet, 24" x 78" (like mattress pad)
- 68" hat wire
- "T" pins
- "PAM" cooking spray
- plastic wrap or aluminum 'foil
- spray paint ("Safe for Foam" listed on the can). 2003 Note: I now recommend acrylic paint either applied directly, or diluted with water and applied in a sprayer 'as a non-toxic substitute.'
A. Cut out two foam sheets 24" x 24". Transfer the grid pattern on the previous page onto one of the sheets, by marking the grid onto paper, marking the pattern lines onto the grid, and then using the paper as a pattern. Remember each square of the grid is equal to 1" square on the foam.
B. In a well-ventilated area, secure head form to plywood board or cork tabletop with "T" pins. Cover head with plastic wrap or foil, as shown. Spray with 11 PAM ".
C. Take the other 24" x 24" square of I" foam and pin to head form at the chin, nape, and over each ear. Smooth it across tightly so that the excess hangs down over the neck and face, as shown.
D. Pinch the excess foam at the corners of the square until the foam fits flatly against the head. Pin down the excess as shown. Mark where the foam meets and unpin. Trim with scissors along the marked line.
E. PUT ON YOUR RESPIRATOR. Make sure your ventilation system is on and/or your windows are open. Clear anyone not wearing a respirator out of the area.
F. Paint "Barge" cement on the insides of the slit and allow them to grow tacky. (about 5-minutes Pinch the slits together allowing the edges to butt up against each other. Let dry. (about 5 minutes). 2003 Note: I now recommend hot glue, or non-toxic contact cement instead of this glue,' as a non-toxic substitute.'
G. Take the foam cap off of the head form and put it on the head you want to fit. Mark on the foam going around from the eyebrows, down over the ears to the nape of the neck, as shown. Take the cap off and trim on the line.
H. Take the face piece and glue together as shown. Close A & B under the nose piece as indicated with Barge". Notice that in the picture on the bottom right corner of the illustration, points A & B meet, underneath the nose point.
I. Adjust the size and shape of the eyeholes to taste by cutting "darts" in the foam around the eyes. "Barge" glue them together.
J. Again, putting the cap on the head you wish it to fit, carefully pin the face piece to the cap so that the eyes match the eyehole placement. Remove the cap from the person and put it on the head form.
K. Glue face piece to cap with "Barge" cement. Be sure to carefully glue down the edges of the face piece. With scissors trim the back edge of the face piece so that it lies smoothly against the cap without forming a ridge.
L . Bevel the edges of the cheek pieces with scissors, as shown. Glue cheeks to face under the eyes, as shown.
M. Thread two 17" pieces of hat wire in each ear piece where dotted lines 'are indicated in the illustration by poking the wire -into the middle of the foam at the ear base.
N. Spread "Barge" cement on the ear pieces where shaded. Allow glue to grow tacky, then glue together as shown to give the ear its crease. Cut off the base corners, as shown. Pinch areas as needed.
O. Bevel the edges of the ears, and glue them to the sides of the head.
P. Cut out the teeth, and slice the foam in half as shown. Glue to face.
Q. For whiskers, cut six foam "slivers" about 6" long, 1/2" x 1/2" square at the bottom and pointed at the top. Glue them to either side of the nose, like whiskers on a rabbit, as shown.
R. Paint mask with spray paint in light coats. Be sure can says, "safe for foam" or test paint on a spare scrap of foam. If you do not test the paint beforehand you may see hours of work melt before your eyes. Remember always to wear your respirator while painting and/or gluing. 2003 Note: I now recommend acrylic paint either applied directly, or diluted with water and applied in a sprayer 'as a non-toxic substitute.'
'The headpiece I made in 1985 as an example for this project held up for many years, having been dragged from Fresno, CA to Athens, GA to Fairbanks, AK. In 1999 I cut off the face, and covered the top with fake fur to make this headdress for the March Hare ' [[shows_alice/disk6/MVC-002F|]] in Alice in Wonderland. It is still usable.
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