Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Halloween Zombies

Last year after Halloween we started talking about having a family theme, and came up with Plants vs Zombies.  My daughter would be a sunflower and my son and husband would be zombies.  (I wasn't sure what I would be, but usually I don't have time to make anything for me anyway.)
Here is the zombie mask process I went through.  It stared with paper maché on a balloon.  I blew up the balloon--and made sure it was bigger than my son's head.  Then I taped the eye forms to it.  I used an Icee lid for the big eye, and newspaper covered in tinfoil for the little one.  I drew the mouth shape on the balloon so I would know where to stop, and where to apply the teeth.
It took several weeks (working on weekends) to build up the masks to solid thickness.  There were some surprises.  I had the mask out in the sun to dry, and the heat caused the balloon to pop.  For the first mask it was okay, it was thick enough and dry enough that I just needed to stuff it with news paper (inside a plastic bag) so it would keep it's shape as I added more wet paper.  The second mask's balloon popped way too early and it suffered some deformation.  I had to do some paper maché surgery on it to reconnect a broken jaw.
Once I had the masks to the thickness I wanted, I painted them with white gesso, and applied a band of fabric to the bottom to finish the edge.  (the fabric is the green in the photo below--it hadn't been gessoed yet.)

I had to get the height right to make sure the mouth was sitting at the person's eyes.  For that I wadded up newspaper for padding and glued a sheet of newspaper in the top of the mask to hold the padding in place.  The coffee cans have aquarium gravel in them to add some weight while the glue dries.  Next I glued in a foam head piece since the masks were bigger around than the heads they were going on.
The foam head piece.  I also drilled small holes in the sides and sewed in some clear elastic to function as a chin strap.  At this point I glued some window screening into the inside of the mouth to obscure the human face inside.
The next step was mixing up a batch of "zombie green" acrylic paint and painting the masks.  I added shading and highlights to accentuate the details.
This mask is the "deformed" one, so it has a little more "character" than the other one.

Here is the whole ensemble.  My son wanted to be a bucket head zombie.  The bucket is made from craft foam, which was painted with metallic paint.

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