"Grease" is one of the most popular plays for high school and community theater groups, but some of the items required are a bit challenging. One common issue is the crown like curler headpieces used in the dream sequence during the song "Beauty School Dropout". You just can't find those giant plastic curlers anymore. Well, Beauty and the Beast Costumes, Chattanooga hit upon an answer: Pool Noodles!
Step 1: Materials and Assemble
Pool Noodles - 2 per crown
Hat - 1 per crown
Base spray paint
Silver spray paint
Hot Glue gun and sticks
Electric carving knife
Optional: Glitter, white glue, plastic spray bottle, gloss clear coat
We chose only the blue pool noodles because we knew the paint would get knocked off in time and blue seemed less noticeable with silver than green or orange. Each hat with 'curlers' in this arrangement requires 2 noodles and one hat for a base. We used felt derby hats with the brims cut away as they came in a larger size that would be easier to fit a variety of head sizes for quick on and off back stage costume changes. Ball caps, sailor gob hats or any rounded top hat would work.
Measure and mark noodles into 4 inch lengths. Cut with an electric carving knife. Our first thought was to paint each noodle before cutting, but quickly found it is more efficient to assemble and then paint.
Hot Glue 12 'curlers' in a circle around the hat. Start with the center front and center back to make sure they are arrange evenly around the hat. Glue curlers to each other as well as to the hat for stability.
Glue 6 curlers in pyramid shape to the top. (3 on bottom row, 2 in the middle then 1 on top) Add two more to the sides for a more appealing overall shape.
This uses a total of 20 curlers per crown. Pool noodles are 48 inches long and each one yields 12 4" curlers. Allow 2 noodles per hat for "oopsy" allowance when measuring and cutting.
Step 2: Paint
Spray each crown with a base coat of white to help the metallic paint stick better. Spray bright silver paint over all surfaces.
LOTS of glitter!
White glue (Elmer's school glue type)
Disposable plastic spray bottle
Clear Gloss Coat Spray
I hope to upgrade these by adding glitter before the next group does this play, but ran out of time on this project.
To add Glitter, water down any white glue until it will go through a disposable plastic spray bottle. About 1 part glue to 6-8 parts water tends to do the trick. Spray glue mixture over one hat and sprinkle with glitter, allow to dry. Turn hat upside down and shake onto newspaper to re claim any loose glitter. Spray generously with Gloss coat.
Repeat as necessary to achieve desired amount of glitz.
If you don't want glitter all over, you can dilute glue with 1 to 1 ratio of water and paint stripes or patterns on the curlers, then add glitter and gloss coat as described. This method uses less glitter but more time.