Step 4: Building the head

Picture of Building the head
R2d2 020head.jpg
My first thought was to create the head out of paper mache applied to a balloon, but I was unable to find the proper sized balloon to match the diameter of the body, so  I decided on a ribbed design. This was similar to the way  I made model airplane wings when I was a kid.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture before I put on the paper mache, so you'll have to imagine what the ribbed cardboard looks like.

The downside of the ribbed method is that the ribs show through. so it is going to get several coats of wallboard joint compound to make it more spherical.

In hind sight, I should have spent more time looking for a balloon. The ribbed method never got perfectly spherical.

To give the paper mache more strength, I coated the inside with a layer of expanding foam.

Between the cardboard, hot glue, paper mache and a lot of wallboard joint compound, the head is getting rather heavy.

Kaelpe3 years ago
I want to make a smaller sized one of these, and I think maybe an extra salad bowl with a flat bottom, plus a styrofoam dome to even it out. That way you don't have to buy and carve a huge chunk of 'foam and you have a nice rounded top.
Then coat the whole thing with paper mache or the wall joint stuff and paint.
Centaur14 years ago
Have you thought of Strofoam? Just the desire size styrofoam or connect two styrofoam with glue. Cut it into a rough shape, then shave a-little closer to the perfect dome.

After your done, you use paper mache to smooth out the surface and then you paint the design.
jerhpk4 years ago
try a large stainless steel mixing bowl for a rounded shape. or a wok, available at many restaurant supply shops. They will not be perfectly round, but they will provide that shape at the bottom.

now back to reading this "fresco frijoles" 'ible.
ReVoon4 years ago
What about using an inexpensive large plastic salad bowl? These will usually be at 99¢ stores and the like around the holidays. I would get one just over 18" dia and very deep for a nice round look. Just a thought. Beyond that, a very nice, well-executed design.
Dandolion4 years ago
It looks fantastic. for the dome, you could, make strips of cardboard that fit between the ribs which would prevent the paper mache from sagging and mean less filling.
jsgraham4 years ago
Granted you would have had to make the ribs and internals structure. However, why not use 2-5 oz fiberglass cloth impregnated with epoxy? 3 or 4 layers should do it. I've built several high power rocket nose cones using this technique. The nose cones get a lot more stress load than ole R2D2 would get. It would cut down on the weight at the top. Plus you can finish it with either Bondo or the same joint compound you've been using.

Kewl instructable
If you ever do anything like this again, those giant kid's bouncy balls (usually found for a couple of bucks in a net bin at department stores) make a great base for spherical paper mache forms, if you can find the right size.