In just under 8 hours - (whether all at once , or broken up over a weekend). You can make you're very own Zombie Head for the next Halloween Home Haunt!
Step 1: Basic Ingredients....
At the end of the Haunt season each year , You can very often find discounted "lifesize" styrofoam skulls at your local craft stores. Here is what you can do to turn that pile of boring Styro-Skulls into Completely Awesome Halloween Haunt Props that will NEVER DIE!!..........You will need some Polymer Clay (also found at the same craft store) and all of you're favorite sculpting tools.
Step 2: Get It on a Stand - and Make It Sticky.
Okay....You should get it up and stabilized in order to have control of it without having to "handle" it while sculpting. A piece of Dowel into a piece of scrap wood is perfect. Any sort of "white glue" product will be just fine in order to create a "tacky" surface for the clay to stick to. This is very important! - or else you will be fighting the clay to stay in place , and there will be undesirable air pockets , and you will want to give up. Please don't skip this step.
Step 3: Prepping You're Clay.
For this size of "project" , You will need close to Four Pounds of clay. There may be a little less - or - a little more needed depending on your sculpt......(BUT).... at least for coverage , along with a little consideration for additive "parts" for the sculpt - Plan on conditioning at least 3.75 lbs. for this . Super Sculpey is the "standard" for most sculptors , but if you plan on painting this , ( Yep! you should!) then what-ever you have to use is good , as long as there is a basic uniformity in shade and contrast. This is also very Informative when it comes to sculpting. If a sculptor wants to create Value"....And...."Hue" within the constraints of "Shade"....and...."contrast" then the colors need to be within the same "Scale". That is just to say......keep the colors relative to what you intend for the final result..........I wouldn't try this with Red Clay - and - Green Clay , and then expect to see anything other than a hot freakin mess , even though that's pretty much what a Zombie Head is.
Step 4: Start the First Layer
Just start by rolling out sheets of clay , and pressing them onto the "form"....You may have to cut and - or - add from other sheets to be able to get "EVEN" coverage. If you plan on stepping away....cover with plastic wrap to help keep ambient dust and hair from embedding itself onto the sculpt. This will happen anyhow ,(unless you sculpt in a "white room") but the plastic wrap will help with the accumulation of floating air crap from becoming part of the sculpt. It will happen anyway........Paint will cover that.
Step 5: Start Laying Out Basic Anatomy.
So basically , these Styroskulls don't have proper dentition. ( young Tom Cruise at best.) You just have to lay out the midline and curve of wilson in order to set some teeth up. As far as the rest of these skulls go......everything as far as anatomy goes , is already established. You don't have to make solid "balls" for the eyes........just stick some roughed out hemispheres in the sockets. Then add some gum tissue around the teeth to help define the "lip-line"
Step 6: The Skull Does the Work for You!......Just Start "padding" It Out With ROTTING FLESH!!!!!!
Work in "layers"....Big pads of meat don't really need to be "constructed"...... like the muzzle around the mouth - or - the ocular tissue connecting to the cheek bone. If you don't want some kind of decrepit rotting nose cartilage coming from the nasal cavity , then don't.......do whatever! ...... This is You're Zombie Now.
Step 7: Sculpt Away......You May Have an Entirely Different Concept.
You are making a Zombie Head. Ears are important......here is how you make an ear. Maybe you're Zombie got one or two of those chewed off?. Mostly , you just have to put the details in (little by little) - until you are scared of even touching it. Brush sculpting with any sort of acetone will help "smooth out" polymer clay. Then once you are completely Terrified of what you have done..........Bake it!!!
Step 8: Paint Job!
Now that you have "cured" the head according to manufacture specifications in the oven , and once it has cooled off enough to receive a coat of acrylic paint. (Acrylic paint is ideal for polymer clay.) Then you can lay out you're "Zombie Palette". This shouldn't be any more than Ten colors. Work in layers and stick to what you have in mind. Layers create depth. you could put as many as Ten to Twelve "Layers" on - depending on the effect you would like to achieve. You Got This! It's easy........Have Fun!!