Introduction: How to Make a Headless Marie Antoinette Halloween Costume

So I love Halloween and I wanted to come up with an awesome costume.  I was looking for Halloween decorating ideas for my parties and stumbled upon Nicole Magne's website http://www.nicolemagne.com/blog/ and her 2006 Headless Marie Antoinette Costume.  This was also featured in Make Magazine.  She has amazing ideas and costumes!  She made her main piece by creating a clay bust then creating a mold and using liquid urethane foam.  I'm crafty but not that talented!  So I figured I could use a hanging mannequin as my form.  I was able to find someone selling them on Craigslist for $5!  Once I got that I knew I was on my way!  Follow me in my journey for guts and glory!!!!!! For only $20 too!
 

Step 1: Find Your Materials

To save money I looked at the Dollar store for whatever I needed first and if I couldn't find it there then I went to other places like Walmart or Canadian Tire.  This saves cubic assloads of money!!!

1) Hanging Body Mannequin I found my hanging body form on Craigslist.  You can also buy them at any retail display stores.  I also considered just offering to buy one at store that had them.

2) A Long Dress or something to look like a dress. I converted a sheer curtain I found at the Buy The Pound outlet of Goodwill ($1.99 per lb-this is before it's sorted, tagged and shipped to the stores).  Tip: I got tons of sheets there to cover up my furniture to recreate the look of an abandoned house for my party.  Much cheaper than getting them individually at the Goodwill store.  Each curtain was approximately $5 at the stores but I got around 9 sheets and 3 curtains for about $25.

3) Backpack Buy one specifically for this project as it will be cut up.  I forgot to get one on my Buy The Pound trip so I picked one up at Value Village for $2.99

4) Long Gloves The ones that go up over the elbow, the longer the better so you don't need to make sleeves.  I got mine at Value Village as well for $2.99.  These were new in the package.  I saw them elsewhere for $10-20.

5) Acrylic Paint and Paint Brush fromthe Dollar Store.  I bought silver and the darkest blue I could find.

6) Silicone Found the cheapest one at Walmart

7) Nail Polish Red colored like blood from the Dollar Store

8) Packing Tape

9) Scissors

10) Glue Gun

 
 

Step 2: Mock Up

Put the dress on the mannequin or in my case I wrapped the curtain around in order to get an idea on what I wanted it to look like and figure out how I was going to make it work.  I wrapped a scarf around the waist of the form and pulled out the back and sides of the fabric to create a dress like silhouette and to shorten it.

Step 3: Create the Holder

Cut a hole in the top of the backpack big enough to fit the body form snugly with the zipper closed.  If you just put the form into the back pack normally and sort of close the zipper around it, the form will be too far away from your body and unstable.  Picture 2 shows how close the form is to the back panel of the back pack.  Make sure the front of the body form is facing the straps of the back pack. Nothing like backward boobs to ruin the effect!

Tape the back pack to the form and wrap the tape up in a criss cross pattern to secure tightly.  Remove the hanger portion from the back of the neck. Reserve the screw(s).

 
 
 
 

Step 4: Make the Dress


Or put the dress on if you have one.  My friend Nicole totally helped me with the dress portion.  We cut the curtain in half after measuring the lengths we wanted for the front and back panel.  We used a glue gun to glue a piece of white fabric to the inside edge of the back as it is all hollow.  This piece helped to cover up the back pack since the fabric was sheer.  I decided to use the curtain since the pleats created an automatic neck line and the extra fabric from the length helped disguise the fact that it wasn't sewn shut on the sides.  I poked a hole at the back of the fabric and put the screw back in just to give it extra stability (Pic 2).  I held the pieces together while Nicole sewed stitches in the pleats to keep it together.

Put on the back pack on with the fabric over your head to mark off where you need to cut a hole for your severed head.  You'll want to leave some fabric to bunch a bit behind your neck and shoulders.  I ended up using another lacy curtain to add onto the dress.  It made the dress look a little more authentic and helped tie in the gloves as they were white and the curtain was a cream color.  By strategically layering the fabric, it looked like the lace part was an underskirt with the sheer fabric as the outer layer.  It was common to dresses in that era.  We cut a band off the lacy curtain to use as the belt or sash that ties around the waist of the form and that's what holds the fabric in the right places to  make the curtain look like a dress.  The rest of the lacy fabric was sewn onto the edge of the hole where my head would be. After tying the belt, pull the fabric out from the top of the belt on the sides to create sleeves.

With the costume on, position the gloves inside the sleeves with enough length for it to look like they are holding the head.  The fingers should be comfortably snug under your chin. Stuff the arms with stuffing and position inside the sleeves and sew on. Intertwine the fingers and add a few stitches to keep together. 
 
 
 

Step 5: Start the Finishing

Add the silicone in blotchy textures onto the neck.  I carved out a spinal like shape out of a piece of builders Styrofoam. It didn't really look good at the time but I figured it'd be dark and no one would come that close anyways.  I added it onto the silicone.  Allow to dry for at least 6-8 hours. In the mean time, start painting the body form where the skin shows.  I layered the silver everywhere and then shaded using bits of the blue. 

When the paint and silicone were dry I used the nail polish to create the blood.  I never realized how much nail polish reeks until I had emptied 2 full bottles out.  Make sure you are in a well ventilated area.  Do it outside if you can.  To my amazement the nail polish started to eat away at the Styrofoam where it had dripped on and the effect was awesome!  I had one bottle of matte red and one that was slightly shimmery which worked out really well.  At the time I couldn't decide which one looked the most realistic so I bought both.  I dripped the nail polish down the neck and dress.  The thicker consistency created a great drip pattern.  The 3D silicon texture makes it even more realistic.



 
 
 
 
 

Step 6: Finished Product

Although the costume is amazing, it's also the make up, hair and role playing that really makes it come alive...or dead... or alive?  Anyways, I bought white spray for hair from the Dollar Store (can you tell I <3 the Dollar Store?), pinned up my hair after using hot rollers and massive amounts of hair spray and sprayed it white.  I applied white cream make up to my neck and shoulders (don't forget your ears) and shadowed my temples, under my eyes, and the hollows of my cheeks to my jawline.  I used fake blood to make cupid bow lips.  I then tilted my head to the side and using a Q tip, dripped blood so it ran from the inner edges of my eyes and edges of my lips to corresponding drops on the gloves.  I already have gray contacts and it helped the effect as well.  I lined my eyes with black carrying the edges out like monster lashes.  The last touch was the mole!  I kept in character through out the night and have lots of pics of me pretending to bite people.  I had a blast!  Hope you enjoyed my first Instructable. I certainly had a great time making it!!!!  :) 
 

Comments

author
billster71 made it!(author)2009-11-14

sweet costume!

author
TORMENTA%21 made it!(author)2009-11-12

omigod that's absolutely STUNNING! great job. i love the way you painted and added the texture of the flesh. brilliant.

author
connielim_2000 made it!(author)2009-11-14

Thanks!  I originally bought the silicone to make a fake brain prop and thought of using it on the neck mid process :)  Glad you enjoyed it!

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Bio: Love the crafts! Love Halloween!
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