Step 2: The Head!

Picture of The Head!
This is the signature piece of the entire outfit and will take the longest to create but take your time; your patience will be rewarded. I apologize in advance that I did not document this as well as I should have. I will detail everything to the best of my ability. Don't hesitate to ask questions if I could explain a part in more detail.

First you will need to measure from the top of your head to your chin and round up to the nearest inch. My noggin is about 8.5", so I made it an even 9". This will give you how much you will cut from the form tube. Measure that length on the form tube and starting cutting with the handsaw carefully to get the straightest line possible, I used a rubber band to aid me. After its separated, sand the edge you just cut to smooth it down.

Next your going to cut some styrofoam, this can get very messy so have a vacuum/shop-vac on hand. Take the form tube you have cut off and draw the circle out on the styrofoam. Take two sheets of the styrofoam and cut the circle out slightly bigger to sand down later. Do this one more time to create both the top and bottom of the head. You'll have four 3/4" disks total to work with. Two disks for the top and two for the bottom.

The trickiest part of making the head is making the curved ends. Use the spray glue to combine two disks together. Your going to sand this curve into the styrofoam, so take your time and check your work to make sure the curve is even throughout the disk. This will take awhile and there may be easier ways to do this; there could be a part or product somewhere that fits the form tube and provides the curve needed. I just worked with what I had and it turned out great.

Once the curves are similar to the mini-fig's curve, we need to attach the ends to the form tube. Remember when I told you how spray paint loves styrofoam? Well this is the step that you have been waiting for. We are going to tape over the ends.*See alternative methods below* The main reason is to provide that barrier so the styrofoam doesn't make like a magician and disappear. The tape also secures the foam and makes the head a much more durable. Decide which side you want to be the top and secure it by using one continuous strip of tape across the styrofoam, leaving about an inch on the form tube. Continue this until none of the styrofoam is exposed anymore.

Before we tape up the side your going to squeeze your head through, we're going to need a hole made. Take the 8" bowl you'll use for the face later and center it on the bottom piece of styrofoam then mark its position. Now cut the piece out until you have a styrofoam ring. Don't discard this disk, we'll use it in a bit. To tape the bottom is slightly different. Instead of taping across the gap, wrap it around so attaches to the inside of the head. Do this until none of the styrofoam is exposed.

The stub on the top on the head is made up of three 6" disks from the styrofoam. Lucky for you, the 8" disk you just cut out is already two pieces of foam. Cut the disk down to a 6" diameter, make another 6" disk from the foam and glue to the others and you have the stub. Sand the edges so they are smooth.

Now its time to ventilate your head before you attach the stub. Find the center on the top of your head and use the 2" cup to trace your vent hole. Cut through the tape with the X-acto knife and the styrofoam with the steak knife. Find the center of the stub and do the same. Tape up the stub until no styrofoam is showing, leaving the vent hole uncovered. Use 4 or 5 dabs of the Gorilla glue to attach the stub to the head, aligning the vent holes.

After a few suggestions, I figured it would be a good idea to include them into this instructable. Destructions presented a couple of ideas where you could use a higher density Styrofoam then use a lightweight spackel to fill the gaps for an even finish. Yoyocrazyguy mentioned paper mache, which would solve just about all the issues with Styrofoam as well as keeping things nice and smooth. Teethdoc used a product called DecoArt MagiKote which is made specifically for Styrofoam to harden it into a smooth, paintable surface.

In my opinion, the Magikote would work the best in this application. All you would have to do is brush on a couple of coats of it onto the Styrofoam areas to be painted, let dry overnight, then sand till smooth. One catch is that you would have to make sure the Stryofoam is secured from the inside of the head with either tape, gorilla glue, or a combination of the two.
Hm...I just came up with a thought. Instead of using tape, how about paper mache? I think that would be easier to paint and come out with a smoother look.

Using paper machete is a fantastic idea, for all or part of the head. It takes a while to dry, and if you are going to wear the costume, make sure you're not using water soluble glue, or your body sweat will break it down quickly and cause the paint to run. You can treat the paper machete costume afterwards, or use glue that is waterproof. Google waterproof paper machete. http://www.ultimatepapermache.com/waterproofing-papier-mache

pikminkal2 years ago
what do you think of using the egg crate foamy material for inside the head? i'm getting materials together this week for my son's costume!
Kaged Kombat (author)  pikminkal2 years ago
Egg crate foam would be a great replacement to the foam I used. Would help with ventilation too!

Also, I've used the top of a 2-Liter soda bottle to hold large "helmet" masks like this one off the top of my head, without making it sit on my head causing sweaty hair. I simply take whatever is up top and glued in the top screw cap, then take the top of the bottle and slice several strips that fan out and sat on top of my head. Best ventilation I could think of at the time.

hsmith342 years ago
All that carving of styrofoam to make it round seems pretty complicated. Why not just use pool noodles that you find at Dollartree? They are already rounded and pretreated with a water repellant coating so they shouldn't react to spray paint like regular styrofoam. Plus they are pretty cheap. One noodle should work for top and bottom.
hmiller-1 hsmith3410 months ago

Love the pool noodle idea for the curve.

Rosejn10 months ago

Thank you so much for the directions. My son broke his leg first day of senior year and wasn't interested in dressing up for character day during spirit week. I changed his mind and he even added a little something extra!

pshotton2 years ago
Thankyou so much for this, I made a couple of similar heads, using your instructions as a guide. The end results were very well received. Luckily I sourced some thicker styrofoam, so didn't have as much glueing to do. I used PVA glue to cover the styrofoam before painting and also used undercoats of Plasti Kote spray paint, which seemed less styrofoam averse. :) I'll try and post some pictures of the end result later on.
ocodinero2 years ago
buenos dias espero aprender mucho en esta pagina
You can use the hard styrofoam found at hobby stores, it comes in 2in thick sheets. I couldn't find the blue tight cell foam for insulation so i went with what i could find. To smooth it out you can use lightweight spackling, it fills in the texture of the foam and protects it from the spray paint. You can give it a light sanding with a high grit count paper and make it extra smooth.