Introduction: Wookie Statue
It's Hallowe'en and loads of people are dressing up. This is unfair and discriminatory to inanimate objects like statues, who want to change their identities for the day too.
Styrogirls to the rescue to give this statue a "face lift". heh heh
Step 1: It's All About the Statue
Find a cool statue that you want to wookify. We found these awesome statues in Vancouver at City Hall by Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz.
Each iron statue is 9 ft high has a bark-like texture... just begging for the wookie treatment really.
Step 2: Measure Your Statue
Even though we knew the statues were 9 ft, we decided to see for ourselves. We forgot our measuring tape, so we used human measuring tape, Tarrin, to get EXACT measurements.
We decided the ratio of our shoulders to the larger statue's shoulders would be about 170%. Give or take.
We took note of the statue's 'neck' shape so that we would know how to install the head later.
Step 3: Tools You'll Need
This is not a technical build at all. Our main concern was having the head not pop off the statue and crush a kid at the bottom. Other than that, we were just hoping to get something "Chewie-esque".
With the exception of buying coloured paper, most of the supplies we had on hand or found in the recycling bin. So here's a very general supply list...
- glue gun
- xacto knife
- step ladder
- measuring tape (if you're a wuss and want to get accurate measurements)
- pink styrofoam
- yoga mat foam or other pvc type foam
- foam paper or felt
- duct tape (obviously)
- glue stick, rubber cement (+ mask for glue fumes)
- Sculpey or other type of clay
- round objects for eyeballs (we used squash balls)
- 1 balloon and paper maché supplies
- coloured brown paper/card
Step 4: Create the Basic Face Shape
We used Pepakura to get a general shape. If you haven't used Pepakura it's really cool. You can download 3D polygon models of all kinds of cool stuff. Use a Pepakura Designer to create cut-out pattern pieces for the models. You cut and glue them together to create a 3D shape.
We chose the 'chewbacca underskull' - unfold.pdo by Jerry W.
It's quite a basic 3D model of the face portion and it worked great. Remember those super accurate measurements we took? We scaled the model up by 170%. In retrospect, I think we should have scaled it up even bigger but we let our "feeling" brains take over our "measurement" brains... and it just "felt" like it was already too big.
Step 5: Paper Maché
So now that we have a nice face shape, we want to create the full skull.
We blew up a balloon and taped it inside the underskull shape. We then paper machéd the whole thing, leaving an opening for the neck. We did a couple of coats.
We duct taped some pink styrofoam structure pieces inside, so it wouldn't collapse on itself.
It's looking rather alien at this point. But we decided to move forward with a wookie even though aliens are cool too.
Step 6: Muzzle and Teeth
One of the main things that gives a wookie it's distinctive face shape is the huge muzzle. It looks almost gorilla like.
Using photo reference of Chewbacca*, we used pink styrofoam to create a hollow 3D muzzle shape. Once we liked the shape, we made some teeth out of clay.
We love our Sculpey! Very easy to shape the teeth from reference, insert a wire and bake in the oven to harden.
We used a pink yoga mat to create dentures which the teeth were glued to, then inserted inside the jaw and paper machéd together. Next time, we'll install the teeth first, then create the jaw around them. Lesson learned!
*Photo reference from Dougie Fett's beautiful Chewbacca build
Step 7: Create a Nose - Scary Clown Edition
We drew on basic form lines on the mask and built a nose out of styrofoam. We got the nose ready but didn't glue it down til later in the build. Tarrin insisted the nose wasn't hugely out of proportion. I don't know about you but I'm getting a scary clown vibe.
Step 8: Face Shaping and De-clowning the Wookie
Now the real face shaping begins. We cut up an old yoga mat (a favourite material!) and any other spare foam and felt pieces we had. We cut out shapes and hot-glued them on the face where needed to give a more 'realistic' wookie face. The main area were around the eye orbitals to create proper eye sockets, cheekbones as well as enhancing the muzzle and putting lips on top of teeth.
The nose was a bit big at this point (finally she admits it), slightly clown-like. We ended up cutting it down to proper proportions, which is easy when working with styrofoam.
Step 9: Another Round of Paper Maché
Once we have all the face padding added, we do another round of paper maché. It helps to visualize how the face is looking. We repeat the padding/paper maché step until we are happy with the full face shape.
Step 10: Paint Face
Time to paint the underlay of the face.
The paint helps to visualize the final shape and get the basic flow of the fur. So if something didn't look quite right we added more foam padding and paper maché again. Not really an exact science.
Step 11: Add Some Eyeballs
We made eyes and painted them. We just used what we had on hand... squash balls. We painted the eyeball and then hot-glued them inside the sockets.
We should have been more careful when we set each eyeball in the socket - to make sure they lined up - we ended up with slightly intoxicated Chewie.
Step 12: Neck Brace Installation
At this stage we also fashioned a styrofoam neck brace that would be a crucial part of installing to the statue. Sort of a base structure, that was duct taped together to fit snugly in the neck hole. We did a midnight run ahead of time to test sizing and installation logistics. The head was looking a little out of proportion at this point, but we knew the 'furring' process would add bulk.
We were not arrested. Always a mark in the 'plus' column.
Step 13: Cut Out Strips of Wookie Hair
We decided to use strips of paper instead of actual fur as we thought it would go better with the statue aesthetic.
We chose different shades of paper that were about the right tone for Chewie's face. He actually has quite a lot of colour variation.
We chose wood grain paper as well from Michael's to give it that hairy feel.
We cut the paper into thin strips (keeping the strips together at the top so that we still had full sheets of paper). We cut all types of hair pieces based on the diagram. Short hairs for the beard, long darker ones for the top and back of head, thinner lighter ones for around the eyes.
Step 14: Layer the Wookie Hair
We then applied the strips, starting with the back of the head first, at the bottom. Using the glue gun we kept adding rows and rows of different hair pieces until we reached the top.
The face was last, and this is where we did more detail work and used smaller chunks of stripped paper. We just kept layering and layering up the pieces and patterns as we went along. We used glue gun and rubber cement on anything that would be visible.
Step 15: Paint the Hair and Features
We darkened around the eyes, painted the nose, and painted the muzzle.
Step 16: Final Touches and Selfies
We decided to blow dry his freshly painted face and to give him that wind-kissed look. I forgot how big his head was, or how very small our heads are. It's a toss up.
We added some vaseline to the eyes and teeth and nose, to give it a nice 'wet' authentic organic feel. I tried to convince Tarrin that licking the eyeballs would do the same trick. But I had already fooled her into doing that once before.
Step 17: Accessories: Arms & Bondelier
To complete the transformation of the statue, we also made arms and a bondelier (utility/ammo belt). This really tied everything together.
These elements were quite simple, just styrofoam, paper, and paint for the arms. Fabric, styrofoam and paint for the bondelier.
We decided to make 'mini' bondeliers for ourselves and pose with our giant wookie.
Step 18: Installation
We had to get up on a step ladder to install the wookie head. You never know how people are going to react when it looks like we are defacing a beautiful statue. We had a couple of cops heading our way, but really only got a chuckle and a wave. Master criminals we are not.
Step 19: Installation Complete
I feel like we made a statue feel a little less left out this Hallowe'en.
Unfortunately Tarrin became just a littttle too bonded to him...
Step 20: Don't Be Inappropriate With Your Wookie
Tarrin took him home for the night. What did I expect really?
We have a be nice policy.
Please be positive and constructive.