Introduction: Crow (Tonto) Headpiece

About: I am happily stationary after years of trotting across the nation. I love tinkering with paint, mixed media and my art boxes. You can usually find me at odd hours with my I-Pod and dried paint on my fingers…
I love Halloween!!!! I love crows too! So after seeing the Lone Ranger coupled with my love of crows I thought it would be a natural fit to combine the two and make it my own.  So Instead of putting a crow on my head I would make a head piece of a crow and then gradually add to the costume (wings, clothing...gotta have clothing!) 

Step 1: Get Your Stuff is what your going to need

A head (or something to initial shape the wire on)
Scultping/modeling wire (found at hobby lobby near the clay section)
Plaster of Paris (get the strips that mimic fabric, also found near the clay section)
Palette Knife (for sculpting)
Paper Mache
Paint (black, blue, white, and purple)
Container for warm water
Paint brush

Step 2: Cut and Shape Your Wire

This is where that handsome bust will come in handy.  Use it!  Shape your crow over the head of the bust that way you won't get poked or lose an eye.  After the rough edges are worked out then you can put in on your head.  I have a teeny head so it was really important to shape the wire to fit me.

Step 3: Tape It

Take your masking tape and work it onto your form.  Be aggressive!!!!!! Make it stick! 

Step 4: Plaster That Bird!

Remember that container of water I told you about?  Make sure that it is warm!!!  This is a must or else it won't work right.  Cut several strips of the plaster of paris fabric and dip it into the warm water.  Apply the plaster to the top of the beak area and also to the eyes.  I based this head piece off of a painting I did (It's loaded onto my pictures if you wanna look).  The eyes were the focal point of the painting and they are pretty important.  Marking them now will make it easier to find them later.  After it has dried, take larger strips of the plaster fabric and apply to the whole figure.

Step 5: Paper Mache

This stuff came out of a bag..and looks like compacted cotton balls.  The rule of thumb and all you will need is 1/2 pound of paper mache to 16 ounces of water.  Add water to your hands as you work this onto the figure.  It takes a while to dry out so really make it count and get it wet!  If it's too dry it will stick to your hands like dough.  When you are done covering the figure wet your hands to smooth it down.  You can use your palette knife to sculpt out the eyes and beak area. **Be less gracious with the paper mache in the beak area.  If it's too heavy it will topple!!**

Step 6: Let It Dry...then Sand

My studio is in the basement....(yes very sad). So it's quite cool.  With a fan on this piece it took about 24 hours to dry.  After drying I sanded it.  I don't want it to be too smooth but do knock out the areas that tend to protrude out.  All sharp edges should be softened. Then try it on.  Feel how much heavier it is on the back?  It should fit like a glove at this point.  I wore mine for about 20 minutes around the house and it really did mold to my head.

Step 7: Paint the Crow

This is not my finished product.  I know me.. I will go back and forth and touch up here and there.  So this is just a basic coloring suggestion to you.  For heaven's sake....don't use straight black!!!!  Use a mix of black, purple and blue.  My crows eyes are blue and he has touches of blue throughout.  I am a natural black haired individual..and even then it's not completely black.  So mix in these colors and don't forget white mixed with the black for the beak. I also used a matte varnish for the beak and sides of the crow while using the glazing medium for the eyes and the top of the head down to the base of the back of the crow.

Step 8: Now Paint Your Face and Embrace Tonto!

Okay...just add your face paint and Voila!!!  You have a costume no one else has!!! Enjoy!

Step 9: Final Touches!

Sorry...but I warned you that I would continue to tinker with here is the final product.  I promise.  I have put my paintbrush down.
Halloween Props Contest

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Halloween Props Contest