Introduction: The Mummy - Simple But Scary!
I love old horror movies and in particular those from the 30s, so I thought this year I'd make a Mummy costume and a mock up of a poster in homage to all those deliciously frightening hours I've spent watching B&W films on a small screen.
As you will witness as you go through the finished costume images and even when you look at those above, by the way the head is wrapped you can totally change the Mummy from creepy to almost...cute. I did both, using the gruesome one for my mock poster.
Many years ago I was very lucky to be in Belgium when they were running a 48 hour festival of old horror movies on the big screen and was lucky enough to see some of the great classics: The Mummy, Dracula, The Bride of Frankenstein, Cat People, The Wolf Man.... as well of the more obscure Art Cinema horror: The Queen of Spades, Nosferatu, The Cabinet of Dr Caligari... I managed 24 hours which I think was pretty good going.
These films relied on no or very few special effects and their sense of horror came not from gore and violence but from the distant dragging of foot along a sandy floor, the play of light and shadows on a swimming pool wall or the wail of a wolf in the night.
Be very afraid............
Step 1: Materials & Equipment
1 old double bed sheet or similar large piece of cotton material
2 head lamps each with one round light and side press on/off switch
1 sheer nylon stocking 'flesh' coloured
1 pair of leggings pale coloured
1 long or short sleeved T-shirt pale coloured
1 bulky but light scarf - I had a crocheted once which looks like brain
A sunny day
Pair of scissors
Needle and thread or safety pins
Yellow/brown shade of nail varnish
Step 2: Prepare the Mummy Wrappings
I placed my sheet in a bucket of hot water to which I added natural dyes:
3 tea bags of your choice - I used Pukka 'Three Cinnamon' because it had a great rich brown colour
1 teaspoon of coffee grounds
½ teaspoon of cocoa powder
Ring out excess moisture and put out to dry.
By dyeing the sheet this way, you will get an uneven staining, which looks more like real wrappings and you will get residues from the tea, coffee and cocoa which add to the true dusty/sandy Mummy-look.
The sheet also has a great aroma and as I'm using all organic produce, will be kind to your skin and lungs.
Step 3: Making the Mummy Wrappings
With a pair of sharp scissors, start by making cuts every 2" at the top of the sheet, so as to cut though the hem to reach a single thickness. As I got near to the end of my material I cut two strips 4" wide, as this makes it quicker and easier to wrap the torso. Also I split one of the 2" ones into two when I came to do the hands and I used a short length of this 1" width to create the creepy face.
Tear the sheet into strips.
By tearing the sheet rather than cutting it you will get more authentic creepy-looking wrappings.
Step 4: Wrapping the Head
I wrapped the head of the Mummy costume first because I wanted to make a poster and get the photo shoot done for that. It is also a good idea because the head needs to look authentic but not be too heavily wrapped. So doing the shoot meant we could work out how wearable it was because with the addition of the 'brain' the head gets hot if the wrappings are too tight and heavy.
You can see from the photos that you can get a lot of personality into the character by the way you wrap the head. If you don't make the crossover wrap on the face you leave more of the mouth slit open and can create a more lovable 'funny mummy' as you will see particularly in the image in my final step.
Start with tying the stocking in place. This covers the eyes and allows the wearer to see. With the added head height it also makes the gap left in the wrappings look like the mouth.
Next position the headlights. One each side diagonally across the brow. (see photo above)
Now begin the wrapping. I started by running lengths around the face from the jaw to the top of the head, I believe, this is meant to hold the jaw together before rigor sets in. Then I continued around the head to cover the mouth and chin.
Place the scarf on the head in a loose pile to make the brow/brain.
Then make two slits for the false eyes in one of the strips and tie this around the head to hide the head lamps.
Start freestyle wrapping but I would end with a traditional cross-over wrapping on the face if you want a more sinister expression.
Check to make sure you can access the push on switches for the head lamps.
Even without the lamps switched on you get a rather eerie reflection from the sunlight - and in our case in only one eye.
Step 5: The Body
Put on the undergarments, it's much easier if you've got something to pin the wrappings to but if you are or are going somewhere very warm then you may just want to wear regular underwear and tie the wrappings to each other in one continuous length and finish with a bow or knot at the end. Obviously the arms will have to be done separately, unless you want to wrap down and back but from experience that makes for a really hot Mummy.
Start at the feet and work up.
Leave a length to drag on the ground so that you can tear a little more and fray to look like the Mummy has been out and about and is horribly coming unwrapped.
Optionally paint the toe nails with a yellow coloured varnish to make the toes look embalmed and very aged.
Working on the arms and hands you have the choice to do a full-fingered wrap or the much easier 'mittens'. If you're going to a party and want to eat then go with the former but if you are pressed for time go with the mittens.
Try a few exercises when you are done to see if any gaps appear and add more wrappings if necessary.
Participated in the