Introduction: Tim Burton Nine Costume Head

This costume was inspired by Tim Burton's Film "Nine".  There were alot of workarounds to make this costume, so measurements should be used as a guide. Also, it was made based on my body measurements. Hopefully, this will give you an idea of what process I went thru to create your costume and you can modify it to fit your needs.

Step 1: Tim Burton Nine Costume Head: Head Base

1.  2in. width strips of newspaper
2. Tacky white glue.
3. large round party balloon bigger than your head. This will be the base used to create the head for your costume. It must be large enough to fit your head.
4. Something to suspend your balloon while you work on it. ( I used a camera tripod and string.)
5. A brush to spread the watered-down glue.
6. Lots of reference images of "Nine" front, side, top, views...
7. Hot Glue Gun
8. white base coat paint, Black, Reddish brown, copper and gold spray paint.
9. Lightweight plaster.
10. Fiberglass Resin
11. Sand paper
12. 1in foam brushes.
13. Lots of basic brown cardboard. (I used cardboard from boxes and packaging.
The card board should have 3 layers. 2 smooth sides and a middle with air pockets. See Fig.a. You can base the thickness of the cardboard on the part you are using it for. Make sure there isn’t any slick coating or labels on it. This can cause the paint or plaster from adhering to the cardboard.)
14. Compass with Xacto knife
15. Burlap cloth

(Size up your balloon)
1. Inflate the balloon to a size that can fit your head.

(Prep your balloon for papermache)
2. Once you have the size of your head, prepare your balloon to be coated with newspaper. Get your tripod and tie one end of the string to the top of the tripod and the other end to the balloon tip. The balloon will dangle as you place the papermache.

(Create your paper strips)
3. Get alot of newspaper and tear the paper into long strips about 1.5-2in thick.  Set the paper aside.

(Make your paste)
4. Get a bowl and mix the glue with water till you get a milky consistency.

(Apply the newspaper strips)

5. This process will take  some time and patience. Take one strip of newspaper and place it ontop of the balloon and paint on the glue that you made over the strip, coating the entire strip. Repeat this process with another strip of paper, but place it across the previous strip, in a criss-cross pattern. This is important to create a weave of newspaper that will hold together. Work your way around the knot of the balloon and cover the entire balloon.

6. Once it becomes half-way dry, coat the entire balloon again with the strips in a criss-cross weave pattern. You will repeat this step 4-6 times to give your  head a sturdy base. Once you are done let it completely dry. It should be sturdy and fairly hard.  Pop the balloon and you should be left with a hard  outer shell.

Step 2: Tim Burton Nine Costume Head: Shutter Lens Eyes

1. 0.5mm clear tubing
2. lightweight plaster
3. cardboard from boxes
4. Resin
5. clear acetate paper
6. a dowel thats 0.5mm diameter
7. Hot Glue

- The eyes are like a lense shutter. To break it down to simple shapes it’s a cylinder with a wider lip in the front. (See Fig:8c)
- Cut a rectangular strip(b) of cardboard and wrap it around a cylindrical object. I used a pvc pipe about 5 in diameter.
- Cut it so it perfectly butts up to the other end. When I was cutting the cardboard I left a layer of the cardboard paper in tact to attach to the other end. Hot Glue it together to make a ring.

- Cut strip(a) of cardboard and wrap it around strip(b).
- Again, cut it so it perfectly butts up to the other end. Leave a layer of the cardboard paper in tact to attach to the other end. Hot Glue it together.
- Hot Glue the outer ring cardboard(a) to the inner ring cardboard(b).
- There should be a height difference from the inner ring to the outer ring that it creates a ledge inside the eye (See Fig.8a)
- On the other end of the cylinder, attach an end piece cardboard(e) that's the diameter of the hole. (See Fig 8a)
Your end piece is a circle with a smaller circle cut out of it.
- Next wrap cardboard strip © around your pvc to create another cylinder.
- Glue this piece onto cardboard(e)
- Then finish up the piece with cardboard(e) at the end.
- Cut cardboard strip (d) and attach it to the inner ledge inside the eye, out and over to the width of piece(a). (See Fig 8b)
- Cut a small piece of the wooden dowel, about 0.25in. Cut out a groove across the piece to resemble a screw.
- Hot glue this piece on the side where you attached cardboard (d).

Smooth And fill up any imperfections to your Cardboard structure.
- Using the lightweight plaster, you will smooth out imperfections or fill in any gaps of your cardboard construction. You can also use it to bevel or smooth out corners or edges.
- Let the plaster dry and take a fine grit sand paper to smooth things out.

Create the camera shutter iris
- Cut 5 identical circles from white card stock larger than the opening of cardboard(e). This cutout will sit behind the cardboard (e).
- Glue all the circles on one side.
- Cut a circle thru the 5 pieces you glued together to represent the eye. This will be the hole you will see out of, so make it large enough. Also, when cutting out your hole, make sure it doesn't contain the area you used to glue the pieces together.
- With an xacto knife, cut away each layer from the iris, staggering it so it looks like a camera shutter.
- Set this piece aside. You will glue this once the eye piece is done.

Repeat this whole entire eye process for the second eye.

- Once you have both eyes, map out where you will cut out the holes in your head that you will slide the eye pieces in.
- Use a sharpie to trace your hole using your eye piece as a guide, on your head piece.
- Cut out the hole from the head piece. Make sure to make the hole smaller than normal and remove a lil at a time so the eye piece has a snug fit.
- After you have the eyes cutout, determine the position of the mouth and cut that out of your head as well.

- Finally determine the opening of your head piece and cut out the back where you will place your head into.

- Put the head piece on for a test fitting... if everything is kosher, then it's time to coat the pieces with resin.


Step 3: Tim Burton Nine Costume Head: COATING THE HEAD AND EYES

- Buy some Fiberglass resin from your local hardware store, and coat you eyes and head pieces with the resin. Be quick because the resin cures fast once you add the liquid hardener.
- Let dry completely
- Apply 2-3 coats
- I would wear a mask or respirator because this stuff is strong smell'n and probably isn't healthy to inhale the fumes for long periods.

Step 4: Tim Burton Nine Costume Head: Paint the Eyes

- First, I painted the eyes with a matte white base coat.
- I used a combination of 3 spray paints. Metallic Silver, Gold, and Black. This gave me the metal look.
- First I coated the entire thing with silver.
- I then used the gold in blending motion from the back to the front. This created a blending affect from gold to silver.. Overlapping the colors is the key to a great look.
- I paint certain pats all gold for detail..
- To add the dirty distressed metal, I sprayed a heavy amount of black and quickly wiped and smeared the paint off. This created streaks like groove marks and dents etc.  I had plastic gloves so this was easy to do.

-Once this has dried you can attach the iris you created with hot glue inside the eye piece, from the back.

Step 5: Tim Burton Nine Costume Head: Clothing the Head

- Once everything has dried, get the Burlap cloth and coat the entire head using the glue gun to affix the material to the base of the head.
- Cut holes for any openings and fold the material into the opening.
- Be conscious where continue pieces of material. The cloth stretches a lil but you'll need to cut it, so it fits the head tight without any folds or gaps.

- Once you are done with coating the head with fabric, get some brown yarn and a large sewing needle.

- Start adding stitch marks on your head for detail. I created them above the eyebrows and the back of the head.

Step 6: Tim Burton Nine Costume Head: Attach the Eyes to Your Head

- With your eyes finished slide them into the head and attach it using hot glue from the iside of the mask, so not to see the glue on the outside.
- As a clever way to hide the seam from the eye to the head, I painted a piece of water tubing, a bronze color and wrapped it around the seam and attached it using hot glue for a cleaner look.
- Once the eyes are in place I cut out 2 circles out of acetate paper to affix on the eyes to resemble glass from the lens.

Step 7: Tim Burton Nine Costume Head: Adding Cushioning to Your Head.

So right now you have a fairly finished head, but it doesn't quite rest on your head very securely.

- Cushion Foam
- Hot Glue
- Fabric


1- Cut blocks of foam and place them inside your mask. Determine the size and amount of foam you need to make the mask fit . Once you found a reasonable fit, affix the foam pieces with the hotglue gun.

2- For my head piece, I noticed if I moved my head around, the mask rocked back and forth, so I attached two long strips of cloth to both sides of the back opening and used that to tie around my head to secure the mask in place.

Step 8: Tim Burton Nine Costume Head: Lights Optional

- As an added bonus I decided to add lights to the costume.
- I found rope lights or string lights online that were powered by two AA batteries.
- With the battery switch inside the mask I strung the light rope thru holes I created to outline the eyes and the mouth.
- Used hot glue to attach the rope light.
- Note: You may want to string the lights thru the eyes before you affix the eyes to the head.

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