Introduction: Trophy (ZOMBIE) Husband

About: ...after 30 years of becoming corporately numb, my dreams of not working (for pay) and instead creating with my hands has become a reality. Life is grand!

I had to kill him.

An attack to the back of the head brought him down but in order to destroy his brain, the sides of his neck, head, and nose took a beating.  With minimal time I was able to salvage my infected husband's head and create a reproduction based on his last appearance on earth.

While the rotting undead can be difficult to kill, I imagine any salvaged head (other than what remains in a wood chipper) can be mounted as a prize winning trophy using this technique.  Follow me as I show you how I did it...

Step 1: Gather Materials

Unknown to me at the time, effective ways to kill a Zombie include:
  • Light 'em on fire
  • Smash it's head in a convection oven while it's on
  • Run over it with a car
  • Apply a .308 Winchester to the head
  • Various Chainsaw techniques
  • Starve the undead out
  • Trap in a pit of concrete
  • Put the Zombie through a wood chipper
In my struggle with my ex-sweetie, none of the above were available to me so I improvised with what was on hand, which included a pair of sewing scissors, a forked weed puller, a box cutter and a broken broom handle.

In order to best represent my ex-lover's head I therefore used:
  • Styrofoam Head (available locally from a Beauty Supply store or online through Amazon)
  • Sharp Knife
  • Tissue Paper, cut into 1-2" strips
  • White Glue and an equal amount of Water
  • Acrylic Paints and Brush
  • Cotton balls/batting 
  • Two Marbles
  • Halloween/Hillbilly Teeth
  • Hot Glue Gun 
  • Cardboard and Woodgrain Contact Paper (or Plywood) - apx 12"x15"
  • 5-6 long Deck Screws
  • Picture Hanger (optional)
  • Box Cutter Blade (optional)
  • Glossy Spray (optional)

Step 2: Carve the Scars of Death

In attempting to carve the scars that destroyed the ex-Mr. brain, I came to realize:

  • With limited function of the frontal lobe, successful termination requires great damage to the head. As a result styrafoam carving should focus primarily on capturing the essence of entrance wounds.  
  • I would've thought large entry wounds would have corresponding exit wound(s), but because none of my weapons exceeded 12" in length, it wasn't necessary to carve exit holes. 
  • I considered keeping the killing implements embedded in the trophy head, but because I may need to use them again, I ultimately decided against it.
  • In theory the soft passageway of the eye socket/ear canal provides the quickest access to the brain, but during my adrenalin moment, I found those areas difficult to target and the best I could do was to slash his neck and take out a chunk of his nose.  
  • Before his demise, my ex-soulmate had rotted teeth, bad eyes and oversized ears.  To fully capture my ex-luvbug's features I carved out those areas and in the next step built up the surrounding tissue with cotton.   Likewise, based on my swinging mop handle, my ex-man finally gained a strong chin and high cheekbones (albeit brusied and pooled with blood) which also required building up (versus carving out) areas with cotton.

Step 3: Build Up and Protect Facial Features

  • After stirring together a mixture of 75% white glue and 25% water (even less water is fine), add a few drops of flesh(?) tone paint.  
  • Next, dip a strip of tissue paper into the glue/paint mixture and with the help of a paint brush (or your fingers) start covering the foam head - - including all wound crevasses, eye sockets and ear canals. By using tissue paper (versus newspaper) unintended creases can be smoothed out, and the remaining texture will give the appearance realistic wrinkles and/or dessicated flesh.  
  • Due to the nature of  extruded (white) foam, tiny pellets of carved foam will attach to everything (especially cats with long hair!).   Vacuum them off as best as you can, and once the foam head is covered with the glue/water/paint/issue paper mixture they can be brushed off or kept to resemble adult onset whiteheads.
  • Since the foam head is not porous, the glue/water/paint/tissue paper will need time for the layers to dry.  I limited myself to only 2-3 layers, and let it dry overnight before adding more layers.   Note that the thicker the layers, the less realistic the skin will appear.
  • While a styrofoam head can capture carved wounds, it fails to reflect raised features such as an enlarged chin, puffy cheekbones, heavy browline, ear ridges, etc....  So after an initial glue/water/paint/tissue paper layer, attach small pieces of cotton to build up these areas, and cover again with a few layers of the glue/water/paint/tissue paper mixture.
  • Even after the glue/water/paint/tissue paper has dried to the foam, additional openings can be added/enlarged as long as they are recovered with glue/water/paint/tissue paper.
*The glue/water/paint/tissue mixture serves several purposes, including 1)helps keep the cut foam from spreading on everything, 2)shows areas where the foam is still exposed, 3)forms an underlying base for the trophy head, and 4)allows paint and hot glue to fully adhere.

Step 4: Add Teeth, Eyes and Bleeding Matter

  • Cut  Halloween/Hillbilly type teeth in half and trim off excessive gumline.  Use a hot glue gun to secure them into a carved mouth opening.
  • If you were unsuccessful in accessing the brain through the eye socket, a gob of hot glue can be placed in the carved eye socket and a marble can be secured on top of it.  Once adjusted in place, add more hot glue to surround the marble.  Additionally, to give the eyes a dead/cataract look add more hot glue over the recently cooled glue.
  • Hot glue is also added to the outside of open wounds to resemble weeping blood and brain matter.
  • To get the neck to lay against the wall mount at the correct angle, place a rubber band at the bottom edge of the front of the neck, and stretch it apx 5-6" from the bottom edge of the back of the neck. Once satisfied with the angle, trace the rubberband outline and saw away excess. 

Step 5: Let the Painting Begin...

Because flesh(?) tone paint was originally mixed with the glue/water/tissue paper, the foam head has an even color.  It's now time to give it an undead appearance by dabbing on pale colors with a sponge.  

Starting with a light green, add additional shades of grayish lavender, bluish pink, murky red, etc... until the head has the apperance of spoiled ground meat.  Once dry, dab grey and bloody red paint onto the high spots that were formed by earlier gluegun gobs to resemble escaping blood and brain matter.

Once satisfied with a splattering of putrid colors, take the dried form outside and spray with a glossy polyurethane finish (optional).

Step 6: Build the Wall Mount

  • Create a shape for the wall mount from cardboard and covered it with wood grain contact paper (or better yet, plywood if you have access to power tools).
  • Trace the base of the neck on to the backside of the covered cardboard.  Still working on the backside, secure long deck screws within the traced area and attach the neck (of the foam head) to the front of the covered cardboard.   
  • As a final touch consider writing the fatal year that life was removed from your marriage onto a box cutter blade (preferably one used in the attack) and attach it to the front of the unit.  
  • Hang the completed trophy in a prominent spot with pride!

Be safe out there!

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