The idea to make a demon head was put in my brain after seeing these masks for sale on the Pumpkinrot Blog. Right around the same time, I visited Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios and got some more inspiration. One of their haunted houses in 2008 was called The Hallow. This maze was filled with all sorts of classic Halloween imagery, including witches. The witch scene in this haunted house featured a big cauldron with wonderful demon faces around it's rim. Knowing that my witches were lacking a proper cauldron, I decided that I was going to attempt to recreate the professional movie studio quality prop using paper mache.
I got busy building. I figured the demon heads to decorate the rim of the cauldron would take the most time so I started them first. The cauldron was started and I ended up building a frame out of rolled up newspaper, but as Halloween came closer and closer, I realized there wasn't any way I was going to finish. Once I had my realization, I put the cauldron aside and decided to at least finish a few of the heads.
This Instructable documents the results.
Step 1: Armature...
When building the demon heads, I needed something to use as an armature to put paper mache over. I could have used a pre-made plastic skull, but that would have been cheating in my opinion. I like making all of my paper mache creatures from scratch. I ended up making the armature out of crumpled up newspaper, aluminum foil, and duct tape.
The rounded top of the head was made from a few sheets of newspaper crumpled up into a ball. For the eye sockets, I took a sheet of aluminum foil and pressed two ping pong balls into it to form the shape. The lower part of the head was made from more newspaper, and finally all of the newspaper was covered in aluminum foil. The different parts were all duct taped together into one uniform armature.
Step 2: Paper Mache
After getting the armature of the basic shape of the head together, I covered it in paper mache. Here's the basics:
1- Get some sort of container to create your glue. I used an old tupperware.
2- Get some flour. Normal bleached flour works just fine. Put a few spoonfulls into the container. The exact amount really doesn't matter. I actually have no set amount that I keep to every time. If it's not enough flour, I add more.
3- Add some salt to the flour. I've heard it keeps the bugs from eating the flour in the glue. I have no bug problems, so I blame the salt.
4- Add water. Mix until the flour is mostly dissolved.
Take some scrap paper and rip it into strips. Dip the paper into the glue and stick it to the armature. The glue doesn't stick to the foil that well for some reason, so the paper mache won't hold too well until the strips of paper start overlapping. Put on a few layers and let the head dry. Repeat until the paper mache gets nice and strong. I normally put somewhere between 5-10 layers of paper, letting the head dry about every 3-4 layers.
Step 3: Disect
Once enough layers paper mache were built up and had completely dried, I made a few cuts in the back of the head. One long cut was made vertically from the chin to the top of the head. Another was made horizontally just above the eyes. I bent the paper mache until I was able to pull the armature out, and I then closed up the cuts with duct tape.
This step really isn't necessary. If you leave the armature in the head, it will weigh more, but that's the only real issue. I wanted to make multiple demon heads, so I removed the armature so I could easily repeat the past two steps.
Step 4: Repair
Add a few more layers of paper mache over the head, especially around the areas with duct tape holding the cuts together.
Just don't put too many. This particular head pictured got too soggy and started sagging in this step. I think I kind of like the flat look though.
Step 5: Make the Horns
These are simple. Take a sheet of paper and roll it into a cone. Hold it's shape with some tape, and bend the cone in places if you want curvy horns.
Step 6: Attach the Horns
Attach the horns to the top of the head with some tape. Once nice and secure, next add several layers of paper mache over the horns, especially over the tape.
All pictures on this step were taken in my garage where I normally work on my paper mache. There is a mirror on the wall behind the demon head in the pictures I took. Am I the only one that sees eyes staring back at me in that mirror? Do I have a haunted garage?
Step 7: Skin
For the final few layers of paper mache, I covered the head with tissues dipped in paper mache glue. Folding and rolling the tissues in specific areas allowed me to build up facial features such as the eyes and mouth. The tissues give a nice wrinkled skin-like quality to the head.
Make sure the head is thoroughly dry before moving on.
Step 8: Paint
I went into my garage and found a can of old spray paint sitting with my paints. I went outside with the head and sprayed a few coats of paint onto the head until I was satisfied.
Once dry, I then covered the head with a few layers of spray-on polyurethane.
Step 9: Hook
Once everything was dry, I found an eye hook in my garage and screwed it into the back of the head. It made it nice and simple to hang over a nail.
Step 10: Done...
I hung the head on a wall outside of my house and draped some orange "Halloween lights" over the horns. I actually don't think any trick or treaters really noticed the demon head, but that's not too surprising since only ten came to the door this Halloween (down from over 100 last year).
Participated in the
DIY Halloween Contest