Step 1: Find Your Materials
1) Hanging Body Mannequin I found my hanging body form on Craigslist. You can also buy them at any retail display stores. I also considered just offering to buy one at store that had them.
2) A Long Dress or something to look like a dress. I converted a sheer curtain I found at the Buy The Pound outlet of Goodwill ($1.99 per lb-this is before it's sorted, tagged and shipped to the stores). Tip: I got tons of sheets there to cover up my furniture to recreate the look of an abandoned house for my party. Much cheaper than getting them individually at the Goodwill store. Each curtain was approximately $5 at the stores but I got around 9 sheets and 3 curtains for about $25.
3) Backpack Buy one specifically for this project as it will be cut up. I forgot to get one on my Buy The Pound trip so I picked one up at Value Village for $2.99
4) Long Gloves The ones that go up over the elbow, the longer the better so you don't need to make sleeves. I got mine at Value Village as well for $2.99. These were new in the package. I saw them elsewhere for $10-20.
5) Acrylic Paint and Paint Brush fromthe Dollar Store. I bought silver and the darkest blue I could find.
6) Silicone Found the cheapest one at Walmart
7) Nail Polish Red colored like blood from the Dollar Store
8) Packing Tape
10) Glue Gun
Step 2: Mock Up
Put the dress on the mannequin or in my case I wrapped the curtain around in order to get an idea on what I wanted it to look like and figure out how I was going to make it work. I wrapped a scarf around the waist of the form and pulled out the back and sides of the fabric to create a dress like silhouette and to shorten it.
Step 3: Create the Holder
Tape the back pack to the form and wrap the tape up in a criss cross pattern to secure tightly. Remove the hanger portion from the back of the neck. Reserve the screw(s).
Step 4: Make the Dress
Or put the dress on if you have one. My friend Nicole totally helped me with the dress portion. We cut the curtain in half after measuring the lengths we wanted for the front and back panel. We used a glue gun to glue a piece of white fabric to the inside edge of the back as it is all hollow. This piece helped to cover up the back pack since the fabric was sheer. I decided to use the curtain since the pleats created an automatic neck line and the extra fabric from the length helped disguise the fact that it wasn't sewn shut on the sides. I poked a hole at the back of the fabric and put the screw back in just to give it extra stability (Pic 2). I held the pieces together while Nicole sewed stitches in the pleats to keep it together.
Put on the back pack on with the fabric over your head to mark off where you need to cut a hole for your severed head. You'll want to leave some fabric to bunch a bit behind your neck and shoulders. I ended up using another lacy curtain to add onto the dress. It made the dress look a little more authentic and helped tie in the gloves as they were white and the curtain was a cream color. By strategically layering the fabric, it looked like the lace part was an underskirt with the sheer fabric as the outer layer. It was common to dresses in that era. We cut a band off the lacy curtain to use as the belt or sash that ties around the waist of the form and that's what holds the fabric in the right places to make the curtain look like a dress. The rest of the lacy fabric was sewn onto the edge of the hole where my head would be. After tying the belt, pull the fabric out from the top of the belt on the sides to create sleeves.
With the costume on, position the gloves inside the sleeves with enough length for it to look like they are holding the head. The fingers should be comfortably snug under your chin. Stuff the arms with stuffing and position inside the sleeves and sew on. Intertwine the fingers and add a few stitches to keep together.
Step 5: Start the Finishing
When the paint and silicone were dry I used the nail polish to create the blood. I never realized how much nail polish reeks until I had emptied 2 full bottles out. Make sure you are in a well ventilated area. Do it outside if you can. To my amazement the nail polish started to eat away at the Styrofoam where it had dripped on and the effect was awesome! I had one bottle of matte red and one that was slightly shimmery which worked out really well. At the time I couldn't decide which one looked the most realistic so I bought both. I dripped the nail polish down the neck and dress. The thicker consistency created a great drip pattern. The 3D silicon texture makes it even more realistic.