Have you ever wanted to have a big head?!? I’m sorry. What a ridiculous question! Who hasn’t?!?!? Well, here is you Geek Techniques instructional on making yourself that very huge head!
How to Make a Big Head Costume
by Grant Davis
NBA JAM! GoldenEye! Mortal Kombat… 4? Remember all those video games that gave you the code to do ‘Big Head Mode‘? Or those bobble-heads like Bobble-Head Dwight Schrute from ‘The Office’! Well, I decided to take this idea and make Halloween costumes this year with me as a big-headed…me! I also documented it (for the most part) and thought I should jump on Geek Techniques (with Kayla’s blessing) and let y’all know how you can make one for yourselves!
What You’ll Need:
• A Stack of Newspapers
• Tape – I use masking tape
• Scissors and/or Exacto Knife
• Glue – Hot-Glue Gun works well
• A Medium or Large Bowl
• Paint – I used a peach color for my skin tone and mixed peach and red for the lips
• Felt (optional) – I use black and white
• Fur Fabric (optional) – Choose for your hair color if your hair is short
• Ribbons (optional) – Coupled with felt, this can be used for longer hair
• Bicycle Helmet
• Large Piece of Foam – at least 14″ x 14″ x 4″
Step One [Building the Skeleton]:
First we start off by building the skeleton, or frame for the head. In order to keep this nice and light so you can wear it around comfortably, we will do this with newspaper (Fig 1a). Have masking tape at the ready, and roll up individual pages (2-pg spread full sized newspaper) at a diagonal into tight skinny rolls (Fig 1b). Tape the rolls with masking tape. Make about 20-25 rolls. Each roll should be roughly 24″ long.
Begin to tape the skeleton together based on how you want your head shape to be. Since everyone has a different shaped head, these next steps are dependent on what works best for you. For my head, I wanted it to be longer with a squared off jaw. I began by making the three horizontal rings. The top two are roughly parallel. The bottom ring connects to the back of the middle ring and extends downward in the front about 6 inches to form a jawline (Fig. 1d). Then I added the vertical pieces to define the shape of the head from both the front (Fig. 1c) and side profiles (Fig. 1d). Finally, I added rolls of paper for the nose and ears.
Don’t worry about making this perfect. You just need a rough structure to start with it.
Skeleton done! Onward to step 2!
Step Two [Paper-Mache the Head]:
We are on to the paper-mache section! But, before we start to paper mache, it will be best if we cover all of those open gaps with newspaper or magazine pages (Fig. 2a). This will make it MUCH easier to paper mache and, it can give rounded definition to your head. Tape paper to the rolls to fill each of the open sections of your head and be sure to bow the paper outward just a bit so that it makes the section rounder rather than a bunch of flat panels.
Now you are ready to do the paper-mache. First we mix up a bowl of paste, which is flour and water (Fig. 2b). You want the consistency of the paste to be pretty watery, but still a creamy white color, so mix accordingly (as you begin to use up the paste it will begin to thicken so you will just want to add more water to the mix and make up a new batch when it runs low). Next, you will want to cut up a bunch of strips of newspaper. The length can vary and you can always rip it into shorter pieces but you will want the width of the paper to be about 1-2″. Once your supplies are set, you can begin to paper-mache. Dip individual strips of paper fully in the paste and then, as you pull it out of the bowl with one hand, strain the paper between your fingers to remove any excess paste (you mainly just need it wet). Begin applying the strips both horizontally and vertically to cover the head (Fig. 2d). Smooth out the paper so there are no wrinkles as you go. Each layer you should give a few hours to dry before you apply the next layer. You will want to do 2-3 layers to for the base.
The nose and ears got a bit more detail on the head I made. I shaped the bridge of the nose and balled up dry paper for the nostrils before doing the mache over all of it. Likewise, I shaped the ridges of the ears with pieces of wet paper and then did the mache over the shapes I wanted. Once the head is dry, you can cut out the mouth (Fig. 3a). Draw an outline for how you want the mouth. Using an exacto knife and/or scissors, cut out the hole for the mouth. Once the mouth hole is cut up then paper-mache around the lips to clean up the edge. Add more paper to the bottom lip and paper mache over it if you wish to give the bottom lip some additional weight. Don’t forget to also paper-mache around the bottom edge of the head where it curls to the inside so that you make it look clean as well. Add 2-3 more layers of paper-mache over everything and make sure that you have clean edges.
*Tip: place the head on a stand (I use a 5 gallon bucket) to make it easier to paper-mache around it.
Step Three [Painting and Decorating the Head]:
Time to make that head look the way you want it to look! Whether you want it to look like you, look like a robot, or a monster, or cartoon character, or whatever, thats your call. But I will walk you through what I did for mine. First, I painted the whole thing a flesh tone with acrylic paint (2 coats). The specific color that I used was “peach”. Next I added the hair. For the hair I found some brown fur at the craft store and used four 12×9″ pieces that I hot-glued on and trimmed to match my hairline. Then I added eyebrows some chin hair and a lil’ soul-patch to make it look like me! An alternate for the hair (which my my wife used (Fig. 3d)) is to use felt as a base, cut to the shape of your hair, and then add ribbons over top for texture. For the eyes, take and cut two circles out of black felt. then cut 2 smaller round shapes for each eye for the reflection glares. On my wife’s head we painted the lips by mixing the peach paint with some red acrylic paint for a rosy color. Well, once you have decorated your own head with whatever variation we are ready for the last step…
Step Four [Securing the Helmet]:
So, now you have your head lookin the way you want it! What’s left? Making it so you can wear it! First off you want to fill the top part of the head with crumpled newspaper. This will make it more solid but still light and mark where the foam pad will go. Fill up the newspaper to about half the head (Fig.4a). Next you need to attach the helmet to the foam. I am sure there are more elegant ways to do this, but I just tied the helmet to the foam with a bunch of twine (use scissor to poke holes into the foam), threading it through the helmet and foam (Fig. 4b and 4c). Next, simply wedge the foam into the head (Fig. 4d). You may need to cut the foam smaller to fit it in the head. While I didn’t need to glue the foam in since it already fit so snug, you may need to use a hot-glue gun it as well. Adjust everything accordingly so it fits your head when you try it on.
Step Five [Look Awesome!]:
Strap your head in there and work that shit! If you are gonna have a head this big, you better have an ego to match. So go out into the world confident that you look like a badass!
If you end up making your very own giant head for whatever reason, we here at Geek Techniques would love to see the results! Please feel free to post your pics below! And be sure to ask us if you have any questions!
Keep checking back for more cool ideas here!