How to Make a Costume Head

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Paper mache is a flexible medium for making costume heads.
Paper mache is a flexible medium for making costume heads. (Image: person in traditional south korean costume and mask image by Gina Smith from Fotolia.com)

If you are wearing a costume to a party or for Halloween, a costume head is not always a required accessory. Often masks or your own face combined with a changed wardrobe are enough to complete the costume. But for costumes that are not completely human, such as a Lego character, ghost or even a cartoon character, a costume head will help the costume become more believable. If you are making your own costume head, you must take care to ensure that the mask fits well and does not obstruct vision.

Things You'll Need

  • Balloon
  • Ceramic mug
  • White glue
  • Mixing cup
  • Mixing bowl
  • Craft glue
  • Newspaper
  • Cardboard
  • White computer paper
  • Wig maker's dummy head
  • Detail knife
  • Craft paint
  • Brushes

Inflate a balloon to the correct size. The balloon must be larger than your own head so that the costume head will fit over your own head. Place the balloon on a ceramic mug to hold it in place while you work.

Mix 3/4 cups white glue and 1/4 cup water to make paper mache paste in a mixing bowl. Tear newspaper into 1-inch strips.

Coat each strip of newspaper with paste and layer it over the balloon. Use two coats if the strips overlap or four coats if the strips do not overlap. Allow the paper mache to dry before adding another two to four coats of paste. Continue to layer paper mache until the costume head is the thickness that you desire.

Create large eyes, a nose or other features from cardboard. Tape them to the paper surface to form the face. Coat white strips of computer paper in paper mache paste. Layer these strips over the costume head to create a white surface to decorate.

Let the air out of the balloon once the paste is dry. Cut an opening in the round head large enough to slip it over the head of a wig maker's dummy. Cut slits in the front of the mask to see out of using a detail knife. Some costume heads are fashioned so that the eye holes are hidden in the mouth, nose or just beneath the eyes.

Paint the head using craft paint and brushes. Allow the paint to dry before wearing the mask.

References

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