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Topic: Midsummer Night's Dream- ass's head made from florist's foam!  (Read 3531 times)
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lisatrix
« on: May 21, 2007 01:57:47 PM »

I'm the 'company artisan' for a campus theater company, which basically means I do makeup, and I also make the stuff the propsmaster can't make. In the case of our latest production, A Midsummer Night's Dream, the latter category included the ass's head that Bottom has to wear. The only requirements were that it not cover the actor's face, and that it be really easy to put on and take off.

After considering a number of ideas for lightweight materials, I decided to use florist's foam, the green stuff that comes in blocks. I chose a special water-absorbing kind, because it had a finer grain. The foam cost about $10.

After researching the shape of a donkey's head, I stacked the foam and glued it together.



I then carved it- MESSY AS HELL btw- and covered the resulting shape with paper mache. I also carved out a hollow on the underside, into which I glued a baseball cap sans brim. I only glued the front half down, which means it's still fully adjustable to any head size. (Which means I can wear it to costume parties, even though Bottom had kind of a huge head.)

SO ANYHOO I then added cardstock ears and painted it with cheap acrylics. And then it was go time.





This method worked REALLY WELL, by the way. If you ever need to make a wearable light-weight 3D object that looks as if it has some heft to it, try this method. This thing can't have weighed more than two pounds, and it cut like butter when I was carving it. (Of course I had to cut through the dried glue bits where I'd stuck the blocks together, though.) Just keep in mind that it's foam- it won't survive tons of pressure. But it held up fine through seven runs and three rehersals with only minor tearing of the paper mache, which was invisible from the audience.

ALSO- I just got a job at JoAnn's. I've heard good and bad, but my boss seems very nice and is letting me keep my hair (now without the teal):
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v338/lisatryxx/IMG_8824-1.jpg
So it seems like a pretty chill location.
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something_wierd
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« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2007 02:12:15 PM »

I used a similar technique for a female torso sculpture for an art class.  After carving and shaping, I painted it with layers of watered down joint compound (for drywall), an sanded every few coats.  It was super messy, I always got foam bits in my bra somehow.   Shocked  Makes a great lightweight sculpture medium, eh?

I also work at Jo-Ann's.  The discount certainly was helpful during that art class.  Hope you enjoy your job!
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« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2007 02:17:27 PM »

Whoooooooaa! Great idea- this is fantastic!! We did 'Midsummer' at school for my senior play- I was Titania. Fun to play!!
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lisatrix
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2007 02:22:07 PM »

I used a similar technique for a female torso sculpture for an art class.  After carving and shaping, I painted it with layers of watered down joint compound (for drywall), an sanded every few coats.

Oh man! I was actually thinking of using sanded joint compound over a stuffed 3D duct tape form, which I would then cover with gesso and paint, for an art project I've been thinking of doing. Watered down, you say?
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something_wierd
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« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2007 02:36:08 PM »

Watered down, you say?

Putting on the joint compound right out of the bucket almost always resulted in cracking.  You thin it down just enough so that it could be applied with a paint brush.  It doesn't seem to like to dry properly on foam, especially the curvy parts. 

Gesso would probably be a good idea, especially if you are using expensive paint, since the joint compound absorbs paint so much.  Then you probably wouldn't have to do a zillion coats of wal-mart paint like I did.  Hehe.
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susankg53
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2007 03:27:34 PM »

love that head, I wish I had enough talent to do a dragon's head
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mandodeb
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« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2007 06:46:08 PM »

Question:  What did you use to carve the foam after you glued it together?  A knife?  An electric knife?  Thanks.
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lisatrix
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2007 07:06:47 PM »

Question:  What did you use to carve the foam after you glued it together?  A knife?  An electric knife?  Thanks.

Just a sharp tableknife, and an exacto for tough spots. This stuff doesn't need an electric knife at all.
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something_wierd
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« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2007 08:07:40 AM »

If you have a rasp, that can make smoothing and removing lots of foam very easy.
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Daria67
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2007 04:22:46 PM »

impressive! i'm making a bird headpiece as part of a parade costume and had considered using some sort of foam. what sort of glue are you using?
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