Thursday, August 30, 2012

How to jazz up a styrofoam head

Now that I'm working on a lot more millinery, and signing up for a lot more shows, I found I had a dilema: How do I display everything?

When I first started my business, I bought a couple of these painted mannequin heads and Halloween wigs to really jazz up my outdoor display, especially when I was out on Telegraph Avenue. It's all about getting attention, right? But they aren't really fitting in with the way my booth currently looks. It was time to try something new. It was time to mess around with a styrofoam wig head.

I only had one on hand, holding a wig in a vintage wig case. Somewhere, deep in my studio, was a box of old art supplies from my "let's try decoupage!" phase.

I also had a box of faux parchment paper. Just like in grade school, I began to rip it into strips and pieces. The varnish didn't work, by the way--not only had it separated into solid and not-solid, but, as I also realized from grade school, the sticky stuff needs to smell like glue! Thank goodness I did have the decoupage finish too, and it still had the right consistentency.

I glued on about two layers of the paper, going round and round until I was happy with how it looked. Tearing the paper definitely made a difference too since (again, more grade school memories!) the torn paper made a flatter seam. I also tore itty bitty pieces to go around the nose and mouth.

I highly recommend doing this over a pie pan since it's a wet, sticky mess. Had I done it on newspaper only, I suspect the newspaper would have been stuck all over the base of the head and it would have stained the table. I also liked the foam brush because it could hold a lot of the glue--after all, you want those paper strips to be pretty much soaked, right?

Here's a tip: don't do your nails the night before handling wet paper covered in glue. Your carefully painted digits will be covered in gobs of sticky, glue covered paper that loves to hang onto, and peel off, nailpolish.  Ironically, I almost NEVER paint my fingernails since I work with my hands so much but I had a girly moment the night before. Ah, well. Live and learn.

The next day she was completely dry and I gave her a test run by setting her on a wig base (the base adds weight and stability) and displaying hats on her at a show. I've also started using her as my model for my photos:

I'm still figuring out the perfect combination of backdrop + display when I take photos, but this was definitely a good (and inexpensive!) solution to my display needs, and I like the vintagey look. I'll need to make about 5 more so I have a nice display at my next show. I'll do it right after I do my nails....

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