I started the armature for the Mushu headpiece a few days ago, and then I stared at it for a few days. I stared at it and thought, "It's too bulky." At first I thought I would cover it in Great Stuff (spray foam) and smooth it out, making a coating all around. But the friend who did the bulk of the spraying on The Little Mermaid set pieces for me advised against trying to manipulate Great Stuff before dries. I realized that with the armature so large already, it would leave me little room for carving. If I spray it and decide, "this edge needs to be taken down," but I can't because it's the edge of the screening, that would be a big problem.
So today I went to Walmart and bought some carpet thread and some yarn darning needles (big, fat, long needles), and I did a little slenderizing of Mushu's head. I cut his nose straight down the center, overlapped and sewed it. I cut the side of the face and overlapped and sewed them, bringing the whole thing down and making it narrower from left to right as well. I was happy with the results. I think it leaves me more room for a thicker layer of foam. I might still do some fiddling, but it's a lot closer to the result I was looking for.
Today my dad gave me back the clear plastic Christmas ornaments I had asked him to cute in half for me. They came out exactly how I wanted them (good old Dad! - instead of putting them in a vice and using a Dremel to cut them, he put the Dremel in the vice and moved the ornaments to cut them - great idea!). I also picked up some black and some white tissue paper at Walmart as well as slippers for the actor's feet and a PERFECT red velour sweatsuit.
I painted the inside of each half of the clear ornament with Mod Podge and stuck first black tissue (for the pupils) and white tissue paper (for the whites of his eyes).
My next challenge will be covering the armature with spray foam while avoiding enough of the eye space so that I can put lights inside the headpiece to get his eyes to light up. Maybe this is overkill, but I they can always not use them. I just thought it would look cool. Like this:
Just a little glow.
I also attached his horns, which seem to poke out the back of his head in a very low direction and his ears, which look kind of like donkey ears. There's a notch in one of them, which I added also. Hope I don't lose the location of it when I cover it with spray foam.
Here's a side view of how he looks now:
I still have to form a bottom jaw which will attach to each side of this, leaving a hole for the actor's face in his mouth. I stopped cause I'm a bit stymied. I need to think about how to best accomplish that. Do I spray it separately and attach it later? Should it be hinged, or stationary? Maintaining a hole in the middle for the face of the actor makes it so much more difficult!
More in a couple of days!