|beginning stage of Mushu dragon costume headpiece|
I can't procrastinate any longer. I started the head, and I'm worried. After taking this picture, I'm not sure if it's going to look as sleek as I wanted it to, but it's really hard to tell at this stage. Here's how I got to this stage…
I cut a strip of screening about 9 inches wide, and about 30 something inches long. Thirtysomething is not very precise, but I tried to leave enough of a flap on the bottom for the flap to reach down the actor's back. I folded it back on itself so that it forms the upper half of the jaw. My thought was at the actor's head would sit comfortably in that semicircular piece of screening that you see toward the middle of this photo. I glued that semicircular piece to the back (trying hard not to burn myself with the hot glue in the process).
At this point I remembered the one thing I hate about wire fencing/screening of any sort. It stabs the hell out of your fingers! I then edged each cut end with duct tape. It was helpful on that first day, but today is two days later, and the tape is no longer stuck on both sides of the wire.
I cut a piece of pool noodle and glued it between the layers so they don't sag together when I add more layers. Pool noodles = bad idea - they melt like CRAZY with the hot glue. Maybe a cool glue gun would work, but I saw some melting even when I thought the glue had cooled. Next time I'll just used rolled cones of screening, even though that presents its own problems…
I attached another strip of screening across the top of the "head" from one side of the jaw to the other. Then I cut into it in several places and overlapped the flaps to "round" out the part that will be the back of the head, and the part that will be the front of the face.
I remembered how much glue drips through the screening and thought, "Hey, I'll try a stapler for some of these jobs!" My first good idea of the night. I used the stapler to attach a fatter part to the end of the upper jaw. I also cut out some oval eye shapes and will attach those next time.
I think I'm going with the spray on Great Stuff, but I'll admit, I'm scared. If it turns out badly, I'll have to start over since Great Stuff is incredibly sticky and messy. I also think I may have to attach another piece of wire to the back flap - not sure it's long enough.
The bottom jaw is going to be a separate piece, but will somehow attach to the top piece and fit comfortably around the actor's face. Still working that out. More at the end of the week.