Halloween 2011 - Barbara & Adam (Beetlejuice)

The best costumes I’ve made are also the ones I’ve took the most photos.

Here are the costumes I was aiming for in this years Halloween Quiz - from the great film Beatlejuice:

If you have the dvd you can take loads more screen shots from this bit in the film to help you see the heads from all angles. A must really.

So to start with I began constructing the general head shapes from cardboard. You just want to make sure you can get the heads to fit your own and work out how they will stay on your head.

Then came the tongue which is made from cardboard and a wire coat hanger.

The eyes are made from two rollerball deodorant balls. I stuck a pen through each of them and sprayed them white. The iris are printed outs on paper and stuck on with glue. Then added a bit of red paint and red biro for veins. They are covered in epoxy resin to give them a hard shiny coat.

Some adjustments to the head.

Plates for the mouth.

More adjustments with the eyes in.

Try on for size. If I could do this again I would have made it smaller. I didn’t realise how big the piece would get once I added the paper mache paste. Looks good though.

Added some stuffing. I ended up taking a lot out.

Padded the tongue out with tissue and covered in masking tape.

Made a start on the Adam head. Again just a cardboard band round the head which holds the features in place. Again its stuffed with paper.

Made a start on the hand that comes out of the head. 

Two cardboard circles for the eyes.

Covered in masking tape. I’d leave this out cos it didn’t stick too well so ended up ripping most of it off. Starting to take shape here.

I added a mouth here, but ripped it out at the end because I wasn’t happy with it and it would have got in the way of the wearer’s mouth.

Here I cut out the roof and floor of the mouth to leave a gum to attach teeth.

Two evenings work.

Made the teeth next. The are made out of modelling clay. Each is a small cube of clay shaped with an earbud and a butter knife. You can smooth them out with a brush and water. There’s 88 here - made 120 in the end.

Here I added more cardboard for the eyes and to get the shape of the skin stretched over the gums. 

Started adding the paper mache paste next. Find a recipe on the internet, but it’s basically 1 roll of toilet paper, about 150ml white glue, tablespoon of flour, 2 tablespoons of linseed oil and a splash of water. I ended up making it up as I went along. You need to be able to spread it without it cracking.

I used about 4 or 5 rolls of paper to cover the two masks inside and out. The paper in the background are rolls not yet covered in the glue.

Get it as thin as you can because it gets heavy.

I used an oven to speed up drying. Don’t leave it unattended like I did!

Add detail with the paste.

Ok, so I ripped off the rim of the gums I made earlier because I couldn’t make holes in it to fit the teeth. I just made the teeth long and glued them to the outside rim of the mouth.

I’ve also cut the floor and roof of the mouth out to curve them. Think I removed a lot of the stuffing here.

Also some paper strips glued all over at this point for extra strength.

Cover the whole lot in the paste and start painting.

Side view. I would have curved the sides more if I could do again.

The teeth are now dry and sprayed white. Diluted some black paint in water to add shadows, then cover in the same epoxy as the eyes.

The tongue was also covered in paper mache paste and painted. I’ve not sanded this piece as the cracked and a good texture.

The adam masked stripped of the mouth and covered in paste. First coat of paint.

Because the Barbara mask was so heavy I had to add this bit of card to get the weight to pull against the back of my head.

More painting. You can see here that the paper mache paste has gone right round the teeth in order to make gums and keep them in place. This needs doing on the inside as well.

Getting there.

Wish I had more time to smooth the skin out.

Different view.

Try on.

Eyes are stuck on tooth picks.

For the costume I got a vintage dress off ebay. Search for ‘floral’, ‘ditsy’, ‘50’s’ etc. You need some white tights with the highest denier you can find - 120 here, also some cream or white slips ons and a curly brown wig to glue on the top.

And here it is:

Side view. You can see here how big it ended up. Would go smaller if you can.

Here we are on the night. For added bonus get an old book and print off the cover for ‘Handbook for the Recently Deceased’.

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