Shannon Fennell's Blog

My life, art, travel, make-up, cooking and the occasional rant!

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Macbeth’s Head, The Sequel

Today I finished construction of the head and secured a rope suitable for using as the handle, which will be disguised later with hair.  At one point it looked more like Robocop without his helmet, but that was just a stage he was going through.

First thing was to wash off most of the powder – just wiped it down with a damp cloth.


Then I threaded the rope (a drapery pull) through the head and secured it.  I used the lid from a yoghurt container to create a stop on the neck to prevent the knot from pulling through the styrofoam.


And here is the top, I’ll attach a longer “handle” once the hair is going on.


I added a short piece of dowel through the knot for greater security, trimmed the tassel off and started to pack pads around the neck and jaw line to fill in the hollows, and connect the neck to the chin.  After I cut up and applied the Always pads (very handy those being adhesive!) I covered with used dryer sheets cut into strips and the blue latex.


I did it in stages.  I did both sides to about the “cheek bones” and all around the neck, sealing up the edges of everything on the lower part of the head.

This is his “Robocop” phase… there is quite a difference from the face to the skull level at this point.  I used a blow dryer to get the latex dry before continuing.  What I like about using the used dryer sheets is that they are very strong and when dried the latex isn’t tacky so powdering it is not essential when working on it.  I did powder the base just to be safe as I was balancing it in the cake cover and didn’t want it sticking to the plastic and drips of latex.


Then I worked on leveling the top of the head – cut up strips of Always and laid them on top of each other until it was level – quite easy as each piece was sticky and stayed where I put it!  Then I applied the strips of latex soaked dryer sheets to seal it all up.


I covered the whole head with the dryer sheets and latex to ensure there were no weak points, and leveled it all off.   He has a nice skull and jaw line now.


Now, he will sit and dry out completely.  I will paint him next Saturday, and start applying the hair after the paint is dry.  I bought a wig and will have to trim it back to match Derek’s hairline.


I’m really happy with it.

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Macbeth’s head

So far… this is what has happened.  Took an impression of Derek’s face… took about an hour all told, with pulling his hair back, covering it, covering his lashes and eyebrows with cold cream, wrapping his hair-line with Saran Wrap… then mixing my pre-measured alginate and water, applying the alginate and then several layers of plaster bandages and some burlap.  Then waiting for it to dry enough to remove.


It came off easily.  Derek left.

I then gave the alginate a few minutes to cure while I cleaned up the mess.  Then I painted the inside with red liquid latex.  I used red because I had a couple of bottles of it  – although, it did really help to see the edges when I was removing it from the mould!


I let it dry in stages balanced on a cake cover.  I was stuffing cotton balls into the crevasses – the eye sockets, the nose, the chin, etc. and soaking with latex so the rubber would hold the shape once it came out of the mould.


Then I shoved a styrofoam head into it!  I switched to the blue liquid latex as I’d used up all the red – Tena pads really soak up the latex!  I was using absorbent pads to stuff in around the head to fill in the voids, then soaking them with latex.  The goal is to keep this light and solid.  The styrofoam head had a hole in the base already so I used a carving knife through the top of the head to make an opening all the way through and sealed up the crumbling bits with latex.  I sat it in the bathroom where it is very warm to dry out a bit… and clean up again as I spilled blue latex all over my lap, the chair and the floor.  Luckily I’d left the drop cloth down from the other mess… but… the chair, unfortunately now has a blue stain.  Oh, and my underwear were attached to my, um, stomach, yeah, my stomach… kinda hurt pulling them off later.


Next step was getting it out of the cast… which is very, very important and stressful!  If it didn’t come out or the alginate wouldn’t separate from the latex I would have a big problem.  I had done a test with the latex and alginate the day before and the latex peeled right off but that was flat…this had nooks and crannies to deal with.  I covered my hands with baby powder and started easing the edges of the latex away from the alginate… I had to be careful as I wanted the styrofoam head to stay connected as that was going to keep the face in the right shape.  It took a long time as I had to work around the edges which were pretty thin, until I got the “pop” of sections separating.  I kept adding powder to keep the latex from sticking to itself – if it does that, total disaster!

It took a lot of work to get the nose loose.  That area was a bit messy as the nostrils were left open (so Derek could breath) during the casting process, and the latex had “bled” out the holes, so it did not want to let go.  Finally it did and that area will need a lot of attention.  I trimmed off a fair bit to get the nose close to normal.

It all came out great though!  I cut the mouth open and stuffed a ton of tissues and more padding into the face to fill out the cheeks, the eyes, the nose and the mouth area – while the inside latex was still damp.


And that’s the stage it is at now.  I needed to let the latex completely dry before continuing on.  Now I need to attach the rope which will be hidden when done, that will support the head being held up.  I have to design a way to secure it for repeated use without pulling through the head or crumbling the styrofoam.  Then, more padding to build up the shape of the head, then seal it all, paint it, lay the hair, and figure out how to make blood drip out on stage!

Dress rehearsal is March 31 so I have a couple of weeks to get it finished.

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I love the smell of rotting flesh in the morning!

Ah yes… it is the season for Zombies… desiccated zombies, bloody zombies, rotting zombies… all types of zombies!

My season of individual Halloween make-up appointments actually started at 9 a.m. yesterday morning – a very early start this year.  I actually have bookings over three weekends.

I had four people yesterday, then late last night I got a message from a director – he needed two Walking Dead style zombies for a shoot today, and could I do them starting at 8 a.m.  I didn’t have anyone scheduled for today (I was planning to bag leaves in the front yard) so said I could do it.  I knew the actors from other shows.

My afternoon clients yesterday left looking like this:

Zombie family portrait (650x800)

And today I made this gal:

tenilleInto this:

zombie tenille

And this guy:

TravisInto this:

zombie travis

So the season is off to a good start I think.


Halloween Part Deux

Today I had a few appointments…

First one was a big SFX job… my regular customer, Chris (who won best costume on Saturday at The Shark Club with face paint) had purchased four foam pieces that he wanted me to apply and finish.

We had originally scheduled the appointment for 6 a.m. but since neither of us had to go to work we changed it to 8 a.m.

The job took about three and a half hours.  His plan was to roam around town scaring people and then go to a club that was having their costume contest tonight… It is early yet and I haven’t heard if he won again.

This afternoon I had an appointment for a person who was going to be part of a haunted house in a town north of here… said to be scary and dead.  So this is what I painted for her… she’s wearing a veil (she’s a mourner at a haunted funeral home).

And another regular stopped by for me to apply a wig and a bit of styling.

Now I am sitting here watching for trick or treaters… so far 25.  They like the full size KitKats.