Tuesday, 10 April 2018

The Evil Scarecrow Hallows Costume Part3

In this post I'm showing you how I made the mask and hood part of the Evil Scarecrow Halloween costume.

The piece was obviously going to be made out of hessian to match the rest of the outfit, and be inkeeping with the look of traditional scarecrows that tend to have hessian/jute sacking for their heads....and on researching for ideas I came across some fabulous scarecrow masks but I had a number of concerns.

Most masks made and for sale on the internet, were full head pieces and the mouths quite restrictive, some closed. Most were professionaly made and contained latex inner skins or other specialist materials. Firstly I was very much the amateur making this and didn't have access to a lot of their materials and tools to make in the same manner,  secondly we were drinking and eating at the Halloween party so I had to make the mask a bit more 'user friendly' for Clive so he could remove part or all of the mask without ruining the overall look of the costume...and also, importantly, he had concerns a full head piece and hat would be too hot to wear, so I had to design with comfort in mind too.

I decided on a three piece...the hat, with a hood (balaclava style with face section exposed) and a separate mask section that could be easily taken off (to eat and drink) and replaced quickly without disturbing the hood and hat...or the hood removed too so he could still wear the hat alone and still somewhat retain the look of the scarecrow.
To start.... I used a corner section cut from a large hessian bag/sack (you could sew two triangles of fabric) the open end rounded off and long enough so when worn over the head, it comes down and covers the shoulders.
The face hole was cut out and the raw edges turned in, and hemmed.
A noose was made from thick jute rope to tie around the neck and bring the hood tighter. That was pretty simple!
Now to the face mask part. A previous trip to the pound shop had resulted in a small purchase of useful halloween props (rats used for this costume...see previous posts) including this rigid plastic skull mask. Perfect to use as a base for my scarecrow mask!
I reshaped the skull, removing the nose and lower mouth part, turning it into a 3/4 mask and a base layer of hessian fabric was glued to the plastic. I used basic pva glue for this...it is a good adhesive to use with hessian, it soaks in, making the fabric pliable and easy to manipulate..and when it dries, makes it semi rigid so it holds more shape. I buy my pva glue in large container sizes from builders merchants/diy stores. I use a lot of it in my art and crafts so it's cheaper to buy this way, plus I personally think it's a slightly more concentrated version than a lot of craft pva glues...so a bit stronger.
The mask already had two holes in the sides, so I re threaded the elastic and tried it on the mannequin along with the hood, for size and best placement.
I then started building up the features of the scarecrow mask. I needed it more exaggerated because the layers of hessian I would be adding would cover and dilute what is already there on the preformed mask. Firstly making the brows more defined and heavier by rolling up remnants of hessian, binding with thread and gluing in place.
I started adding layers of fabric to the lower part of the face so I could start sculpting the nose, mouth and lower jaw.
I glued folded layers of the hessian to form the nose, mouth and lower jaw, but was careful not to apply too much glue...and only on specific areas in order to keep the fabric soft and pliable. I stitched any non glued areas in place with cotton and needle. I also built up a raised wavy scar like line on the head.
Once all the structure was complete I began applying the final top layer of hessian fabric.
An over sized piece of fabric was used so there would be excess to create drapes on the lower neck and creases and folds around the face.

I adhered the top layer to the eye and nose area, using pva glue, keeping the rest free and loose to manipulate and stitch in place.
Here you can see what it looks like from inside...and I started opening up the eye sockets...Clive need to be able to see...obviously!
Using matching coloured cotton, I formed folds and hand stitched the fabric, forming the nose...
then the mouth, and drapes around the face.
Once all the glue was dried and I was happy with the look of the mask, The hessian got the paint treatment...

....accentuating shadows with darker coloured acrylic paints, and highlights with lighter shades, dry brushing it on...going little at a time, building up the layers of paint.
The hessian pieces all got hung out to dry...on my washing line! My neighbours are used to seeing this sort of macabre stuff hanging out to dry...but workers repairing the nextdoors roof were a bit taken aback...then highly amused at the sight. Beats seeing boring undies and clothing drying.... lol 😉
With the paint dry I started adding large stitch work using jute garden twine and a sturdy upholsterers needle. I wanted it to look very obvious...and like crude repair work. Despite the glued sections, there was still enough give in the material to get a needle through it.
Finishing touches added...some straw hair and additional stitchwork to the hat brim...and we are all done!

One more post to go.....an additional accessory....and the big reveal for the Hallows Party!

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