How I Made A Giant Squidoo Head Mask

This project didn't entirely come out of my brain. It was a commission I got from Megan Casey, the Editor-in-Chief of Squidoo. She thought it would be fun to surprise Seth Godin, the site founder, with a big mascot head as a gift in honor of Squidoo having reached their 400,000 lens point. After posting a few places and not getting any responses, she posted in the SquidU forum where I found it within a few minutes. How could I resist?

Materials and Getting Started:

I figured it would be a heck of a lot easier if I was able to start with some sort of form rather than build the entire thing up by hand, especially as I didn't have a huge budget or lots of time.

So, I started with a 20" paper lantern that I found at Cost Plus. It really doesn't get any easier than that. Here is is already with a few layers of brown paper mache on it, looking it what would normally be the top of the lantern. I cut the head hole and used this part as a ready-made pupil.

Next, a few coats of Gesso:

Once I had three layers of brown paper on the lantern, it was stiff enough to not collapse anymore. At this point I painted on three coats of Gesso. This not only smoothed out some of the surface (along with some sanding in between coats) but it made the mascot head a bit more waterproof. It also makes it ready for whatever kind of paint I want.

I said "Orange!"

I still wanted the surface to be a bit less patchy so when I painted it, I decided to use an acrylic gel medium to carry the color. This is a translucent material that won't change the color of the paint you mix in, but it will change the texture. Imagine spreading on paint the consistency and thickness of cake frosting. Yep, I much more improved eyeball texture...

Here the eyeball hanging up to dry in my shower overnight. By closing the door, it held in the heat and helped very nicely with the drying.

On to eyeball details and tentacles...


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