Bring me the head of. . .Hello Kitty?
October 23, 2006 8:51 PM   Subscribe

What would the easiest way to make a huge Hello Kitty head for my Halloween costume?

I want it to be mostly proportionate to the actual Hello Kitty Doll so roughly the same width as my shoulders. I'm hoping it's something I can wear over my head like a bonnet and tied on below my chin.

Whaddya think? I was envisioning carved out styrofoam but I don't know where to find a ball that big in time and in SF. Stuffed fabric? (Not thrilled about the prospect of sewing.) Paper Mache? (messy) Any other methods I'm totally overlooking?
posted by lannanh to Grab Bag (13 answers total)
you can glue sheet or blocks of styrofoam together and then carve it into the shape you want. i'd imagine smaller, individual sheets or blocks of styrofoam would be much easier to find.

Stuffed fabric may not keep shape if it's going to be as big as i imagine.

paper mache would be a pain in the ass.

id go for the styrofoam glued together - you can carve out whatever shape you need in no time at all.
posted by ASM at 9:05 PM on October 23, 2006

Any chance you could find a Hello Kitty-head pinata at a toy store or online? That might be close to the right size.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 9:08 PM on October 23, 2006

So you want a sphere, or slightly pancaked sphere, that's 2.5 feet in diameter?
And do you want your head to be fully visible, or everything but the eyes hidden?

Papier mache on a frame would be cheap. Frame could be balloon (if you can find one big enough; beachball?; inflate a trash bag??), chicken wire if you're careful to bend all the pointy wire edges at the ends so they can't poke you; cardboard if you're patient and willing to have a slightly lumpy shape. Poor man's papier mache is strips of newspaper soaked in about a 1:4 Elmer's Glue/water solution. This will be messy. The main drawback is that it will be time consuming. You'll need to do a few layers to make a smooth coating, and they'll need to dry completely before you paint them.

If you can find a beachball the right size, maybe you could just paint it and affix it with a chinstrap?

If you could get a bunch of material the right color, the sewing wouldn't be too hard. A soft headpiece will be good, because it can't poke you. But it will need to be really stuffed to ensure that it stays fat and round.

For styrofoam, check freecycle and craigslist, and local businesses that receive electronics packed in styrofoam.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:12 PM on October 23, 2006

The best/comfortable heads I've ever had are made of foam sheets, as sold in a fabric store for upolstry (not batting, the foam sheets that comes in varying thicknesses). Use scissors to cut it, an electric knife to carve it if need be, hot glue it together, spray paint (at a distance so it doesn't "eat" the foam). Thinner sheets curve well and are less hot/heavy, but not so thin that it doesn't hold its shape.

I've made a frog head and an opposum head that way (with my face in the mouth) and it seemed to work well.
posted by Gucky at 9:20 PM on October 23, 2006

Yes, paper-maiche over a large balloon or a beach ball. Messy but fun, and not difficult.
posted by LarryC at 9:30 PM on October 23, 2006

I like Gucky's idea. I once carved a giant pig's head out of styrofoam. It took me 3x the time I thought it would, and was 10X as messy (bits of foam EVERYWHERE). If you go that route, you will want to cover it in fabric when you have the right shape, anyway, so pick up some white fabric and spray adhesive while you are out.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:02 AM on October 24, 2006

As someone who's just made six masks in a short period of time, I strongly recommend plaster cloth. It's got the shapability of paper mache but dries a heck of a lot faster. Put this over a balloon with posterboard taped on for the ears and you've got a perfect Hello Kitty. You could even do some shaping for the eyes if you wanted to. It's also rather lightweight and sturdy.

I used it to make this mask, this one, and the beak on this one.
posted by teleri025 at 7:22 AM on October 24, 2006

I found in a similar situation, paper mache over one of those large-sized bouncing balls, like the sort you find in a big cage in Wal-Mart, worked perfectly (though that plaster cloth sounds cool).
posted by jeditanuki at 7:45 AM on October 24, 2006

When my mother made my father a giant rabbit head costume, she used fun fur fabric sewn onto wire mesh. Easy to bend to shape, very well-ventilated, and easy to undo and redo until you get it right.
posted by mendel at 8:18 AM on October 24, 2006

I would go with upholstery foam, contact cement and paint route like they do with muppets. You could make an oblong oval for the head pretty easily and get the curved ears going real fast, plus it will be lightweight and give you some flexibility when you jam it into a doorway at the wrong angle
posted by prostyle at 9:22 AM on October 24, 2006

Those are great masks, teleri025 - really like the leaf one.
posted by widdershins at 10:28 AM on October 24, 2006

Thanks widdershins. I live in fear that I'm going to get drunk and whack people over the head with it. Actually, not live in fear, more of an understanding that this is very likely to happen. ;)
posted by teleri025 at 11:40 AM on October 24, 2006

I've actually done exactly this, a giant Hello Kitty head for a halloween costume (If memory serves, it was about 3 feet wide, 2 feet tall). I made it out of paper mache molded over chicken wire, then painted it with acrylics. It was a bit lumpy, but it was lightweight and didn't make my head overheat.

Seeing out of it was another issue though, as getting eye holes in the right place on such a large head was tricky (and since HK's eyes are really far apart, I couldn't just cut out her eyes, so I had to cut small holes in the middle of her face for me to see out). I remember having friends lead me around till I got the hang of it.

I went with the chicken wire because I couldn't find a balloon/ball that big, plus HK's head is oblong, not spherical. But if you could find a ball the right size, it would be smoother and easier to work with than the chicken wire.

I think the foam would look better, but i think it could get too hot inside the head if it this is an indoor costume.

I've used that plaster cloth before, and it is pretty awesome, especially for more detailed shapes, though newspaper and starch are much much cheaper.
posted by jessicak at 10:45 AM on October 25, 2006

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