First, wouldn’t Paper Mache Scarecrow Head be a great band name? I’m on a paper mache kick, which means the back room of the studio smells like flour but without all the delicious baking smells to go with it. Sorry about that, folks. I’ve been working on a scarecrow head for the haunt, which means people walk past it to go to the bathroom and come out scratching their heads about the weird head on a post. The puzzled looks are kind of priceless, I have to admit. I kind of wish we had surveillance cameras back there.
Anyway, here’s a quick how-to:
Step one, Turn off your phone because you won’t be able to answer it once you’re elbow deep in flour paste. Blow up a balloon and tape a toilet paper roll to the bottom of it. Cover all of it with a layer of newspaper strips dipped in a mixture of flour and water (another blogger suggested laundry starch instead, but I haven’t tried it yet since I have a boatload of flour to get through – but give it a shot!). I rested the whole thing on my clay sculpting tray (a piece of wood with a plastic pipe attached to it) so that I could work on all sides of it at once. Let it dry overnight.
Step two, start to add dimension for the face with rolled up newspaper and a crap-ton of tape. Cover that with another layer of newspaper and flour paste. It’ll kind of look like Darth Vader at this point. If you’re a Star Wars fan, consider discontinuing the Scarecrow head and go for Vader instead. Let it dry overnight.
Step three, continue adding dimension with rolled up newspaper. I used a skull model to compare the basic shape of the head. You can start to add smaller details with rolled paper towel, too. Cover it all with another layer of newspaper and flour paste. Let it dry overnight.
Step four, stretch strips of paper towel dipped in the flour paste over what you’ve constructed. Pinch the towels together to create the look of stretched fabric. Make sure the side of the paper towel that is the most quilted is face up so that it gives it texture like burlap. Let it dry overnight.
Step five, paint the whole thing with burnt umber, curse at the phone as it rings and you’re elbow deep in paint. Then stand back and bask in the glow of your accomplishment.