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Help me build Frank Sidebottom's head

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I'm going to a halloween party dressed as Frank and was wondering what's the best way to construct his head. I was thinking of just blowing up a balloon and putting papier maché over the top of it but 1) his head is fairly oval instead of balloon shaped 2)it might be a bit flimsy if I'm dancing around and/or getting drink spilt over me 3)it might be a bit claustrophobic in there so I'll want it to be easy to get in and out of as well as being impossible to get a drink in

Anyone have any ideas for this? I was thinking of cutting a hole in the front over my face and using a butterfly clip or something to keep it fastened and unfasteded but that might end up being a bit fidgety

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I can't help but think melons *that* feck-off-huge don't exist. Hmmm, halloween is coming up... what about a pumpkin? Fill the divots with plasticine, then papier mache away. Maybe pumpkins that size are flogged for stupid money tho'. They tend to be awkward mutant shapes too... agh, surely there's something big and oval shaped out there. What a quandary.

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Isn't the idea of balloons and papier mache that the balloon pops leaving the paper shell? I can't imagine popping a pumpkin filled with plastercine..

What about using a helium type balloon, they can be all sorts of shapes and sizes, or get a cheap zepplin toy? or a beachball? cellotape up a bin-bag to the right shape, or just do the old chicken-wire solution.

It's been a while since I was at school, but I'm sure those are the kind of methods we used all those many many years ago.

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Everything you need sir. Basically, build it around the balloon, then either pop it or deflate it gently once it's dry (leave it a while so you don't end up with holes) and you'll have a perfect (but fragile) head that can be painted.

Getting Started with Papier Mache

The basics you need to know to get started with this art form.

Papier mache is really easy to do, and there are very few requirements.

You will need...

- Paper (newsprint is ideal)

- Adhesive

- Paintbrush

- Plastic table covering

- Paints

- Patience!

It is advisable to prepare everything before starting. Firstly, tear the newspaper into strips about an inch wide by 4 inches long. This is only approximate. Tear the paper with the grain.

Make your adhesive. There are many different recipes but below you will find the most common.

Papier mache recipes for adhesive

Note: all adhesives can be used with both layering and pulp methods of papier mache. I personally recommend wallpaper paste.

1 - Flour and water glue:

To make a flour and water glue follow these instructions:

Boil 5 cups of water in a saucepan.

In a bowl, mix 1/4 cup of sieved flour with a cup of cold water. Mix to a smooth consistency (a bit like making custard). When completely free of lumps, add the mixture to the water in the saucepan. Gently boil, stirring constantly for two or three minutes until the mixture thickens.

Allow to cool before using.

This will make a runny glue. If you prefer a very thick glue (or if you are in a hurry for it to dry) use this recipe instead:

Thick flour and water glue:

Use 1 whole cup of flour to three cups of water. Make using the same method as above.

2 - Wallpaper paste glue:

Make up a bowl according to the manufacturer�s instructions. Use a little less water than recommended if preferred. Keep in an airtight container. It will keep for several days in a fridge or a cool place. Wallpaper paste has the advantage of containing a fungicide to prevent mould.

Note: It is not a good idea to let children use wallpaper paste in case they put their fingers in their mouths.

3 - White (pva) glue

Slightly water down the glue in a bowl and use straight away.

When you have decided which glue to use, the next thing to do is to decide what to make. To start is it advisable to use something to mould on.



Cheap and indispensable. No release agent needed. The balloon will tear itself away from your dried papier mache easily when burst.

Bowls and plates

These will need to have a release agent applied first to stop the papier mache sticking to them.

Release agents

These all must be applied very thinly. They may leave a small residue, which you may not like.

- Vaseline

- Cooking oil

- Washing up liquid

- Cling film (this will not leave any residue but may leave a slightly crinkled texture on the papier mache)

- Wet paper (another method is to use strips of wet paper (just wetted with water and no glue) for the first layer only)

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I think a balloon will be tricky to get the shape right and it will be dead flimsy unless you use lots and lots of paper.

Why don't you use chicken wire to build the frame instead. That way you can make sure the shape is spot on (and big enough) and it will give it the rigidity that it needs so it doesn't fall apart at the party. You'll also need some sheer black fabric so you can see out of the eyes.

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I hope you make a Vampire Frank. I mean, he's not very Halloweeny, is he? He's basically the embodiment of love - like a Northern Cupid, in a way.

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I had to google to see who he was. In his fictional biography, he's from Timperley, what's the chances eh?
He really is from Timperly

He lives in Altrincham though. He is my mates' Dad. Real name is Chris Sievey.

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