Hello all! I’ve gotten quite a few people asking how I went about putting together my head for a recent costume I did at Anime Iowa 2014, so I figured I’d make a tutorial for it!
More under the cut!
Alrightey, so you’re looking to make yourself a sweet head of some sort to wear around? You’ve come to the right place! I’ll break it down step by step:
Step 1: Chose your monitor!
Begin by selecting what exactly you’re going to use for a head. If it can be hollowed out safely, it can work. I personally used a CRT computer monitor. These can be found online, at a local computer shop, or at your nearest solid waste recycling agency. My group in particular was able to purchase only the plastic shells of the CRT monitors (meaning there were NO ELECTRICAL COMPONENTS OR GLASS inside) for roughly $10 per monitor. I bypassed the “gutting” of the monitor to save myself the trouble of dealing with potentially dangerous electronic components (There is a risk of shock when gutting a CRT; consider purchasing a shell only!) Below are two of the monitors we purchased:
Step 2: Cut your head hole!
So, now you need a way to get your head inside the monitor? Easy peasy! Start by measuring the circumference of your head and adding a few inches so that your ears/nose won’t get caught each time you remove/put on your monitor. Draw a circle of the required size on the bottom of your monitor to map out where you’ll be cutting:
Before cutting, be sure you remove the front panel where the screen would sit from the monitor. It should be attached with a few easy to remove screws.
Begin by drilling a large hole in the center of your drawn outline (As seen above), and use whatever tool you’re most comfortable with to begin cutting out the outlined circle. We used a jigsaw. If you also use a jigsaw, I recommend cutting triangular shapes out to avoid breaking your blade, or accidentally snapping the plastic of the monitor:
Cut lots of triangular shapes and carefully cut around your outline until you’re finally finished cutting it all out!
Side Note: Be sure to use something to cover the sharp plastic around your entry hole; IT WILL CUT YOU. My group glued in thin tubing to line the hole and prevent injury.
Step 3: Get a hardhat!
Now you can get in and out of the monitor.. Hurray! But how do you keep the monitor on? Simple: Insert a ratchet-suspended hardhat into the monitor using epoxy! Let me break it down: Go to your local Home Depot, Lowes, or whatever is closest to you and grab one of these:
Just your average hardhat with a nice little dial on the back end! That dial allows you to fit the hardhat nice and snug to your head, preventing the monitor from moving around on your head while you wear it. The hardhat should have two pieces to it: The hat itself, and the “suspension” or inside webbing piece that allows there to be space between the hardhat and your head. ALWAYS REMOVE THIS WEBBING WHEN MAKING ANY MODIFICATIONS TO THE HARDHAT. It should clip in and out with a little effort.
Step 4: Epoxy that hardhat into your monitor!
First things first, you may notice a little issue.. The hardhat is round, while the inside of your monitor is flat! Let’s fix that.
Decide where your hardhat needs to be adjusted to fit snugly against the monitor, and cut off the extra! My hardhat had an extra “bump” to the top of it, so I leveled it off and used an epoxy glue to set it inside the monitor where I chose. If you are having an issue with the hardhat being “too tall”, leveling off a bit of it should solve this problem. Level off bits until you are satisfied with the fit. BE SURE NOT TO CUT THE SECTIONS THAT THE SUSPENSION WEBBING SITS INSIDE. You’ll need them to clip your webbing back inside!
I also chose to remove the bill from my hardhat to improve my range of vision, and I spray painted my hardhat black so it would blend better against the glass I inserted into the monitor in a later step. At this point (after your epoxy glue dries), you should have something like this:
Woohoo, it’s like a huge hat! Great work! Now, things are going to get fun..
Step 5: Let’s customize!
Oh man, it’s time to paint! Head out to your local hardware store or craft store and select the spray paint of your choice. Be sure it will work on plastic surfaces! I used a yellow spray paint, and added details with acrylic paint once the yellow base was dry. DO NOT APPLY YOUR SPRAY PAINT IN ONE THICK COAT, it will run and look icky! Try several thin coats until you have the coverage you want! (Look up a spray painting tutorial, too!)
Also, be sure to cover all the holes on the inside of your monitor with masking tape, unless you want the inside of your monitor to have an odd polkadot look and stink like spray paint forever. You can see the green tape I used in the photo below:
Step 6: Let’s put in that screen!
Here comes the hardest part.. Inserting the screen. But you can do it! You’ll need a sheet of Plexiglas, but first you need to know how big of a sheet. Measure the inside of where the screen will go EXACTLY, and head out to your local hardware store to get your glass in the right size. While you’re there, pick up a window tinting kit and Privacy window film of your choice. This is the kit I used:
Any Privacy film should be fine, just be sure it’s tinted darkly! Follow the directions on the film you use, and tint your plexiglass!
Step 7: Inserting your tinted “screen”!
At this point, you should have a tinted piece of plexiglass. Using some super glue, glue around the inside of where the screen will sit and carefully lower the screen into place. Be careful not to use too much glue, or it will ooze onto the front of your screen! Set heavy objects on the screen to weigh it down onto the plastic section while it dries.
Finally.. You’re done!! Here’s what your finished product should look something like:
You did it!! Now put your sweet new head on with a cute outfit, and show off your hard work!