I loved Pee-wee’s Playhouse growing up. Was it a show for kids? Questionable. Was it creative, generic viagra clinic artistic, viagra generic search imaginative, nurse weird? Absolutely. But the thing is, I was a weird kid, and that is why I adored the show. It had everything. Strange and exciting characters, quirky songs, bright and colourful sets, and many, many different mediums were used to build everyone and everything that appeared on the show. It was amazing, I used to wish I could live in his playhouse, but looking back now, that may have been a little too much, even for this weirdo kid.
And who do we have to thank for this awesome and, at the time, ‘alternative’ show? A lot of people. BUT one person who had a lot to do with it, was Wayne White (pictured above). He was a designer for Pee-Wee’s Playhouse and he created/still creates rad art. He is also known for a documentary (on Netflix) called “Beauty is Embarrassing”. You should check it out, but only if you’re into neat things.
Last year my husband, Conrad, had to create something for his art practicum. He decided to make a huge cardboard head – after being very inspired by Wayne White’s work. He made a Leonardo DaVinci head and he did such a great job. Conrad is super talented, just so y’all know! Anyways, ever since he made that huge head I’ve wanted to make a giant head, because A: I want to be like my husband, and B: they’re hilarious. So what better time of year, than Halloween! I decided that I wanted to make two heads (with Conrad’s help) and have it be a couple theme. Naturally, we chose to make heads after the great Frida Kahlo and her husband Diego Rivera. The photo below was the inspiration for Diego’s head (because it’s a picture of Diego!). This is a tutorial to show you all how to make a cardboard head…keep in mind – there are no rules with this. Cardboard is super easy to work with and cheap/free (don’t buy it, find old boxes, they’re everywhere). All you need is some time, a hot glue gun, scissors/exacto knife and a bit of imagination. Also remember, these are caricatures, so if they look funny, good! Make a head with no person in mind or find someone to create, totally up to you…here we go!
The man, the myth, the legend. Diego Rivera. Not so handsome, but a revolutionary artist and a good head to recreate.
The first step is to create a rectangular box that will be the base of your head. We chose 13x 20 inches as measurements for the front and back, and 11×20 inches for the sides so that it would fit on Conrad’s shoulders. Be sure to include about 2 inches on one of the sides of your panel that will fold at a 90 degree angle; these will be the support flaps that you use to glue each side to each other. (pictured below)
Once your have constructed your rectangular box shape, you might notice that it isn’t quite secure, and so we created these triangular braces for each corner which prevented the box from collapsing.
Test-wear that box to make sure it isn’t too wide for your shoulders. Try it out with a ukulele to make it a lot more fun.
The next step is to create semi-circles that will be the sides of your head. Choose how high you want the top of the head to be and measure accordingly. Next, we measured and cut a long strip of cardboard the same width as the front/back, that would become the cranium lid. Our ‘cranium lid’ went about 5 inches down the front of the head and 5 inches down the back. We spent some time massaging the cardboard so that it would bend nicely for the top.
Now that the box has a ‘head’ to it, create the face and its many features. Pictured above, is a panel that we glued to the front of the box to create a chin. We rounded the bottom to match the rounded (double chin-ed) face of Diego. Next, make the eyes, nose, as well as any other features needed. For the eyes, we cut the shape then layered eyelids on top. You can always layer more for a deeper set eye, or add eye lashes etc.
For the nose, cut out the nose bridge, and then the nostrils, and then glue the nostrils underneath the bridge.Then glue two ramp-like pieces that will help make the nose protrude from the face. After those are glued on, wrap two pieces around the nostrils, and cut the shape to match the same angle of the ramp pieces. Look to the photos above to help clarify!
Because Diego was overweight, he suffered from that notorious double-chin. To accentuate this effect, we cut out some chin-like shapes at various levels, as well as a smaller than normal mouth. An important aspect of the cardboard head are the cheeks. Not only do the cheeks make the head look less boxy, but they also add to the overweight effect of Diego Rivera. We cut rounded shapes that follow the lines that go from the nose down to the mouth, massaged the cardboard so it would round nicely, and glued it to the front of the face, and then bent and glued it to the side.
For the hair, we cut strips of various length and width, and glued them in the middle of his head (to mimic his hair part), and then bent them to the sides, for a volumizing effect. We still need to glue some more hair on to his head but you get the idea. Massage, massage, massage, people! Add as many touches to make the face more realistic, such as eyebrows, side burns, moustaches, uni-brows etc. Your caricature is whatever you make it!
Lastly, an important feature is the ears. As the photos above show, you simply make an ear shape. Then cut layers to add on top, to mimic the weird shapes of the ear (ears are weird, guys). The best thing that you can do for the ear to seem real is to cut out a strip that’s thicker in the centre and tapers out on either end. Then you massage it, and curve it into a c-shape, glueing it on to the back of the ear. Try to measure across the front of the head to either side of the head, so that when you glue the ears on they are at about the same level. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect…go have a look at your ears in the mirror, bet ya they’re not totally level either! Your cardboard ears should stick out slightly after you’ve put the c-shape onto the back of them.
Donezo! You did it!! You have a head. We are going to be painting this head as well as the Frida head that you may have noticed in the background this weekend, and we will reveal the final heads next week! In the meantime, put your made head on your head and model for someone…
There you have it folks! We really loved making these huge heads, and we hope that this inspires some of you to make your own version soon! It’s a really cheap way to make a costume and people will love it!
Who do you think you’d like to make a caricature cardboard head of? Or are you just going to make your own person. Either way, make it and then show us!
Cori Anne and Conrad!