Sunday, January 27, 2019

Where I lay my hat. A craft journey in pictures.

Hello Everyone!
Well, its January - the time to make New Year's resolutions.  Which, if you live in Louisiana, is just an evil joke.  Because, right after Christmas, we have Mardi Gras - and that's the season of king cake.  I have been doing theatre all month long, so I haven't sat down to think about what my resolutions are going to be - but I have eaten king cake.  Several different king cakes.  No, I have no shame. 

Tonight is the first time that I haven't had rehearsals in weeks.....  But my husband did.  Which meant, I had an evening off, but it was going to be an evening alone.  So I spent the day/night doing stuff I have wanted to do but haven't found the time to do.  Was it the stuff that I should do?  NOPE!  Instead I practiced tying vintage style turbans with scarves, painting a vintage inspired hat head, and now I am watching RENT live on Fox.  Not because I particularly like the musical, because I don't , but because I promised a friend that I would watch it and live chat with him about the performance.  I just like the characters so much better when they're in La Boheme. 
So, while I'm watching, I thought I would share pictures of my craft project of the day.  Its not really a how to so much as a step by step documentation of the project.
For those of you who read my blog or follow my Instagram you know that I love vintage or vintage style clothes.  And this love includes vintage hats.  I am almost obsessed with hats.  And since I can't seem to say no when I see a cute vintage hat at a good price, I am constantly looking for ways to store them and display them.  I love the vintage milliner heads, but I can't afford them.  So I thought that I would take a stab at making my own. 
So here are some of my inspiration photos.  All of them on eBay and all of them priced at over $100.  Some of them over $200.

I love the long neck and sheer snobby elegance of this one.  I actually saw this one when searching for a hat to buy.

And if you want something a little more demure.

She has one of my favorite faces that I have seen.  And the next time I make a head, I may try to add fake eye lashes.

Plus I love this gold dress.  I am going to make one with this gold dress.

With these inspiration photos in my phone I started trying to make my WAY less expensive version of these vintage beauties.

The Project

First I started with a styrofoam head that I got at Hobby Lobby for $3.00 because I had a coupon - but they usually only run for $5.00 - so even at full price still very affordable.

I looked at this for a while trying to determine my first step.  The perfectionist in me thought that I should use paper mache to make the surface of the head smoother.  But I wanted to see what it would look like painted.   And I didn't feel like dealing with the mess of paper mache. So, I decided my girl would just have big pores.
I painted the entire head with an acrylic paint from Folk Art called Skintone.  After one coat it was a terrifying shade of orange and it dried streaky.

The picture does not portray how very orange this looked in person.
Feeling the necessity of a second coat,  I mixed the  flesh tone color with white paint and got the face to be as pale and glow- in- the- dark as my own skin.

Second  coat of paint.

Once the base was dry, it was time to start painting the face.  First, I tried free hand painting the face.  And though the lips looked good, they weren't the vintage shape that I was looking for.

This lip shape wasn't the one that I wanted this time, but definitely is one that I will do for another head.

But I didn't figure out I didn't want that lip shape until after I painted the blush on her cheeks.

So, painted over the red and decided that I would use a pencil and stop trying to free hand everything.  I used a very dull pencil and drew with almost no pressure against the surface - because I did not want the pencil to make an indentation in the styrofoam.  The awesome thing is that I could erase errors and didn't have to paint over them.

Which, for some reason, upped the creep out factor by ten.
Then I repainted the lips red.
And then added lip liner.  Because a girl can't wear red lipstick without lip liner. (To make the color, I just added some black paint to the same red that I painted the lips.) But first I painted the irises green because she was starting to freak me out.

That's better.  A little bit.

And then I moved on to painting the eyes.  As I painted she got less terrifying.  (Thank goodness.)

I painted her upper lashes black, but the bottom lash line I painted a soft grey and then I did the lower lashes in black.  I created the gray by mixing black and white paint together until I got the shade I desired.
I decided to do an almost not there shadow.  So I took the skintone color I had originally used for the face that had been too orange, but used my paint brush that I had not completely cleaned free of the black plaint.  This little bit of black in the brush, combined with the fleshtone,  gave me a very subtle grey color.  I thought it kinda looked like shadows caused from her lashes and gave it a little depth.
And then came the brows.  I extended past her natural brow bone and lowered the outward tip closer to the eye than we would style brows today to give her a retro look.  (Although don't ask me what decade I am going for at this point, it is sort of a mishmash.)
Poor baby is still bald though.
So, onto her hair.
I did the outline of her hair in pencil first.  And then started painting the outline in brown.  I wanted to make her a red head, but I didn't have the right color orange paint in my collection, and I didn't want to mix things to try to get the right shade, so a brunette she is.

Then I took a flatter, bigger brush and painted in the bulk of the hair.

I almost left it like this, because it didn't look bad.  But the inspiration heads all had curls painted on, so I continued on. 
To paint the waves, I took the same brown color and mixed it with white to get me a paler shade of brown in the same color palette.

I know you think we're done, but we're not.  Even though everything is painted, I plan on putting a vintage hat on this girl, and I didn't want to take the chance that the paint would rub off on my hat.  So I decided that it needed a clear top coat to "seal" it.  I only had glossy in my paint stock, so that is what I used.

And then I waited, for what felt like forever, for the clear top coat to dry.
Once she was dry, I tied on some gold Mardi Gras beads to give her a necklace.  (See, this does tie in with the Mardi Gras season.)
I did this for two reasons.  One, I wanted her to have a necklace, but I didn't feel like painting it.  And two,  I wanted her to have a little more weight on the bottom to counter balance the hat.

Then I put this gorgeous hat on her.

I love this hat.  It was given to me by a subscriber of the theatre.  I still can't believe how pristine and gorgeous this beauty is.  Thus why she deserved her only special stand.

So what do you think? Did I get close to my inspirations?
Next time, I think that I will try the individual lashes.  I will also try using paper mache so that I can smooth the skin a little bit more, but I am very pleased with how it turned out.

Well, I feel kinda bad because I haven't posted in so long and then, when I finally do, I don't give you a recipe or a how- to craft project.  That just won't do at all.

So, here is a link from last Mardi Gras season on how to make King Cake Smoothies.  It is delicious.

I should have more posts soon!