Yep, you read it right. I have devised a great way to add a severed head to your Halloween display without having to pay a load of money, or decapitate one of your loved ones. Plus, it’s VERY cheap and very simple.
Severed zombie head prop
All that I used for this short demo was the following…
- A polystyrene (styrofoam) head. Similar to those used in shops to display hats and things.
- Something sharp to shape the head (I used a small, toothed knife).
- Some acrylic paint. Well, that’s what I used anyway. It’s important not to use solvent based paints as this will disolve the polystyrene, which kind looks cool, but can get messy.
- Some imagination and a good idea of what you want the head to look like.
SO, I went onto ebay and found a bunch of places that were selling these heads. They are often used for modelling hats and wigs, so you should be able to find an outlet somewhere that sells them.
Make sure you don’t spend too much on it, as you’ll be tearing it apart after all. Plus, remember that polystyrene is pretty fragile, so it’s easy to ruin your project if you get over-enthusiatic with the knife.
I finally found somewhere that was cheap and within a couple of days, my head arrived.
I had an idea of what I wanted to do (the design)… Well, I knew that I wanted to dig one of the eyes out and generally make it look horrible. So I got to work.
Using a blade with teeth made the cuts pretty ragged which was a nice effect. It left the wounds in the head looking ‘torn’ rather than cut, and seeing as how I wanted the head to look like a zombie head, torn was exactly what I was after.
After much cutting, and creating a lot of mess (little white balls everywhere) I was left with this:
Yeah it doesn’t look like muchat this stage, but don’t be disheartened.
I carved out nostils (these mannequin heads don’t have them) and also made the mouth look more realistic. I then set about creating the wounds, whilst trying to restrain myself so I didn’t go over the top. I wanted this head prop to look like a fresh zombie head, not a heavily rotted one.
Ultimately you’ll want a couple of big wounds (maybe the cause for the zombie infection), a couple of deep cuts/scars, and finally a nice big head-wound (which was left after you killed the nasty blighter).
For the skin, I used white paint, with a touch of brown and a tiny bit of green, to give the head that ‘putrid’ appearance.
Same with the blood. Rather than bright read, a majority of it was dark in colour, to add to the whole rotten, deseased effect.
I painted the remaining eyeball a yellowish-white, and made the iris grey, which is a popular choice in zombie films.
As well as the gore, it’s good to use some shading to add to the realism of the head. Remember, if you get something a little wrong, just smudge/rub the area as a bit of mess is only going to make your zombie look even better.
I’m no master at paiting, but it’s surprising how easy it is to make one of these heads look convincing. Probably because they’re nice and big.
You can also layer up the paint if you have any issues, and it doesn’t matter if your severed head prop looks a bit messy – it’s a zombie dang it!
And there you have it:
You could do lots of other cool things to it. Add other materials, maybe stick the head on a spike or something (could be my next project). You could even do some other famous horror characters to make a severed head prop for – Vampire, Werewolf etc.
The only limit is your imagination!