Thursday, April 10, 2014

Squid Helmet

Long long ago, I'd say about 2008/9, I set out to do my very first paper mache project. I wanted to make a helmet inspired off the Bionicle species of Glatorian and their unique masks.

I went through many designs in my sketch book, dreaming of what my helmet should look like; even started incorporating my helmet design into art pieces because I loved it so much (which I hope to share imagery of and make reference back to this post).

I designed the helmet based off the water Glatorian, and felt an aquatic themed helmet is what my character Pearllight (me) would wear as a disguise. Once I settled with my basic design, I started my work, and it took FOREVER.

How long did it take to make this helmet from start to finish? About six months; that's right, half a years of on off work and patience during drying time. 

Here's how I did it: First I blew up a balloon to the approximate size of my head, then to make the dome shape, a massive sculpture of newspaper and tape were applied to the balloon. The newspaper was then covered with plastic wrap, and I went on to make cardboard pieces of the lower head part where it splays out. The tentacle decorations on the dome were constructed from wire and masking tape. Once all was established, I started my paper mache work, using newspaper strips and wallpaper paste. Every layer took forever (and I do believe I had to use about ten for the helmet base).

Playing in the wallpaper paste was kind of fun; I wore rubber gloves because it was cold and slimy, but as far as imagination goes, I felt like I was swishing my hands through some sort of Rahi spit (rahi are animals of the Bionicle universe). 
Even the smallest parts of the helmet were cover with newspaper, I just had to use smaller strips.

After by helmet base was mostly done, I needed to make it smoother. In order to do that, I had to layer paper pulp over the helmet, let it dry, and then sand off any bumpies. Once all the paper work was done, I coated the helmet with a layer of white paint, then applied raised designs by using white fabric paint. Final step was applying my three chosen colors; metallic teal, royal blue, and lime green.

The final results were satisfying, unfortunately the project shrunk more than expected, so the helmet is a bit too snug on my head. (note I didn't paint on the inside of the helmet since no one sees that part when it's worn). Also, I didn't actually realize the helmet looked squid like until I finished it. :P

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