In the last installment of “how to make a plaster hat” I discussed forming a base by making a plaster mold of your head. Depending on your design plan, that may be all the structure you need, in which case you can proceed to decorating and embellishing. However, if your plan involves an end product that is vastly different in size and shape from your actual head, you will need to build up a suitable structure before you can move on to decoration.
A quick aside about design–as with any other creative process, people approach design in very different ways. I haven’t provided an tips on coming up with a design because I am mostly a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of girl. I generally have no idea where I am going until I am half-way through a project. My husband, on the other hand, sits down and does detailed sketches before he starts anything. Go with what works for you.
Step One: Assemble your materials
This could be just about anything. If you have a detailed design plan, then the materials will come from that. I find things like styrofoam and paper to be useful for many designs. You may want to gather some of your decorative elements at this time as well, since the form of decoration may determine the structure you want to build. My entire hat has been inspired by one thing: antlers. Here are the structural and material elements I’ve gathered for this project:
The antlers, pheasant wings and purple feather crescents are decorative elements. Because the wings and antlers are both very large and striking features, I decided I needed to put more space between them than existed on my actual head. I’m using the bamboo skewers and styrofoam circle to extend my head backwards. You will also need your plaster infused cloth, scissors, tape, and bucket of warm water.
Step Two: Build a skeleton of your structure
In my case this meant stabbing the bamboo skewers into the styrofoam circle:
Finally I covered the bamboo sticks with construction paper. This will keep the plaster strips from sinking in between them.
Step Three: Cover your skeleton with plaster. Cut strips of plaster in varying widths to suit your project. Remember, plaster is heavy! Two layers of plaster all around should be plenty.
Here is my hat so far:
I left the ridges from the bamboo sticks because I liked the way they looked. Some of the paper and tape is still visible because I will be adding more plaster there when I attach the antlers. I’ve drawn circles where I will attach the antler. Adding things like antlers and other decorative elements will be covered in Part III of this series