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How to Make Fake Heads

Hey, everyone, and welcome to the technical blog for Indy Mogul's Episode#14 (fake heads).This build was a lot of fun and I hope you guys enjoy the episode. Send in your fake head videos and remember you can submit your project ideas here! And don't forget to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes!

Shopping List

  1. Styrofoam head.
    (Many different websites sell these, but the cheapest I found were at www.valuedisplay.com )

  2. Flesh colored spray paint.
    (They don't actually make a "fleshtone" spray paint, so just get the one that looks closest to your actor's skin tone.)

  3. Make-up kit
    (Don't you people get it yet? Buy a simple make-up kit with some different flesh tones and reds.)

  4. A wig.
    (The foam heads come bald, So unless your actor is bald you'll need a wig.)

  5. Glasses, mustaches, etc.
    (Distinctive items like this that can be worn by both your actor and dummy head will help to fool the viewer.)

  6. Fake blood.
    (No matter which way you end up "offing" this poor dummy head. You'll probably want some fake blood on hand. Mix Corn syrup, red food coloring and a splash of chocolate syrup for yummy blood.)

  7. Liquid Latex.
    (To add some "fleshyness" to the face.)

The creation of the heads

So as you saw in the episode each fake head got the same initial treatment. Two coats of liquid latex, one coat of spray paint, then a make-up session to add details. If your head is not going to be seen up close you can skip the latex. All it really does is help fill in some of the little bumps in the surface of the styrofoam. The make-up mostly consisted of darking the lips and adding powder and a lighter flesh tone to the face. I darkened the eyes and apply eye brows before realizing that glasses would cover all that up. If you could get your actor to sit down next to you when you color the head that would be best.

How to Make Fake Heads

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The destruction of the heads

So really you could rig these up any way you want. They're cheap and relatively easy to cut and modify. I tried 3 different ways to rig the head. The first was to work with a stabbing or impaling effect. All I did was cut a quarter out of the back of the head, hollowed it out and made a tunnel to the right eye.

In this empty space I stuffed a freezer bag full of fake blood, then taped it into place. All someone has to do is puncture the head and the bag and blood will gush out.

 

Next I installed the blood shooters from a previous episode into one of the heads. This was a similar process, but instead of of cutting a section out I cut the head in half. Then just tapes in the blood shooter nozzle to line up with a small hole I put in the forehead of the dummy.

 

Last, but certainly not least, is the "ballistics gel brain" head. This one looked really cool, but in retrospect was maybe too sturdy. Like the rest I hollow some of the head out. This time I made a deep bowl in the head by digging in from the top.

Next I whipped up some DIY ballistics gel. We are going to do a special "Weekend Extra" on how to make this, but basically it's just water and Knox gelatin with a higher ratio of powder to water then usual. So I poured the "brain gel" in the empty head about half way. Then I lowered a glass into the center and taped it into place. When the gel hardens I can pull this glass out and we will have a perfect little pocket to fill with fake blood. Don't forget to spray the glass with cooking spray so you can get it out.


 

Conclusion

Now that your heads are prepped for destruction you can get to the filming. Remember to have extra sets of glasses and mustaches around, since some will probably get destroyed along with your heads. The key to making this look cool in the end is editing. Fool the viewer by showing the real actor right before and right after you inflict mayhem on your dummy head.

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