"Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue"
~ Vice President Richard Cheney

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Paper + Glue = A Brand New YOU!

For the past several years I've beenworking in the creative medium of sculpture utilizing reused materials, primarily paper "welded together" with ModPodge. This blog post is going to teach you how to make your very own Roller Derby hat out newspaper/phone book pages, cereal/pizza boxes and mod podge with absolutely no other material necessary (although you might want a pair of scissors and stapler to help you out) I estimate the total cost for this project will likely run you about $8 beyond the found materials.

First, a little bit about my derby story. Back in 2010 my wife and I were compelled to check out local women's roller derby here in Knoxville, TN after having seen the movie "Whip It" with Ellen Page and Drew Barrymore. Like the testimony goes for many who see roller derby, we saw 1 Hard Knox Roller Girls game and we were hooked. From there I began creating an ever evolving series derby fan hats beginning with the very first attempt titled "Kill 'em Dead" which was essentially a text bubble attached to 3d glasses.

"Kill 'em Dead" later became a hat that resembled Mickey Mouse / A Black Bear and with that became the defining slogan of my derby persona. I would go on to create several more hats with different slogans such as "Outta 'Dis World Action" on a green alien hat and "Show 'Em Your Teeth" on a Lady Gaga inspired derby hat (which actually covered my entire upper torso and wasn't particularly conducive to actually watching derby.. but I digress.)

The process of making a derby hat (or a hat for any occasion really) out of paper, modpodge and some cardboard is really super easy.

First, you will want to cut up a number of cereal boxes into strips about half an inch in width and the length of the box. Using these strips you will construct a skeletal structure for your hat. The best place to start is likely looping a strip (or 2 if you have a big head like me) around your forehead and then stapling it into a circle.

The next thing you will do is run strips from one end of this loop to the other (over the top of your head) making sure that it allows for the depth of your head to comfortably fit. Essentially you are making a bowl. Again, staples are the quickest and easiest way to get through this process although you can use mod podge as well. Something to keep in mind while doing this is that once you add the paper skin, the bowl might fit a little tighter so it may be work making the structure a little loose at first.

Once you have your skeletal structure you can start to "skin" it. This simply involves applying mod podge to the bottom side of the paper and applying it over the skeletal structure. You will then apply mod podge on top of it so that it adheres to the structure. I use my fingers for this process. You will want to do a number of layers, particularly if you are using thin paper like newspaper or phone book paper, both of which I recommend.

Once you have a fully skinned bowl, you can use the same technique used to make the bowl to add features to it. In the case of my living dead unicorn hat, I made a horn which I attached, 2 ears and an X for the eye. The X was finished with black acrylic paint before I attached it as was the detailing in the ears. Otherwise, the entire finish for the living dead unicorn hat was done by selectively using fragments of paper of the same color. You can also use acrylic paint.

For a less tacky finish, what I will do is seal the hat with a layer of outdoor mod podge which, in theory, will protect the hat from the elements and then a layer of regular mod podge which makes it less sticky.

I encourage folks to check out their local Roller Derby team. It's a way for ladies to take on non-traditional roles and provides an escape from monotony for both players and fans alike!

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