Shrunken Doll Heads

Sunday, June 2nd, 2019

Even though Halloween is in the fall, spring is the best time to start planning. Plenty of time to shop thrift stores and garage sale for appropriate items, and I can work on the crafty stuff while glamping.

In anticipation of making a “Head Shrinker” costume for our next Halloween concert, I started shopping doll heads in the spring.

Since the costume will be worn at a concert for children, I wanted shrunken heads that are not too gross or scary.

Large second hand stores have rows and rows of dolls to choose from.
I was lucky enough to find appropriate subjects in new condition.
 

I put the dolls and some craft supplies in a bag and took it glamping. Sitting under the camper awning with my coffee, I took a good look at the dolls, my supplies, and came up with a plan.

The first thing I did was snap the heads off at the neck and put the bodes back in the bag. this took a little effort but was not hard. Yes, it did make a nice snapping sound.

My dolls had painted faces, I knew once they were covered in goop they would not have any definition so I decided to poke some eye sockets into them with a punch tool. When I pulled out the punch tool, the plastic went back to its original position – almost immediately. #UGH

I had some spent 22 shells in my metal detecting finds pouch so I used them to shape the holes and I set them in the hot sun for the day. At this point my husband looked at what I was doing and gave me a funny look, not funny “ha ha”, funny “WTF”. I told him these are for [my psychiatrist friend], she’ll vouch for me if I’m arrested. Although, I’m quite sure when I post this on my blog for the world to see, it will send up some red flags at the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit.

Roadblock:

When I was surfing Pintrest for ideas, all the really good looking ones were painted dark. I liked that “rotten” look and decided to mix some black chalkboard paint with some Mod Podge. It looked great when it was wet, it had a “gooey” look and the color was varied enough to look rotten.

BUT – When it dried it looked inappropriately like black-face. Totally not what I was going for! After having an “oh poop” moment, I retreated to my craft room to see what I had to change the look. I had some metallic paints so I grabbed a gold bottle and went to work. MUCH better! Bronze or copper would have probably worked too. Be sure to let me know what color comb you used in the comments.

Shrunken Heads

These creepy shrunken heads are made from doll heads found at second hand stores or a dollar store. You should find six (or as many as you want to make) the same size or similar size. They should have enough hair to ponytail at the top of the head and the material should NOT be brittle or ceramic.
Total Time2 d
Course: crafts
Cuisine: Halloween
Keyword: Creepy, Doll Head, Dollar Store, Halloween, Head Hunter, Second Hand, Shrunken Heads
Servings: 6 Shrunken Heads
Author: TetonTrekker
Cost: < $10

Equipment

  • Awl or Punch Tool
  • Brush for Mod Podge
  • Exacto Knife
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Sponge Brush

Ingredients

Thrift or Dollar Store

  • 6 Doll Heads of same or similar size

Craft Supplies

  • 1 Roll Jute Twine
  • 1 Stick Hot Glue
  • 1 Bottle Mod Podge
  • 1 Bottle Mat Black Craft Paint I used chalkboard style
  • 1 Bottle Metallic Craft Paint Bronze, Copper, or Gold
  • Tacky Glue

Household Items

  • Facial Tissue or Toilet Paper White
  • Paper Plates

Instructions

Prep Doll Heads

  • Break Head from Body. Save the body parts for other projects.
  • Clean the grime off the doll head. A little rubbing alcohol will work. If your dolls were extra loved in it's previous life a good scrub with Dawn, then a thorough rinse might work better.
  • Hair: Ponytail the dolls hair on top of the head so that when it hangs from the hair, the face looks out not down. Use rubber bands or wire ties, whatever you have handy. It will be covered later. Doing this first gives you something to hold onto for the rest of the project, and keeps the hair out of the Mod Podge and paint.
  • The head needs exaggerated eyes, nose, and mouth so when all the goop is added it still has depth.
  • Eyes: You will need divots for the eye sockets. If your doll's eyes are separate parts carefully remove them so you can use them for other projects. If the eyes are painted use an awl to poke eye holes into the head.
  • The plastic will want to return to it's original shape. Find something to put in the holes and set in the sun for a day or two. I used spent 22 shells, leaving my husband questioning my intentions. These will be removed before the Mod Podge steps.
  • Mouth: If your doll has painted or small mouth, use the hot glue gun and add a single line of glue to shape the lips. Don't worry about detail, they just need to stick out from the head so when all the goop is applied there is a protruding line where the mouth should be.

"Shrink" the Heads

  • Tear up the tissue or TP into random shapes between quarter and half dollar size. and set aside.
  • If you trained the plastic by leaving something poked in the eyes, remove them now.
  • Put some Mod Podge on a paper plate, Brush the doll head with the Mod Podge and press in the tissue pieces, working in sections and overlapping tissue. Cover the whole head, being careful not to get any goop in the hair. Be sure to press in the eyes so that they are covered but are sunken in. (there sould not be a hole showing, just an indent.)
  • Once the doll head is covered in tissue brush another layer of Mod Podge over all the tissue is there are no dry areas. Hang from hair to dry, or set on edge of plate resting on hair so wet Mod Podge does not stick to other things.
  • When the heads are completely dry use an Exacto Knife to trim any excess tissue around the hair line.
  • Mix some Mod Podge and black craft paint at a 50/50 ratio on a paper plate. Paint the doll heads covering all the white tissue. Let dry.
  • The dry head should not have any "white" showing but should also not be heavy black. Touch up and trim where needed.
  • Using a dry sponge brush lightly brush some metallic paint over the black areas so the black is still showing and the metallic is just highlighting the details to give your dead head some life.
  • Tie enough jute twine to each pony tail so that the knot looks rustic and there is enough twine hanging to tie the group together later. About 18" of twine works but don't worry about making them all match.
  • Unravel a section of jute twine to make 5 thin pieces of jute with a knot for each head. I cut long sections and tied several knots then cut them appart. Leaving a little extra on each piece to trim to size later.
  • Tacky glue a knot to each eye socket, and 3 knots to each doll's lips. Set asside to dry completely.
  • Trim the eye and lip knots to desired lengths.
  • Tie all the heads into a group with a simple knot so they can be untied if decorating needs change.

Notes

I covered a TV tray with foil to do this project without making a big mess.

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September 10, 1941

Saturday, April 13th, 2019

Hawaii USA

Dear Pauline,

I am having a new crystal put in the wrist watch and as soon as I gt back to the mainland I will mail it to you.

I am crazy to see you again. While I was writing these few lines to you I received your letter written August 20, so I will stop and read it.

I am missing this letter from Pauline.

So your family think you are kidding. It will be a surprise to our friends and relatives. The first time either one been married. It’s alright with me any arrangements you make about your job and your mother just so wwe can all be happy.

I will get some time off for Christmas. I told Lieut Lett confidential about us but it was too good to keep secret so all the Naval Officers aboard ships know about it and they are planning on giving us a party and giving us a big time when we get married. So we will be a “King for a Day” ha.

I will let you know more later when I get back to the mainland.

My “Precious One” I think about you every day and think you are going to be part of me and I know we will be happy, we will plan together, live and be happy alwasy until we are old. My father was very tough on us kids but he was a Romeo to my mother. We will have lit of thing to talk about later.

I was over at Mr & Mrs Halley last year and ate supper they are very nice to me. I think lot of them.

I will write you more when I get back.

“Say did you say your birthday was September 19th”

By by
Abb.

September 10th, 1941 German armies now have Kiev completely surrounded.

September 11th, 1941 Franklin D. Roosevelt orders the United States Navy to shoot on sight if any ship or convoy is threatened.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_World_War_II_(1941)
 
 
truetts
James Edward Truett Family
Top left to right: Abb R Truett, Bessie (Martin) Truett, Sallie (Turpin) Truett, James E Truett, (woman with baby Gladys May Truett?). Bottom left to right: Russell Truett, Charles Truett, far right William Day Truett.
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August 17, 1941

Sunday, March 31st, 2019

There is a letter missing from Pauline, Pauline has accepted Abb’s marriage proposal.

U. S. S. Cuyama – San Fransisco Calif.

To my Dear Future Sweet Wife,

How that! I received your letter today as we will be sailing early in the morning for Honolulu. I will tell you how glad I am when you said “yes”.

When I read your letter it seem that I had been lost all my life and found the most happiness thing to live for.

I have been a play-boy all my life thinking I was happy and I have seen so may of my friends get married and told me later that I was missing the most happiness thing in life in not getting married. I have been shipmate with a Lieut. Lett for five years who now is aboard ship with me. He was married 2 years ago, they live in San Diego, Calif. I go our to their home a lot. He & his wife are swell, they are very much in love with each other. Both are very nice to me (you will meet them later) they are glad I have met someone I like very much. I showed them your picture they think you are very nice & good looking.

Remember, Pauline is also the name of Abb’s Sister in Law.

Yes Pauline told me the things you said.

Say: I think I should have a picture made & send you one so you can destroy the one you have of my self. Ha.

If you could plan to come out here sometime in October or before if you like. The reason I say October is because I will be out on a battle cruiser for about 15 days in September and I wont have much time off when we arrive back in September.

When you do come out you and Mother could find a furnished apt or house or you could stay with Woody & Pauline until I come in or any way you see fit. Or you could transfer your job out here until we plan other things if you wanted to hold on to your job or if you just want to keep house it all right with me. If you don’t have enough money to come out [as] I will send you some later. After you get out here we can get married at Woody & Pauline’s or at church or we could drive up to Las Vegas Nev. (about 5 hour drive from Los Angeles) and get married the same day (as movie stars). Or we can have a military wedding mustering the captain & officers of the USS Cuyama. Say you get to help me on this wedding you are going to be my wife and I am about to get lost in the fog in suggesting. Ha.

Say honey. Pauline Truett thinks you are it.

I am glad to hear your mother is feeling better. I hope to meet her some day.

Pauline it will be the happiest thing in my life in making you the best husband any wife was had. We can plan & go places, see things & you meet some of my friends and I will meet your friends and be alone that is just you and I be alone some times and I can kiss your sweet lips.

Honey if you think this is rushing you to fast you can come on out to Los Angels & have your job transferred out here and we can go around a while together. But gosh honey I would be afraid to go away and leaving you like that for fear some other man might get you.

I will write you from Honolulu. If you write me this week and mail it in the address [stamped] envelope it will go clipper mail from San Diego to Honolulu.

Your Future Husband
Abb

August 18, 1941 Adolf Hitler orders a temporary halt to Nazi Germany’s systematic euthanasia of mentally ill and handicapped due to protests. However, graduates of the Action T4 operation were then transferred to concentration camps, where they continued in their trade.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_World_War_II_(1941)
Abb Truett
Woody bottom-right tube, person on the left.
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