Thursday, May 18, 2006


Mummy's Night Out

Dick Smith offers a very simple method for creating a mummy like the one Boris Karloff played in 1932. The best thing is Smith's list of supplies, which, with the exception of brown greasepaint, reads like a shopping list. Here's what he suggests: Karo syruo, flour, cracker meal, instant coffee, and a roll of "good quality, plain, white paper towels." Sounds like the fixings for making a pie crust, but instead, Dick Smith makes this:

Dick Smith's mummy

STEP ONE: Prepare the paper towels

Just boil some water, add the instant coffee, let it cool, and then dip the paper towels into the brown liquid that results. Dip each piece of paper towel about three times -- you want to give it a nice light brown color. Don't worry about the paper towels getting wrinkled -- you want them wrinkled. Smith also suggests using a thin paper that is used for covering model airplanes , which apparently will make finer wrinkles. Now either just let the paper towels dry or blow dry them. Since paper towels are now designed to be super absorbant, we decided to blow dry them, which took about ten minutes per towels. Four towels proves to be enough to cover Max's entire face and neck.

Step 1: Dye some paper towels Step 2: Dry the towels

STEP TWO: Eye makeyp

Use the brown greasepaint to color the eyelids and the area around the eyes a dark brown. Be careful not to get any greasepain in your eyes, as it stings!

Step 3: Color around eyes

STEP THREE: Apply the paper towel in segments

The key here it to tear the towl to fit various area of your face. Two segments, for example, should cover the area just below the eye and the cheek. Two segments should cover the eyebrows. A long strip of paper towel should cover the forehead, and another long strip will go across beneath the nose like a mummy mustache. A square segment of paper towel will cover the chin, a triangle shaped segment will cover the nose, etc.

The point of making these strips is to allow some natural motion on the face. Cover the entire face.

Step 4: Apply paper towels to eyes. Cheeks with paper glued on

There are several ways to glue the paper towels to the face. Dick Smith's method is to mix Karo syrup with flour -- one tablespoon of flor, one teaspoon of Karo. You can also add brown greasepaint to this mixture togive it some color. This will act as a simple makeshift glue, and is very inexpensive. But despite the fact that Karo Syrup is incredibly popular among special effects makeup artists (often used for blood), it is very sticky and never really seems to dry, so Max and Courtney attached their paper towels with spirit gum, which Smith suggest as an alternative. As you glue the towerls to the face, let it get really wrinkly!

Step 5: Apply additional strips of paper Cover the chin

STEP FOUR: Dye the mouth and tongue blueish black

Smith recommends using food coloring. Mix green, blue, and red together to make a blackish color, and then apply to your tongue and lips. It will stain them a blue black color for a while.

Step 6: Darken the mouth

STEP FIVE: Color the wrinkles

Do this using brown greasepaint. Color under the wrinkles to make them seem more recessed. If you have time, you can also use yellow gresepaint to color the tops of the wrinkles to highlight them.

Step 7: Paint the paper

STEP SIX: Finishing touches

Now you can add some finishing touches. Any exposed skin should be painted brown. If your ears stick out, you can glue them back using some surgical adhesive or a dash of liquid latex. Soap your hair back, if you have any. Now Smith suggests creating a granular paste with a tablespoon of cracker meal, a dash of instant coffee, a tablespoon of Karo syrup and a tablespoon of flour. Now use this paste to mat your hair back. You might also use a bald cap and wrap it in paper towels. We decided to be very simply and just put a fez on the top of Max's head.

Mummy's are dusty, so Smith suggests getting some powdered clay (we bought brown grout). If you want to makeup to stay, spray it with some sealent (avalable at any makeup store) and then toss some of the powdered clay or grout onto the mummy; it will look like speckles of dirt.

Here is the completed mummy:

The completed mummy

See the mummy in action!

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At 4:29 PM, Blogger BlUsKrEEm said...

I've done something similar with cheep one ply toilet paper and latex, but I like the coffee idea. I'll have to try it out.


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