Currently at the University at Buffalo we are creating the world of “Grease” the musical. I am working in the costume shop this semester and have been assigned the task of creating the bubble headdresses for “Beauty School Drop Out”!
There are four dancers that are going to be wearing these headpieces. So not only do the bubbles need to be extremely durable during the dance, but they also need to be secure on their head. To top it all off the headpiece needs to be put on during a quick change – don’t they always…
My project has taken on many forms so far in its development. I created a few prototypes, but now we finally have a concrete plan which I am in the midst of executing.
The original plan involved plastic canvas, as a foundation, plastic play balls, spray painted and covered in glittery fabric, Easter eggs, spray painted, clear Christmas ornaments, and finally spray foam to hold me all together.
I began by patterning out a hat-like base, then sewing some of the play bills and ornaments to it, and en adding in spray foam. While the spray foam was still soft i placed the bottoms of the easter eggs into the foam to give it some bubble dimension. I probably made 4 layers like this, working upwards until the headpiece was around 9″ above the dancers forehead.
The end result looked more like a cake than a pile of bubbles, so revisions were made.
It was decided that the opaque nature of the foam and playbills and Easter eggs were not giving the right effect. So we put those aside and focused on the plastic ornaments.
After testing a few options we case to afix our plastic ornament bubbles to plastic sheeting. The sheeting is the same shatterproof plastic used in hockey masks. I then used scissors to cut out a cone-like pattern. This plastic cone became the base of the headpiece. To hold in the dancers hair we have a head wrap that is spandex, allowing them to easily slip in and grip their head and create a snug fit. The cone base will the be sewn to the head wrap, along with a chin strap for extra stability.
I am the using a stencil cutter, a hot utensil which melts plastic, to create holes in the plastic cone to push the hook of the ornament through. The end look is a collection of transparent bubbles, the exact look we wanted.
Today I even dyed some of the plastic bubbles pinks and purples using rit due at high concentrations. The effect gives us more of the colorful nature of bubbles that we see in real life.
I am looking forward to the end result of all of them together!