Monday, January 25, 2016

Heat Gun going Gaga

Convocation? at a normal college: Some faculty and newbie students with their parents listening to the President recite statistics and predict never-ending greatness. SNOOZEFEST.

Convocation at Smith College? Grab a bottle of Liquor, interpret your house's "theme" with a costume that features the most skin you feel comfortable showing, get ready to chant and scream.

Oh and if you're a senior you'll need a hat. Seniors wear hats.

During my senior year our theme for Lamont Haus was Lam-ady Gaga. I was stoked and I set to work finding an appropriate way to costume up. (This was still in the Bad Romance Phase of her career).

I stumbled across this as my inspiration:

And I was off.
I could make that - right? It's just melted plastic... And my mom already had a heat gun!

Now what's really a pity is: I think I've thrown out the original sketches I made. It has been over 5 years. UPDATE! I found the original sketch - It was in my old folio. FTW!

So I went to Party City and bought the following:
1 Pack of Big Dark Purple Plates
1 Pack of Small Lavender Party Plates
4 Small Purple Bowls
1 Large Purple Bowl
Phantom Mask
1 Purple Lei
1 Box of lilac rose petals that apparently aren't sold there anymore?

Anddddd.... I started melting on my mother's back porch! You do that by moving the heatgun like a hair dryer in back and forth motions - if you heat just one spot it will melt through and the nearby plastic (still cold and hard) won't give so the hot spot with melt straight through and pull apart. I have done this on purpose but for this project - no good! Do about 4-6" sections at a time or the bottom of a whole bowl.
I first took the large bowl and melted it to make it fit my head a little better. If I'd been smarter I would have just bought a plastic hard hat as a base- then it would have fit, been more sturdy, and not given me sore spots/headaches.
I then added the "stems" of the flowers by "folding" the big plates and adhering them to the base. Then overlapping a small folded plate to gain height. The center is a melted small bowl on the top.
The front flower got an extra layer of small bowl because I had an extra small bowl.
The inner petals were made from small plates pressed into upper stem.
And then you can see the outer petals being installed. You can see the process I had to go through to remove the icky patterning around the edges before I affixed and shaped them.
Then I made some extra head support with 2 plates on the back and side.
Then I hot glued the fake rose petals and the dark purple flowers from a lei to make the face piece on top of a phantom of the opera mask. And the night of? I used a lace ruffle to secure it, using my neck of course. I'm all about safety. The rest of the costume (again - a shame you can't see the original sketches! BUT YOU CAN!) is lace that was put on my body by spray adhesive (ill advised!) and excess petals that are literally hot glued to my body. I still have scars. (Don't try this at home, folks.)
And a great convocation was had by all!
I then used the hat for rally day and to win $150 Halloween masquerade contest.
And finally after 5 years together it made it into the recycling. A long life for plastic plates and bowls. But it will always be my first plastic melting project that make my think of myself as crafty.