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Shrunken Head- Tutorial

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This is a tutorial on how to improve on some cheap decorations and make them fit for a voodoo queen!

We have had a couple of these shrunken heads bouncing around the shop for awhile. In fact we had one of them in the pirate bathroom hanging from the towel rack for about ten years. Then recently we got a grab bag of mixed stuff from another event company that was going out of business and ended up with a few more. Sort of loved them before but never thought of putting them out at the haunts because they were pretty cheap looking. So we decided to see what we could do to improve upon them and darn it if it wasn’t worth the effort!


2- 2″ Foam brushes

1- Small can of Shellac (we used amber because thats what we had in house)

Stir stick and throw away container

Latex Gloves (optional)

Wet rag

1- Container dark brown wax (or raw umber acrylic paint)

Black Acrylic paint

Twine with big needle

Stuffing (optional)

STEP 1: (Optional) Our heads are hands on and we wanted them to feel less plushy, so we made a small incision and added wads of paper bags into them until they felt hard.

STEP 2: Paint! With the dark paint (mix black with raw umber) use a somewhat wet mixture and fill in all of the cracks. Then dip that brush in water and use it over the entire head so you have a thick layer in the cracks and a thin layer over the rest of the head. Use a wet rag to wipe off any area you would like more of an accent so that the underlying color can show through. Allow to dry enough that you may touch them with out removing paint.

STEP 3: We didn’t think that the stitching on these heads looked very realistic so we added our own. Thread the twine through any areas that contained the rubber stitching. You can drill or pre- poke holes with something else if it easier. You can get as detailed with this as you like. While you are hear sew up the incision you made to add the stuffing if you took that step!

STEP 4: After they are completely dry, throw on your gloves and stir the shellac. Pour a small amount into a separate container (so that you don’t contaminate the whole container with paint). Use the second foam brush to put on a layer of shellac. This will seal the first layer of paint and give it that nasty shiny look. Allow a long time to dry! Throw away any of the shellac materials in a tied plastic bag. Shellac is fume-y and highly flammable.

STEP 5: (Optional) If you have the wax go ahead and add a layer! Focus heavy bits into the cracks. The wax may stay a bit sticky so if you don’t want this than skip that step. We prefer it because it adds to the fun of someone picking them up in our interactive experience…

Thats it! Hope you enjoy your new and improved shrunken heads, fit for a voodoo queen!

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