Now that Foxy’s head is nearly complete, all that’s left are the glorious details! So let’s not waste any time! First off, the creation of the tuft on the top of his head and the ears were pretty straightforward. The tuft was carved from upholstery foam and covered in red “fur”. It was a bothersome shape to work with, but it was a pretty simple affair otherwise, and I was able to attach it to the top of the head with super glue. The main bulk of the ears were cut out of the largest scraps of upholstery foam I had left over (one ear even had to be made out of two pieces stitched together because I didn’t have a piece large enough for the whole thing), while the rim was also cut out of foam and sewn on. After sewing on the fabric, the ears were largely complete, save for attaching them to the head, which will be described shortly.
The eyes are made from a single 2.5 inch Styrofoam ball cut in half. To dig out enough space on the inside to fit a tea light, I used one of those metal objects you use to poke holes in the tops of cans (I don’t have any idea what that thing is called. It’s not a can opener; it’s more of a can…stabber.), and I used the end of a pen to dig a thin tunnel the rest of the way to make a small hole for the pupil. I accidentally cut out too much from inside one of the eyes, however, to the point that one of the tea lights came out the front, so I placed some scraps of craft foam inside to fix the discrepancy.
Before I go on, I must point out one problem I encountered. Almost no glue known to mankind is compatible with Styrofoam. Hot glue is bad. Super glue is bad. Styrofoam glue, based on the reviews, is not guaranteed to work on Styrofoam. (How’s that for irony?) The 3M spray glue I used for gluing together upholstery foam may work, but it’s such overkill for so small an object. Gorilla glue supposedly works, but it can take 30 minutes to dry, which was just not practical. At least spray glue usually sets within ten or fifteen minutes.
In order to devise a solution to my conundrum, I turned to the powers of science. Donning my safety goggles, I got to work testing a few things using a spare Styrofoam ball I didn’t need. What I had read online was that super glue can apparently dissolve Styrofoam and create a toxic gas, which certainly sounds like something that could ruin one’s day. Nevertheless, I was not dissuaded, as I had my doubts that this was really as serious as some people said. To get straight to the point, my initial testing did not result in peril of any kind. Of course, it is always wise to exercise caution, but in this case, no harmful reaction took place, and the Duck remained as safe as ever.
Finding the combination of super glue and Styrofoam to not be a deadly one, I decided to try attaching several different kinds of materials to see what would bond and what would not. First off, I brushed some super glue onto the Styrofoam to see how it would react by itself, and though it did eat a small hole in the foam, I did not detect any poisonous fumes. When it comes to the various materials I tested, I found that super glue bonds craft foam and thick paper to Styrofoam quite well. Fabric does okay, but don’t pull on it, or it may come off. Plastic failed miserably. All in all, I guess super glue did pretty well, considering it’s not meant to be used on Styrofoam. But my bout of mad science was not yet over. Next, I took things a step further by painting the surface of the Styrofoam to see if that would act as a barrier between the glue and the Styrofoam. Careful testing showed that once the Styrofoam was painted, the super glue does not eat a hole in it. Or if it does, you can’t really tell. Furthermore, everything bonds just a bit better than it did before, with the exception of plastic, which is still rubbish at sticking to stuff. Shame on thee, plastic!
Now that my tests were complete, it was time to move on to the real thing. To prepare for gluing, I painted Foxy’s eyes white, both inside and out. I also painted yellow circles around the pupils, after which I painted the insides and edges of the pupils black. Now they were starting to really look like eyes, but I still needed a way to make them light up. My next task was finding a temporary way to hold the tea lights inside the eyes, so that they could be changed later in case I decided to switch between white and yellow light, flickering and non-flickering, and what have you. (Keep in mind that if you don’t paint the eyes, the tea lights will light up the entire thing. Painting the eyes prevented the light from shining through, which confined the light to the pupils. If this is not the effect you want, you may want to avoid painting the Styrofoam to prevent blocking out the light.)
To attach the tea lights inside the eyes, I needed some thin elastic, but I didn’t have any. Unless I did. Thanks to some clever thinking, I managed to obtain the perfect elastic from a weird eye mask I had lying around. The elastic was actually the perfect size and length for the task, and I was able to glue two pieces of elastic across the back of each tea light. I also glued a thin piece of craft foam over the ends of the elastic to better hold it in place. Now I can simply slide the elastic to either side and remove the tea light if the need calls for it.
To complete the eyes, I super glued on fabric eyelids. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned. Remember how super glue can dissolve things? Well, it dissolved the white paint the eye was coated with, which bled through the eyelids and created a lot of pale, crusty splotches, causing poor Foxy to look like he had a particularly uncomfortable rash. To fix this, I hot glued another layer of fabric on top to cover it up. Crisis averted!
Now that the eyes were complete, I attached the eyes inside the eye sockets by sewing through the outer edges of the eyelids (which sounds really disturbing, come to think of it). One eye wasn’t staying in securely, however, and the lower half (as there was no eyelid to sew through) kept falling backwards into the eye socket (again, that sounds really gross). This was simply fixed by sewing a small piece of plastic mesh behind the bottom of the eye. As a note, when I placed the eyes into the eye sockets, I kept them as close to the outer edge as possible to give myself a small gap to see out of around the tear duct area. Even so, I can’t see out of Foxy’s head too well, but I should be able to get around all right if I’m careful.
Now that Foxy had been granted the power of vision, why not hinder it with his super piratical eyepatch? The eyepatch itself was made out of a piece of craft foam to make it solid and covered in black fleece. As for attaching it to the head, this took a bit of thought. You see, Foxy sometimes wears his eyepatch down, while other times, it actually sticks up to reveal his other eye. (Why does he even bother wearing an eyepatch, you might ask? I don’t know. Because it’s stylish, I guess.) Unsure of what position I wanted for Foxy’s patch, I wanted the ability to change it as I saw fit. While I didn’t have a full plan in mind, I did know that I would need to start with a hinge.
During my initial research into how to make a Foxy head, I heard of someone using half of a paintbrush handle for a hinge for his eyepatch. Me? Why, I used a thin wooden stick upon which was once skewered an order of chicken satay I got from a Thai restaurant. After eating said chicken…and giving the stick a good, soapy scrub, I snipped it to the correct length with meat scissors and painted it black, along with two beads. Beads, Duck? For a super cool, super manly eyepatch? Yes, dear readers, beads. That’s one of the things I love about cosplay. Sometimes it can be so much fun putting a costume together using random items around the house. Wind chimes, eye mask elastic, meat skewers. What will that crafty Duck think up next?
After this, I sewed the eyepatch to the stick and attached the beads above the correct eye. With these preparations complete, I placed either end of the stick through the beads so that the eyepatch can now rotate freely. The only thing left was figuring out how to hold the eyepatch up when I wanted it out of the way, while also ensuring that such an arrangement was reversible so that the eyepatch could go down when needed, as well. But for now, I thought I should probably attach his ears first, as they were the last major thing I needed to add.
Attaching the ears turned out to be an absolute nightmare and caused me, at least for a while, to deeply regret choosing such a tough costume. I heard that some people put the ears on springs so that they can wiggle a little, so I decided to try this, as well. Before I go into a long explanation of my methods, let’s cut straight to the point. It didn’t work. You see, I ended up buying a pack of stiff springs, which I encased in some silver fabric using the spare silver glove I bought for Foxy’s claw. This was not enough to hold the ear up straight, however. Rather, the ear just flopped limply to the side. I then tried attaching several springs together with super glue to make a longer spring that could be embedded partway into the ear and partway into the head. This didn’t work, either. The springs simply snapped where I glued them. Great, I sobbed, totally aware of how contradictory such a word seemed under the current circumstances. Now what?
After a lot of thought and a lot of fretting, I settled for chopsticks, as they were nice and long and nice and strong. Hey, that rhymes…. So, I painted the chopsticks silver to look like metal, then, I got to work figuring out how to secure them inside the head. By now, I had already burrowed a small hole into the bottoms of the ears and into the centers of the big black circles on either side of Foxy’s head. But simply shoving the chopsticks into these holes did not stop them from sagging, even though the ears barely weighed anything. Thoroughly peeved, I had no choice but to devise a cunning plan.
This is what I did. To help secure the chopstick, I placed a piece of plastic mesh between the foam of Foxy’s head and the black fabric of those big…ear circles. The chopstick went through this plastic and into the head, where I slid another piece of plastic up the chopstick to rest on the other side of where it entered the head. To finalize this craziness I had concocted, I had the end of the chopstick meet up with the headband that comprises the inner hat inside of Foxy’s head. I then super glued the chopstick to the headband, though it was rather difficult because I couldn’t see the stick, so I had to pretty much guess where it was. I then placed a small piece of plastic mesh between the fur and foam on the bottom of the ear and stuck the chopstick into the bottom of the ear.
I regret to say that even after such exacting work, the ear ended up tilting backwards at a weird angle. But at this point, I felt I could do no better than I already had. The chopstick for the second ear even caused the headband inside the head to be disfigured, which forced me to readjust it until I could once again wear the head without the chopstick pressing on my forehead. In the end, I’m quite bothered that after so much planning and so much hard work, the ears are not even symmetrical, but I’m also just relieved they stayed in at all considering the sheer amount of time it took me to find a viable solution to the problem. I guess sometimes all you can do is settle with good enough.
Well, Foxy is really close to completion now, and I am about as excited as I am exhausted. At least he finally resembles the character he was modelled after, and I am proud, at least, that his likeness is far more accurate than I expected it to be. When I first began this costume, I honestly worried that Foxy’s head would end up being a misshapen mess. That’s the amount of faith I had in my skills. I have yet to figure out a way to make the eyepatch stay up, as the ordeal with the ears was so trying, I lost the will to fiddle with his head any further. Right now, I just need to focus on the most important issues first and come back to the extras if I have time for them. As far as I can tell, only one post remains before I have a totally completed costume!
The Duck is Relieved That Birds Don’t Have Big Ears Like Foxes Do…Ears Anger Me Now…