April 29 Creepy Crafts: Severed Head Edition

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I have some tweaking to do on this one. I don’t like the way the paint is not a solid finish over the plastic, so I’m going to go back and prime it then re-paint it (like I should have done the first time). I also need to trim the clip that holds the light housing so it sits flush.

“Dolls with no little girls around to mind them were sort of creepy under any conditions.” Stephen King

I don’t do anything a little bit. I am over the top, excessive, passionately in love with absolutely everything and dedicated, darling. I am your gung-ho friend. Yeah, that one. My Sister-Cousin once described me perfectly, she said: “You are all-in.” And it’s true, I am all-in. All of the time. I live passionately and unapologetically – get used to it.

When I was a small child, I had a doll collection. And by collection, I mean like 200 dolls. Easily. I named them all, loved them fiercely and would pretend to teach school with them as my students. The thing is, I’m kind of afraid of clicky-eyed dolls. You know, the ones with the moveable eyelids that open and shut. Invariably you will approach one of these dolls in the middle of the night as you go for a glass of water and the eyes will be in between a blink or one eye will be closed, the other open. How does that happen? Do they come alive at some magic hour and in their haste to get back in place, forget that the eyes always reveal the truth of everything? Always. Everything. I never trusted those clicky-eyed dolls, and quite frankly, they freak me out still.

When I was about 22, my mom asked me if she could get rid of the doll collection. By this time they were housed in one of those enormous plastic bags that are used to protect brand new mattresses. The bag was stored in the cellar, next to the garage, where the sump-pump was located, in a little loft. She pulled the bag down from the loft and I could see them through the clear plastic. They were all disheveled, arms in the air, legs splayed, hair, a hot mess. Some of them had started to grow mold on their faces. It was a ghastly display. I dismissed them with a wave of my hand but I was never able to shake that scene.

Fast forward to a couple of days ago, Older Charming and Also Handsome Son sent me a link to a website where someone was selling night-lights created out of decapitated doll-heads. I instantly wanted one. But I wanted to make mine with my own hands…because you know, passion, creativity, the drive to do some weird new thing every single day. So I did.

My son has often described me as Dark, and I would say that is an apt description. I live in a huge maze-like basement that I affectionately call the Batcave. It’s the kind of place where the Buddha would live, if he were a vampire. These doll-head night-lights are the perfect mix of modern, utilitarian, and macabre. Just what every home needs. It does get dark down here….

I set out to acquire dolls today. I bought two for 99 cents each and got a couple of pedestals for $2 each at a thrift store. I have tools and paint and light fixtures. What can I say? I’m crafty. One doll’s head popped right off easily, but the brown doll did not go quietly. She was built to last and I had to saw her head off with my keyhole saw. The Easy Doll’s eyes drilled out effortlessly and without much fanfare but Brownie made me work for it. Her eyes were encased in a tough plastic bubble inside of the head. I drilled and drilled and she just stared. They wouldn’t pop out, no matter what. I finally had to run a combo of drilling and round-filing to get those forsaken eyes out of her plastic bubble head! I then painted everything in a faux patina paint to make the parts look aged, distressed, forgotten. Installed the lights and voila! Scary as shit. Imagine coming around the corner, looking for the bathroom, and seeing one of these beauties. I love them! I should be receiving more doll-heads from a generous donor soon. I think I may try out that cracked paint look on those. These will make great Christmas gifts!

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My starting materials: two baby dolls and two tiny pedestals. I used a 1″ paddle hole-saw to create holes in the base pedestal for the light fixture to string through.
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Drilling holes in the pedestal. This one was made of plaster. I like the ornate, old-fashioned look of  it.
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Wood pedestal
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Very difficult to drill the eyeball out then pull all of the eye guts out through this tiny eye hole. Couldn’t reach it through the hole underneath, too narrow for fingers or needle-nosed pliers.
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Getting a feel for the final state
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Bronzing them
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Faux patina
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