This Halloween Isabelle wanted to be.... a great horned owl. Not any old owl, a great horned owl. I figured it would be a great family project. I could also use a lot of random materials I had lying around the house, and could try out some new maskmaking methods I read about on the Internet.
I had a hood I had made as part of an earlier experiment, made from mixed brown "beaver" fur and the faithful old McCall's MP328 pattern (see previous blog post "Random Things on Hubby's Head"). We used this hood as the base of the mask.
For the eyes, Isabelle formed round shapes with brightly colored Fimo over styrofoam balls, covered with Saran Wrap so the Fimo wouldn't stick and could be removed from the styrofoam afterwards. She left the centers of the eyes open so she could see out of them. Similarly she made the beak out of Fimo, sketching a beak shape out of cardboard and then shaping the Fimo over that.
For the round areas around the eyes and the "V" shape of the forehead, I cut shapes out of sheets of foam that had been used to pack ceramics and glued them to the hood. In order to get the direction of the fur to look natural and pleasing, I made patterns for the pieces using these instructions. I outlined the round areas of the eyes with black faux fur. Isabelle trimmed the "V" shape of the forehead with a feather boa we bought at Joann Fabrics, and she made the "ears" with feathers we bought there as well.
We also had a huge roll of craft paper we bought at a garage sale one summer for $1. We cut out a big piece of this, spread it out on the kitchen floor, and had Isabelle lie down on it in order to sketch out a pattern for a "wing" type cloak. We made the cloak out of a large piece of brown felt, sewing on the "beaver" fur on the top and back for the wings' shoulders and some cream colored "rose" faux fur for the downy undersides. Isabelle outlined the edges of the big feathers with a black Sharpie and colored in the tips black as well. Brian made thin sleeves of fabric at the edges of the cloak and fed thin wooden dowels through them to stiffen the edges of the wings, and sewed elastic loops into the cloak for handholds.
Finally, for the speckled chest of the owl, we just happened to have a faux fur vest lying around that was just perfect for the part. Black leggings completed the ensemble.
Then on Halloween, it rained, and the owl just happened to have to carry an umbrella and wear purple rain boots!