| This is the WireForm modeling wiremesh,
which you will use to form your phantoms head and shoulders. It is an exceptionally
malable wire mesh that resembles screening. Wireform comes in various sizes.
I believe Walmart's craft section carries it in 12"x24" single sheets.
Michael's carries several sizes, with varying mesh sizes and colours, including
rolls of 20"x5'. This particular package held three 16"x20" sheets.
I used an aluminum "diamond mesh" for the face, a smaller mesh size that holds detail very well and is extremely light. The heavier meshes dont pick up the facial details very well, and actual seem more noticable under the cheesecloth. The downside of this is that the finished form is very fragile. I used a larger mesh for the lower half of the armature.
NOTE: I used a mannequin to create my form, but a styro head would work just as well.
| NOTE: Please be extremely careful
with this mesh, I strongly suggest wearing use gloves when working with
it. The cut edges are razor sharp and you won't even know you've
sliced yourself until later (when you go wash your hands---ow ow ow).
This is "Stiffy", a fabric stiffener many use to
create small free standing ghosts for centerpieces or such. It isn't strong
enough to create the phantom by itself, but it will hold the cheesecloth
to the armature rather well. Honestly, I'd say Elmers glue would work just
as well. On the second phantom I made I used a spray on stiffener called
"Stiffen Stuff"--worked just the same.
| Here is a basic diagram of how the form,
after dry, was placed on the wooden dowel armature. I used 5/8" diameter
wooden dowels, cut to the lengths shown, painted black, eyescrews screwed
into each end. Use pliers to open one eyescrew slightly, link with next
I used a piece of a clotheshanger for the head, as that section comes closer to the front of the face and the hanger is less noticable than a dowel. Slip the top end of the hanger through the wire mesh form, curve with pliers. I am reinforcing the area with a little wire around the hanger and woven through the mesh, so the mesh doesnt break and the head doesnt slump down the hanger. The same can be done on the ends of the shoulder dowel, to keep the form from sliding down one end as it moves. At the moment, I've merely wrapped some electrical tape at each end of the shoulder dowel.
| This is the basic finished form on the
wooden dowel armature with cheesecloth attached. As I mentioned before,
I left some cheesecloth hanging down the front of the form, to suggest
You might notice here, I used some leftover wiremesh on the lower arms, just to open up the arms a bit more.
Finish draping (slide hood over black coat hanger), spray with Rit Whitener & Brightener, light with blacklight.
Under blue light to suggest blacklight