Constructing an avant garde headdress

Over on my YouTube channel, I have a video which shows step by step how to construct the base for a head dress or hair piece. This is a technique I’ve used several times for both photo shoots and catwalk purposes. I’ve been quite surprised at the popularity of the video (relative to my other videos at least) and embarrassingly, it was one of the first videos I ever uploaded and whilst I’m no professional now, it is a little rough around the edges to say the least. Another surprise to me has been the interest in the head dress that I briefly used in the video as an example of some of the things you could go on to create off of the base. I’ve had several emails and coments asking me for more information about this, so today I thought I’d write up a post here on the blog with a step-by-step on how I made it as best as I can remember. I did take photos as I was making it, so that is quite lucky, however I never intended them to be seen by anyone as was taking them more for my own satisfaction, so apologies in advance that they’re not the best framed images, but they do show the process. So, here’s how I made that…


First things first, you need to make a base. The previously mentioned video can be seen here, which shows a step-by-step on how to make that. I also have some photos which you can see below to get the rough idea. You’ll need the following tools and materials for the base:

  • Galvanized steel wire (2-4mm)
  • Duck tape
  • Ribbon (2+ metres)
  • Glue gun
  • Pliers


Now that we have the base made, we can start working off of it as we like. An important thing to remember is the weight and balance. If your model has to walk around in this for long periods, it needs to stay both solid and comfortable. Materials and tools needed are:

  • Kebab skewers (depending on what you need. I used 250-300)
  • Black graffiti spray-paint (I used 2 cans)
  • Glue gun

I’d mused over several different materials I could use to make this, from those sticks you use to keep plants growing straight to aluminium rods. Finally an idea popped into my head to use kebab skewers. I used bamboo kebab skewers that I bought in an Asian supermarket. I checked ordinary supermarkets but they were too expensive for too few. If you don’t have any asian markets near you, or you can’t find them, you can also get them very cheaply online, Amazon sells packs of 500 for a few pounds/dollars. In total I used between 250-300. Obviously, they need to be coloured, so I considered dying them as it’s a fairly porous material, but I thought this could possibly be costly as well as unpredictable, so I settled on using black spray-paint. One tip here is to buy graffiti spray-paint. It runs cheaper, dries quickly and its biggest benefit here is that it dries with a matte finish.

From here on in, it gets a bit a bit more reliant on what you want the final headdress to look like. The basic way of building it is to build it up slowly by placing one stick at a time, using the glue gun to fix each stick at its contact points. Basically where a stick crosses another stick, dab a piece of glue and fix the stick down onto those glue blobs. At first it is quite flimsy, but as you build it up it becomes very, very solid due to the way you are constantly reinforcing each stick. You might be surprised at how just a single out of place stick can throw off balance and shape to your final form (I certainly was), the good thing with using a glue gun is that you can easily remove badly placed sticks and re-place them as necessary. Another tip would be to go over the whole thing with black spray-paint every 2-3 inches of height, as the glue gun glue tends to dry a white-blue colour which is very noticeable. Using the paint every few inches allows you to be able to get good coverage on your glue blobs and they become almost invisible. From here on, I just built it up to the shape I wanted it to be, placing a few sticks, trying it on to see overall shape and balance and working in the directions and areas that I needed to to get the shape I wanted.

And that’s about that! Although it seems like a lot of work, it’s actually a very organic and satisfying process to slowly build it up. If you have any questions, I’ll do my best to try to remember anything, throw me a comment or an email!

2017-10-25T04:24:41+00:00 March 23rd, 2016|Articles, Featured|0 Comments

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