Making a Deadmau5 Head – Walkthrough
So you’re wanting to make a head like Deadmau5? Well, below is a walkthrough that outlines step by step how I created my Mau5 head! Materials, equipment and the purchase of the tools used came to about $200. I literally had to buy everything new to complete this project. My brother has just completed the black head Deadmau5 wore on Halloween 2008. I will post pictures of his very soon.
Feel free to email me or contact me on Facebook if you have any questions or are looking to purchase a Deadmau5 head. Enjoy!
UPDATE: December 7, 2010 – I am no longer making Deadmau5 heads. Sorry. If you have any questions you can contact me or post a comment. Thanks.
Dremel (sanding and cutting bit)
Hot Glue Gun
Fabric measuring tape
Stretchy Velvet (found at Hancock Fabrics)
Floral Foam (found 2x12×36 pieces at Hobby Lobby)
Tights (white or desired color for the mouth)
Metal Mesh (found at Home Depot)
All-Thread Rod / Washers / Nuts (found at Lowes)
Tacks or Push Pins
Cardboard or Dense Styrofoam
When you first get your acrylic globe you will find that the neckless opening is only about 5 inches. This needs to be widened so that your head can fit inside. If you notice, the opening is cut directly across, aka flat. If you want to get technical, the opening should be angled upward toward the back letting the front of the head sit slightly lower than the back. Doing this lets it sit a little more naturally on your shoulders. An easy way to achieve this is to only enlarge the opening in the direction that will eventually be the back of the mau5head. Leaving the front of the opening alone forces the opening to angle upwards towards the back.
Planning the Head:
Now that you’ve enlarged the head hole we need to divide the globe into quadrants. Use the fabric measuring tape to measure and mark a horizontal and vertical line that divides the globe exactly along the “equator” and “prime meridian”. You might want to do this before you enlarge the neck hole. Otherwise, make sure that when you measure you have the “back” of the neck in the right position. This is important because you will be using these lines to figure out the placement of the mouth in the next step.
Once you have your globe divided out into quadrants you can begin to visualize how the head will be laid out. There are several ways you can do the mouth.
You can use a compass and calculate a half-circle using the horizontal line as the top of the mouth. This will ensure you don’t have a lopsided mouth and everything is even. Go ahead and make a mark at the exact center of the horizontal line facing the front to assist with measuring. On the original deadmau5 head his mouth goes all the way to the intersection of the horizontal and vertical lines on the sides of the head. As I was planning the mouth I felt that this looked a little too big (his head is a little larger than the 14inch globe we are using) so I chose to stop about an inch before the intersection. Using the same angle on both sides I sketched out the mouth with permanent marker. I chose not to use a compass and calculated everything using angles to ensure both sides were identical. Choose whichever way you feel most comfortable. Just makes sure you double check everything.
Cutting the Mouth:
Once you’re satisfied with your mouth and outlined it with permanent marker you can begin cutting. When cutting out the mouth with the dremel, I used a polycarbonate cutting bit. I found that it was easier at high-speeds; it did more cutting and less melting of the plastic. It does however leave a coarse edge. I made sure to cut on the inside of all my lines, just to prevent overcutting. I went back over the coarse edges with a sanding bit. Holding the bit parallel with the plastic edge created a nice smooth straight edge. If you weren’t as precise as you would have liked with the cutting tool, now is a good time to correct anything with the sanding bit.
NOTE: If possible, cut the entire mouth out as a single piece. This piece of acrylic comes in handy when bending and shaping the mesh that goes into the mouth.
Cutting the Eyes:
I wasn’t satisfied with any tap lights or premade half-spheres found at craft stores, so I decided to make my own. Using the 6 inch globes measure out a perfect circle a little larger than 5.5 inches. On a few of my white (and all of my clear globes) at the top was an unsightly nipple. To get rid of this, just angle your circle to the side of the globe and avoid the top altogether.
Once you have your circle drawn use the hacksaw and cut through the globe making sure that you keep the cut as level and straight as possible. You can use the dremel if you want, however I found this acrylic to be very soft and melted easily. If you feel your edges need cleaning up, you can use the dremel with the sanding bit on a low setting to prevent melting the acrylic.
Creating the Lip:
Now that you have the mouth cut you need to add a lip. I chose to use a very dense styrofoam, my brother used a very thick cardboard, so either will work. Just make sure to use something that is strong enough to support tacks or pins when inserted. Now cut strips out of the styrofoam/cardboard and hot-glue them along the inside edge of the mouth. How wide you make the lip is personal preference. Mine is about ½ an inch.
Covering the Head:
This is by far the most frustrating part of the entire project. It took me hours to get this right. Have a lot of patience when you do this section.
The fabric you choose will have a lot to do with how difficult this is. I originally chose very thick velvet with little elasticity. It was impossible to use without tons of seams and folds. I went back and purchased the stretchiest velvet I could find and it made things sooooo much easier. Trust me, buy stretchy fabric!
I decided that I wanted no seams to be visible from the front so I started working from the mouth and stretching the fabric toward the back. Using pins to hold the fabric inside the mouth, pull the fabric as far back as you can. Once you get the hang of it you should be able to pull the fabric totally flat and reach almost the “equator” line on the backside of the head. I used tiny clamps to keep the fabric taunt as I worked the fabric smooth around the entire top and back of the head. (Since we are working from the front to the back, I would suggest gluing the fabric onto the mouth/lip before gluing the back seam.)
Once you’ve worked the fabric tight you have to glue the fabric to the globe. I couldn’t think of an easy way to do this (while keeping the fabric tightly stretched) so I cut tiny holes in the fabric and shot hot-glue underneath the fabric. Now I only did this along the back seam, not all over the head. Remember, the idea is to have as few seams/lines as possible. Once you have a solid seam holding the taut fabric in place, release the clips holding the fabric tight and trim off the extra.
You will repeat the same process for the lower part of the mouth. However this time you have the neck hole to worry about. Using some precision and careful cutting it is possible to stretch your fabric around the neck hole using a single piece. You should have excess fabric along the edge of the mouth after doing the lower part. Fold this fabric making a nice straight line and hot-glue this at an angle to make a nice seam that curves around to the back of the head.
At this point you should have a straight seam along the back of the head, 2 seams curving around to the back from the sides of the mouth and a line along the back of the neck. There should still be a bare section in the back of the head where the bottom and top didn’t come together. We will cover this section by using a single piece of fabric. Cut a piece of fabric making sure one edge is perfectly straight. This edge will be covering the hot-glued straight line from the top piece of fabric. Make sure this edge covers any unsightly cuts, glue marks or seams. When gluing this section be extra careful not to let glue ooze or show through the fabric. Let this section completely cool. Now pull the fabric tight, meeting the two seams from the side and if you need to, down to the neck hole. Pull the fabric tight and glue along the seams.
Shaping the Ears:
I bought the largest package of floral foam I could find, 36x12x2, however if you want the ears to be exact they need to be 13×14. This wasn’t possible with what I had, so I made mine 12×14. Use the permanent marker and sketch out the desired shape of the ear. Once you’re content with the shape, begin cutting the ear out using a knife. After you have the first ear cut out, use it as a stencil and trace the shape onto the other block of foam. Using this outline cut out the second ear.
Covering the Ears:
Just like the head, we’re going to concentrate on making the front look the best. Take a piece of fabric and cover the front letting the excess wrap around to the back. Trim off any excess and try to make the piece of fabric as close to the shape of the ear as possible. Using hot glue attach the fabric to the sides and then again at the edges. Make sure you glue one entire side fully so that you can then pull the fabric tight and glue the other side so that the fabric is snug across the front of the ear.
For the back side of the ear cut a piece almost the exact size of the ear, however don’t overlap the fabric onto the sides. Glue this piece so that it covers any seams created by the first piece of fabric. Take your time when gluing the back piece to make sure your seams are nice and smooth with no glue showing or oozing from the crease.
Attaching the Ears:
During this section it is important to measure everything and to ensure that everything looks correct before drilling and attaching the ears. On the underside of the globe you should still be able to see the lines you drew in first couple steps. Using the top line as a guide figure out where you want your ears to be attached. It works easier if you have a bright light shining on the outside of the head so that when you place the ears on the head and look underneath you can see a shadow of where they are. After deciding where you want the ears located use this technique to mark where the ears make contact with the globe. I drew two rectangles to give myself an idea of how much area I had to work with. Next take the All-thread rods and cut them down to about 8 inches using the hack saw.
NOTE: you won’t be able to thread a nut on the side you made the cut, which means only the original ends will be usable.
Insert the shortened All-thread into the ears, making sure the thread-able end is showing. Two per ear should suffice, however you can add more if you feel you need the added support. Now drill the holes from the inside out the head within the designated area you marked earlier. Make sure not to snag the fabric with the drill bit when cutting through the globe. If this happens the fabric will wrap around the bit and can screw up all that time and energy you spent making the fabric look so good!
(This part can be done by inserting the rods first and drilling afterwards or drilling first and inserting the rods second. Either way you have to make sure the rods that you insert into the ears match up perfectly with the hole drilled in the globe.)
Before attaching the ears add a washer and a nut to the base of the ear for both rods. Screw the nut down tight so that it is against the bottom of the ear. Cover the nut with hot glue. This will prevent the rod/nut from turning when you tighten the nut on the inside of the head. Now insert the rods into the holes you drilled. (Only have the rods stick out about an inch into the inside of the globe, otherwise you will have clearance issues when you insert your helmet.) Now that the rods are inserted into the globe tighten two washers and a nut so that the ears are snug against the outside of the head.
Lighting up the Eyes:
If you try to place the entire LED tap light inside the eyes we created you’ll realize that they aren’t deep enough. To fix this you’re going to have to remove the metal case. Take a knife and break the glue seal between the plastic and metal and remove it. Now we have just the clear lens. Add a few drops of hot glue to keep it attached to the plastic and remove the battery cover because it’s still a little bit too tall.
Attach the dissected tap light to the underside of the eye by applying a generous amount of hot-glue to the top of the clear lens. Make sure it’s in the center of your eyes. Now, using the Velcro that came with the tap light attach the completed eyes to the correct location on the head. If you want to cross out the eyes add some black electrical tape.
Creating the Mouth:
Grab the piece of acrylic left over from cutting the mouth and place it on a large section of mesh. Follow the outline of the mouth and cut the mesh using the wire cutters making sure to leave a good 2 inches around the entire mouth.
The next part requires some time, patience and muscle. Begin folding and bending the wire mesh to resemble the contour of the acrylic. You will notice at the beginning that if you bend it horizontally it will basically undo most of the bending you did vertically. Work the metal to the point where it starts to actually curve. To do this keep working the metal while making sure to push outward as you bend. I used a metal bowl to make this easier. Using the curved bottom pull the mesh around the bottom using the curvature to coax the metal to the desired shape. In some areas I put the bowl on the end of my foot and pulled the mesh.
Once the wire mesh is the correct size and curvature cut off some of the edges leaving small protruding edges. Take the tights and trim them down to a size appropriate to cover the mesh when they are fully stretched. Using the small protruding edges, cover the mesh mouth and pull snug so that the tights are evenly stretched. Do not attach the mouth yet. You need to use the mouth hole to insert the helmet.
Installing the Helmet:
For this section make sure you have a helmet the correct size for your head. I chose a skateboard helmet because it was simple and didn’t have all the weird vents and holes that cycling helmets have.
Even though the helmet is smooth on the top you need to create a larger gluing surface and contact area for the epoxy to cure. Take the piece of acrylic you had left over from the mouth and trim it down, cutting it in half will work, and hot glue or epoxy it to the top of the helmet. Once the glue/epoxy is fully cool/cured test fit the helmet and mark the angle and location you need the helmet attached on the inside of the head. Make sure it is comfortable and that it is at the correct angle. Next, generously apply epoxy to the top of the acrylic on the helmet and place it inside the head. Depending on the epoxy it can take up to 20 minutes before it sets. Do not move the head or the helmet before the epoxy is set. Preferably find a way to keep pressure on the inside of the helmet during the entire curing process. Don’t handle or try the helmet on until the epoxy is fully cured. 12 hours is recommended.
Attaching the Mouth:
Cut out small cardboard strips roughly the width of the lip and about 3-4 inches long. You will be using these on the inside of the mouth to attach the mesh to the cardboard/styrofoam lip.
Choose a location to start and generously apply hot glue to the inside lip (outside of the mesh) making sure not to apply glue where it will ooze out onto the visible area. Now, on the backside of the mesh apply more got glue and place a cardboard strip to the area. Quickly insert 2-3 pins/tacks making sure that they go through the cardboard and into the foam/cardboard lip. To ensure the tacks/pics stay in place you can apply hot glue to them as well. Apply pressure until the hot-glue is fully cool and secure. Repeat this process all the way around the mouth. How many you need to attach will depend on how closely you shaped the mesh to the match the curve of the globe.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions/comments. I’m already working on ways to improve the process, but I’d love to hear your ideas, tips and tricks! Happy deadmau5 head making!