This may be the weirdest thing I have ever blogged. And I have talked about my arsehole being sewn up. But I made a Frank Sidebottom style head for my husband’s birthday and I have had a few requests to share how I did that. And why…
Birthday gifts during lockdown are tough! Yes, you can order online but not all shops are offering delivery and there was a worry of whether things would turn up on time. So I decided to make a Frank Sidebottom style head that looked like my husband. As you do.
Who is Frank Sidebottom?
Frank Sidebottom, for those who don’t know, was a character in the 80s and 90s and beyond created by Chris Sievey known for his large spherical head. Singer, musician and comedian, Frank became well known through his own TV shows and appearances on other shows.
In 2014, the movie Frank was released and was inspired by the life of Frank Sidebottom. For a more real life look, the documentary Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story “explores the extraordinary secret life of artist Chris Sievey, best known as his alter ego Frank Sidebottom, the maverick Northern comedian in a fake head.”
So I decided to make a Frank head that looked (a bit) like my husband as what more would a 48 year old man want for his birthday??
how to make a Frank sidebottom head
I started with a beach ball, a stack of old newspaper torn into strips and a tub of PVA glue. I blew up the beach ball and propped it on a bowl to make it steady. For the paper mâché paste, I used two parts PVA glue to one part water and mixed in a bowl. I tore newspaper into strips about 1.5-2cm wide and started sticking them over the beach ball. You need to let it dry between each layer. I laid the strips in opposite directions for each layer and did 5 layers.
Once it was all completely dry, I undid the valve on the beach ball to let the air out and eased my hand down the sides to release it and squeeze the air out until it was empty and I could pull it out of the hole at the bottom. I then trimmed the bottom neck hole to the size of an average head to get it on and off. Then using some cardboard, I shaped ears and a nose and stuck them to the head with masking tape and then added more layers of paper mâché over the top of these to form into proper shapes.
Then it was painting time, as we are in lockdown, I had to use the paint that we had around the house. The kids had some acrylic paints from an art set and I had some tester paint pots from when we painted our hallway in cream colours. I added a bit of pink to the cream and used this as the skin colour. The hair is acrylic paint in brown.
I drew around a pot to get a template for the eyes and then painted them in and used browns and reds for the eyebrows and lips.
The Frank Sidebottom eyes are what makes Frank Frank and so I copied them in pencil and painted in. If I was just making a Frank, I could leave it there. But next I had to add the beard to make it look like my husband.
I painted in the beard and used a hole punch to pierce one ear. I made a hoop earring out of tin foil and then let it all dry. And voila!
OK, it may look a bit more like George Michael than Timm Cleasby but hey, I tried!! All in all, it took about 5 days to make, but the majority of that is the drying time between layers. If you took out the drying time, it was a few hours work. It was great fun to make and I knew it would be a birthday present that he wouldn’t forget.
So what do you get the man who has everything? Well you make him a Frank Sidebottom style head that looks like him! (Disclaimer: this gift may only be appreciated by childish fools who giggle at farts)
Peace and love