The Head In A Jar is my all-time favorite prop and is 100% original! I came up with the idea by accident when I was looking for some rubber spiders to use in the jar. Wouldn't it be cool to put a head in one? But how would you get a rubber head in through the tiny little hole in the top? Then it hit me! Who said it had to be a rubber head anyway? It is supposed to be an illusion after all! Who says it has to really be three dimensional, as long as it LOOKS three dimensional, right?

This illusion is extremely disturbing, but only took about a half an hour to create. I took it to work the day after I made it and there were several people who wouldn't even look at it. It will truly be the most eye-catching piece in my halloween decor this year. I like it so much that I'm considering leaving it in my office as a year 'round curio piece.

Below are some snapshots of how it looks on my bookshelf. below these photos are detailed instructions on how to make your own head in a jar.

This shot shows the head when it is turned slightly. I think the effect is creepier if the face isn't directly facing you.

The straight ahead shot, still eerie as hell. I think the glass distortion and low lighting make it look even better. Hmmmm.......I wonder what my Mom would think.

Making the Prop:

Step 1:

The first step of course, is to find a bottle. I had already purchased this one with the intention of filling it with rubber spiders or something. I got it at one of those resale shops for under a buck. Its a cheap looking thing, with the low quality of glass making the contents appear to shift and warp. All the better for making spooky crap.

Step 2:

Obtain the head of a corpse. I got this one from a homeless person last spring. Juuuust kidding. I actually found this one online in a newsgroup for 3d animators. Its essentially a flattened rendering of a face that would be applied to a 3d model. Do a search on Google for something like "face texture map" and you're bound to stumble into one.

Step 3:

Scale the face to a realistic size and then print it out. I roughly measured my eye and scaled the drawing to the same approximate size (just for your reference, I made the eyes about 1 1/4" wide). Trim out the face. I chose to laminate the paper to make it a little more rigid, but I imagine you could get the same result by printing it out on card stock or a heavy paper.

Step 4:

Roll the face up and place it in the jar. Then crumple up some large paper wad and stuff the center of the jar to make it flatten against the inner surfaces of the glass.

By now, the project should be looking pretty damn creepy, but it still lacks the finishing touch; hair. Originally I intended to use some theatrical hair that I had bought on clearance at Wal-Mart after last Halloween, but it looked too fake. Luckilly, I had a few bags of real hair hidden away in my art materials. Yep, bags of hair. If you must know, I had them because I was going to use them to mix with paper mache to do some fine art sculping about a year ago.

Once you get the hair from a barber shop, friend, dead hooker, whatever, just stuff it in there in small tufts and work it around with a screwdriver to get the desired amount of messiness.

Step 5:

Put a cork in the sucker, hot glue it shut as I did , if you want, and throw it up on the shelf . Its sure to make your visitors shudder.

Send me a photo of your head ina jar and I'll add it to an online gallery that I am building.

Made your own head-in-a-jar?

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