Welcome to the first part of this tutorial on creating the vocal module headphones. Now, there are probably several ways to go about this, and you’re free to try them out, but here’s what I’ve done thus far. I’m also going to break down the whole thing into parts as that might make this task seem less daunting.
- Pen, pencil or marker
- Xacto knife
- Masking Tape
- Craft foam
- Any hemisphere/dome shaped object you don’t mind potentially ruining
- School Glue
- Newspaper or paper towels
- Aluminum foil
- Black headband
Making the Dome Pattern
- Cover your dome with aluminum foil, and tape down the foil with your masking tape. You can do this with newspaper if you don’t have that. You can also just cover the dome with masking tape, however, be warned that this will make cutting potentially ruin the original object later. If you only have one dome to work with, don’t try the “only masking tape” method.
- After you’ve taped down the dome, use a writing tool and divide the dome into 3 sections at minimum and label them according to left, right and center. I’ve done one in 3 sections here and another in 4 sections. experiment to see which style you like more as you might find it easier and more form fitting using more sides than less.
- Carefully lift or gently pull the shape from the original object, maintaining its shape and cut it. If you did this with only using masking tape, you will need your Xacto blade, and you’ll need to cut the tape while it’s attached to the object to maintain its shape. Be careful not to cut into the object or else you’ll damage it, which may also lead to faulty lines.
- Flatten out the parts as much as you can without deforming the dome shape.
- Dome pattern made. If you were to reconnect the pieces, the dome would form.
- Place your pattern down onto your craft foam and trace around. You need 2 of each piece.
- Cut out the pieces.
- Glue your pieces together, matching the markings you made across the pattern. The glue you use is up to you. I used a low heat, hot glue gun as I’m impatient and couldn’t wait for rubber cement or super glue to dry fast enough. If you use the hot glue gun, make small lines or else you’ll see the glue expand over onto both sides of the dome, which can cause uneven proportions and mismatched markings.
- Your dome is made once you’ve finished gluing.
- You may want a base for your headset to sit on. This is also optional but requires you to simply cut out a circle the size of your dome and another center circle within that. Then you glue the piece however you want and trim the edges down.
- Paint your shapes.
- Glue a headband to your pieces to finish it out.
You can choose to add paper mache paste or leave it without. I added the paste because the pieces felt very light, and I wanted more precise and firm structure than what I could initially achieve with hot glue and my cut out pieces.
- School Glue
- Plastic containers for paper mache glue and paper mache clay
- Damp towel
Step 1: Gather Materials, Make Paste and Clay
Paper Mache Paste/Glue
- Mix 2 parts water and 1 part PVA or school glue in a bowl. Depending on how thick you want your paste, you can adjust the glue or water contents. The 2:1 ratio is pretty standard and works well though.
- Cut out strips of newspaper or paper towels. I used paper towels for the base layer, which worked better for me when trying to make the headset’s base. Newspaper wouldn’t quite stick whereas the paper towels would.
For the paper mache clay, follow this link here. If you click on the link, you will find I’ve linked to another website who has an artist specializing in paper mache. She does wonderful works and has several recipes for paper mache clay and paste, and in no way are we associated with each other. I just remember my college professor mentioning her in class one day. Add the materials for your clay and paste recipe to your list of things to gather as well as what’s listed above
Step 2: Vocal Module Headphones Layers
- Begin dipping your strips into the paper mache paste.
- Once the piece is covered, allow it to dry completely. This will take several hours. Now, I’m impatient, so I set a fan in front of it and let it blow it dry for several hours.
- After it’s dried, add a thin layer of your paper mache clay to the pieces and allow them to dry for several hours.
You can add as many or as few layers as you like after this step. I typically added more, but keep in mind the more you add, the heavier your end result will be. Also, with each layer, you need to allow it to dry so keep that in mind as well.
Step 3: Sanding and Smoothing
Follow the steps here to sand your headset without actually sanding it. This will give it a smooth appearance. If you decide to sand, you must wear a mask and go somewhere well-ventilated or outdoors as the fine powders can be toxic to the lungs. Once again, I am not associated with the artist. All credit goes to her for the recipes and techniques with the paper mache.
Step 4: Paint and Glue
You’ve made it to the last step. It’s time to paint. I use acrylic paint for my projects since it’s washable. Don’t forget to go ahead and attach a headband here. I used a thin black one and superglued it to the two pieces rather easily.
You’re all finished! Welcome to the end of the project. It takes a lot of work and patience, but you’ve done it. You’ve made your headset. One thing I’d like to note, is that I did not attach a microphone to this. I could have, but I don’t like things in front of my mouth or my face. My glasses are enough for that, but you can make a small microphone if you’d like. It was just what I didn’t want to do here. As always, thank you for the read, and if you have any questions, leave a comment, and I’ll respond as soon as I can.