Here’s a simple diagram that shows how the head of the camel was assembled. You will need
- a foam camel head which you construct (stay tuned for a separate how-to)
- wooden supports (1″ x 2″ will work, or heavy wooden dowels)
- a hard hat
- duct tape and/or hot glue
- upholstery foam
- 6 ‘ of fish aquarium tubing (only if you want your camel to spit) available cheaply in the pet supply area of “Wally World” or “PaySmart” discount stores.
Cut the wooden supports to size. You will need at least 3 vertical supports (perhaps more depending upon how heavy your camel’s head is). Cut additional horizontal supports, attach them to the vertical supports to keep them from collapsing into each other. Duct tape or hot-glue this structure to the hard hat.
Cut, size, and hot-glue or duct tape together a tube of upholstery foam that will fit over the wooden support to pad the neck of the camel. BEFORE you hot glue this to the supports, make sure it fits nicely with the head, shaped well, formed at the correct angle to look like a neck, etc. THEN it’s OK to hot glue it to the supports.
Slip the head-piece on and hot -glue it to the foam, BUT LEAVE THE OUTER FUR LOOSE AT THE BOTTOM, so you can come back later and attach the fabric that will cover the actor’s face. When I made this costume, I just went ahead and glued that piece on at this point, and I regretted it later. I have a new idea for this that I think would work better which I will describe in a separate entry about ways to improve this design. BUT WAIT! THERE IS MORE!
WANT YOUR CAMEL TO SPIT? Leave small gaps in your hot-glued areas so you can run a 6′ length of aquarium tubing up through the neck and into the mouth of the camel (yes, 6 feet, it has to reach down the neck and through the body of the camel). After testing to see that the water sprays out the mouth the way you want it, glue the end of the tube into place inside the mouth. In our case, I ran the tubing over the top of the hard hat, up to the head between the faux fur and the foam support piece, and out through the mouth, clearing the tongue with about 1″ of tubing.
SPITTING IS ABOUT AS LOW TECH AS IT CAN GET. After experimenting with gadgets, pumps, and syringes, I finally realized the simple solution was best. The actor in the back of the suit kept a bottled water with him, took a swig and literally blew it through the tubing to make the camel spit. It took about 2 seconds for the water to travel from his mouth to the camel’s mouth, so he had to know the script and time the spitting with the other actors. We used regular water, but you could color it, add milk (refrigerate that!) or other food-safe additives to make it show up against your stage’s backdrop, with your particular lights, etc.
Fun fun! hugs, v