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How to make your own Shrunken Head for Halloween

Updated on April 22, 2011

Make your own Shrunken Head.

The Head-hunter tribe of South American, Native Americans, are so-called because of their gruesome methods of treating their enemies severed heads.

With a special secret recipe they preserve and shrink them to the size of an orange.

You can fool your friends by making an imitation shrunken head which will really scare them! Or why not make a whole bunch of them to hang by the hair on a hook on your bedroom wall?

You Will Need

A large orange

Plenty of newspaper

A small packet of wallpaper paste.

Some thick paint, (poster, powder or oil)

Brushes for both paste and paint.

Strong, model making glue.

Wool, or pieces from an old wig for the hair.

Follow these simple steps below....

1) Use some newspaper to cover your table or work-surface, then shred all the rest into small pieces.

2) Make up a large jar or bowl-full of wallpaper paste according to the packet instructions.

3) Soak a few of the paper strips in CLEAN WATER, then press firmly on to the orange until it is completely covered.

4) Brush plenty of paste onto some more strips of paper until they are completely soaked, then press a thick second layer of these on to the orange.

5) Leave in a warm place till quite dry (about three days). Repeat steps 4 and 5 several times. You can give the face a 3D effect by using wads of paper well soaked in paste to build up the nose, chin, brows and cheekbones.

6) When your model has dried after its final layer, cut it in half from chin to crown with a sharp knife. Carefully ease off both halves from the orange.

7) Glue the two halves together and paint the head with thick, yellowish flesh-coloured paint. When this is dry, use a smaller brush to paint on the eyes, lips and nostrils.

8) Finally, glue on plenty of wool or hair to the scalp. Remember-the hair on shrunken heads does not shrink, so the longer you make it the more real it will look.

Credit to "Misty Annual" 1981.


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    • mistyhorizon2003 profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Lawson 

      7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      You are welcome zzron :)

    • zzron profile image


      7 years ago from Houston, TX.

      Ok thanks :)

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Lawson 

      7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      I wish I could, but this was something I found out years ago, and I never took photos. If you decide to try it let me know, email me your pics and I shall add them to this hub, :)

    • zzron profile image


      7 years ago from Houston, TX.

      Hey neat hub, show us a picture of one.

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Lawson 

      10 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Thanks Christoph, I must try that one :)

    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 

      10 years ago from St. Louis

      Hi Misty! I have found the following method very effective. Take an actual severed human head. Place in oven on low temp. for 7 days. Hang on wall. It works great and looks really authentic!

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Lawson 

      10 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Thanks Katherine, let me know how you get on if you decide to try it out :)

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      This is so cool - and a neat idea for Halloween. Saw the title and thought, I gotta check this out!

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Lawson 

      10 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Thanks Rochelle, but it should be noted that you remove the orange before the final stage. Not so much of a new plan as the book this came from was published in 1981. Thanks so much for commenting :)

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 

      10 years ago from California Gold Country

      In the USA there are regional traditions for making apple dolls-- which dry up and look like wrinkled old folks-- this might be a new tiwst on that plan.

      Paper mache is alway a great material for doing all sorts of creative crafts-- and great for kids because it's cheap.

      Using the orange as a base is a good idea, as it doesn't tend to rot-- and even smells nice.

      good directions.


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