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Lughnasadh 2008
My Little Friend

Zabet Stewart (photo)
click to enlarge

My Little Friend

Hasn't every girl had that one special time in her life when wearing a shrunken head 'round her neck was so much more meaningful than a string of pearls? It's not that June Cleaver wasn't stylin' in her own way, but come on, nothing says angst like a shrunken head. These heads are made from polymer clay and wool with some glass, semi-precious stone, and bead embellishments.

by Billi Eggerud

Suggested Listening

Murder Ballads
B Sides and Rarities
by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds


Cutthroat Should Be Coming Into The River
Click here for definitions of difficulty levels.

Finished Measurements

Head is about 2"/5cm high, 4"/10cm including the "hair." The beaded strings through the eyes and mouth add another 4"/10cm or so to the total length. Your mileage may vary.


  • Polymer clay in dark tan or medium brown
  • Face mold (optional)
  • Braided nylon fishing line in black or the color of your choice
  • Various stones, beads, and bones for decoration
  • Sewing needle
  • Acrylic craft paint in dark brown
  • Wool roving scraps in the color of your choice
  • Craft glue that dries clear

Design Notes

If using a face mold, make sure the eyes are closed. Other face molds can easily be found by searching the internet for doll face mold.)


Zabet Stewart (photo)
click image to enlarge

Squish and soften a ball of polymer clay about the size of a walnut until you can either easily fashion a face from it or push it into a face mold. I use a shriveled skin brown color, unless I am making a shrunken Santa or elf head for the holidays, when I use a lovely pinky flesh color that lends itself well to wrinkly rosy cheeks. Once you are satisfied with the face, make some little ears for it and attach them to the head.

Carefully lace the eyes and mouth closed with cotton button twist, using the smallest needle you can. Leave long enough ends hanging to the front of the face to tie knots and string beads, small stones, or even some small bones onto later, about 12" (30.5cm) long. They can always be trimmed.

Next, put a hole through the head going from side to side just above the ears. Use something big enough so that this hole will accommodate whatever you are using to hang it on. If you can't find braided nylon fishing cord, a thin leather cord or hemp twine works very well, too.

Rebecca's Little Garcia
Rebecca Garcia (photo)
click image to enlarge

Bake the little sucker according to the instructions for the brand of polymer clay you are using. When it's ready, remove your little piece of lovin' from the oven and let it cool naturally until it's safe to handle.

Now we antique it. Use an acrylic craft paint in dark brown—it works well to bring out all the wrinkles and shrivels. Just slather the paint on the face and then wipe off with a damp cloth until you have the look you want.

Now take the wool roving and glue it on the head for hair. Make sure that you glue the hair on the back of the head as well as the top and sides. Style it however you want. Sometimes I put it up; sometimes I let it fly free.

Last but not least, embellish this baby. Use whatever beads, rocks, and/or bones that suit the statement you are making. I find that Cornish game hens furnish some wonderful bones. Think about that teensy weensy wittle wish bone and all the charm that it can add to your project. And speaking of charms, don't forget they look nice dangling from the eyes or mouth, too.

Well, you're done now. Go forth and proudly wear your new piece of extreme jewelry. Comments will be coming forthwith, so be prepared.


contact Billi: legal info

Edited by Zabet Stewart and Rebecca Garcia


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