The staff and dagger were really some of the easiest (but kind of time consuming) parts of the costume.
The staff was simple, it’s a snake on a skull on a stick, basically, with some horns on the skull. The skull was found at a Halloween store (Spirit, maybe? We went to a lot of them looking for the right skull). I forget what the horns were made of, I think Sculpey, with a wooden base and a peg to fit inside the skull. We attached it with two part epoxy. I believe the skull was also filled with expanding foam to give something for the stick (that we found, honestly, hanging off a tree, and we cut it off and stained it) to adhere to. It was also stuck in with two part epoxy.
We also found these awesome, hand made looking nails and nailed them into the head and first six or eight inches of the rubber snake. We also punched holes into the skull where the nails would be sitting, and poured two part epoxy into the holes, as well as on the skull where the snake would be sitting. Then we set the snake in it’s place, held it for about twenty minutes to make sure that it was set and wasn’t about to fall out (it was pretty heavy, at five feet long). Then it was done!
This isn’t the finished dagger (the finished one had a green iridescent paint along the edges). We hand drew the blade based off the concept art, cut it out of MDF board with our vibratory cutter, the handle was just a dowel with a slot cut in the end and resined in place. The joint was smoothed out with putty and modeling paste. We wrapped the same leather strapping that was used for my skirt around the handle, put a loop of the leather at the bottom so I could wrap it around my wrist and drop it if I needed an extra hand.
We also nicked up the blade a bit, to give it some wear and tear (sometimes if a costume is too clean or too new, it just doesn’t look right!) and added the green tinge to the edge, to make it look poisoned. I think it turned out really well!
My next and last post on the female Witch Doctor will be about the body paint, and then hopefully some posts will follow on the making of the male Witch Doctor!