Furry Feet
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Updated 12/10/03...Help! I Need your Input!

Below is a photo comparing an example of the foot prosthetic I used at San Diego Comic-Con (very very furry) with one I just finished for use at the premiere/Oscar party.  Here's the thing.  The older version is far hairier than the "real" movie prop.  But it reads as "hobbit" from the stage because it is exaggerated.  The newer one is closer to the hairiness of the movie prop, but I worry it won't be as convincing from far away, especially as my feet aren't hobbit-proportioned.  So...opinions?  Put them in my guest book or write me an email!
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Ok, back to the how-to part of the page...

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My First Furry Feet
are just my feet with synthetic hair spirit gummed to them.  In this picture, they are liberally covered with crepe beard hair in a combination of ruddy brown and dark brown, intermingled and glued down with spirit gum.  I thought about buying latex Hobbit feet, but decided finally on a cost-saving approach.  So my feet aren't quite big enough...it works for now.  

Hobbit Feet, Second Edition, was the same technique using hair trimmed from my own head after a haircut.  This was an interesting exercise in public embarassment and I wouldn't recommend asking your hairstylist for a baggie of your hair clippings unless you really want to see how red your face can get!  But since I'd already brought in a photo of Frodo from the movie and asked for my cut to look "just like this" asking for my cast-off hair was only worse relatively speaking!

Then I got ambitious
.  Well, sort of.  Kel (Merry) hand-punched synthetic hair into hair lace, making a "foot toupee."  I was not this ambitious.  That's a scary amount of work.  But I envied the fact that her feet didn't shed so badly they ended up bald at the end of the day.  (Sheesh, sometimes I can't believe what I'm typing, here!)

So, instead I used a technique for making foot patches I heard of on the Numenor site.  First you get an old pair of panty hose -flesh-toned!  Cut a shape roughly equivalent to the shape of where you want the hair to "grow" on your Hobbit foot.  Then apply a layer of liquid latex to the top of your bare foot, also where you want the hair to be.  After that, you apply the pantyhose piece directly atop the wet latex.  This will reinforce the latex so you can (theoretically) use the piece over and over without it falling apart.  Apply another layer of latex atop the pantyhose.
Once you've got the latex-pantyhose-latex sandwich established, you begin to apply the hair.  Since I was using clippings of my own hair, the lengths were already pretty short.  But you can always trim to suit yourself.  (More detailed instructions on how to do this with fake "crepe" hair are on the Numenor site.)

Important! Start applying the hair from the BOTTOM UP.  If you start from where your foot joins your leg, you will be layering the hair backwards.  The practical upshot is that you will be getting your fingers stuck in the hair and wet latex and pulling the hair up.  You will end up with hairy, latexy fingers and a total mess on your foot.  Eeew.  Don't do that.

Apply the hair in rows, first putting down a lengthwise blob of latex (about a half-inch long).  That's what I'm doing in this picture.
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After you've laid down that extra blob of wet latex, take a bit of hair (less than you think!  I ended up with VERY hairy feet...more so than I'd planned!) and stick one end of the bunch into the latex.  The Numenor site says to press it in for a few seconds.  If you can manage that, you're way more talented than I am.  Whenever I tried, I just ended up sticking the latex (and the hair) to my fingers and not to my foot.  What did work for me was to wiggle the end of the hairs back and forth a bit, which coated them in the latex and stuck them securely.

Then, when you finish a row across your foot and go back to start the next row higher up, I found it useful to paint the web blob of new latex just barely over the "stuck in the latex" ends of the preceeding row.  That reinforced where the hair met the appliance.  Hopefully that will make it less prone to shed.
Right Foot, Halfway Done:  In this photo you can see how the rows of hair have been applied.  You can also see a hazard of the pantyhose - namely the spot on my leg where it rolled up.  I plan to just trim that section off once everything is dry and it should be fine.  My, I have stocky, unattractive ankles!  When did that happen?
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Completed Feet:  As you can see, the hair turned out looking quite dense - more so than I'd planned.  At first, I considered thinning it out, but I suspect that it will shed out a bit anyway and if I thinned it I might regret it later.  So, we'll see.  Maybe a little trimming.

Anyway, when I wear them "for real" at San Diego Comic-Con I'll probably spirit gum some stray hairs here and there around the borders of the appliances to blend the hair line a bit better.  It looks pretty stark here.   Still, I'm very satisfied!

Oh, one last thing...
see how the latex really stands out where the hair ends and the leg begins?  The latex is wet, here.  If you buy flesh-toned Ben Nye latex, it dries darker, and I could barely see where my skin ended and the latex began later on.
EEW!  A skinned rat!

No, this is what the hair patch looks like removed from the foot.  Disgusting, isn't it?  But useful, because this way, instead of sticking random bits of hair to your feet with spirit gum to be Hobbit-like, you just slather spirit gum on your foot, slap this down on top of it, and off you go!

(Geez, sometimes I worry about me!)
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