This incarnation of the clairvoyant floating head is that of Jennifer Tilly who portrayed Madame Leota in The Haunted Mansion film.
Perhaps by carrying her around in your car she can prognosticate weather or not there are any traffic cops near by.
The McDonalds Happy Meal toy includes two handy elements...a sculpt of Tilly's head and a sculpted base right out of the film. If you’re a member of my mailing list I warned everyone to grab an extra Leota toy while they were easy to track down. If you're not a member of my mailing list...it’s off to E-bay for you! You may consider joining my list so you can catch these “fore-warnings” on future projects. You can sign up right from my main page. Ok, back to the project! The McDonalds toy utilizes the optical illusion first used in the Disneyland Haunted Mansions following busts. Turn the toys internal light on in a dark room and Jennifer...er um...Madame Leota will watch your every move. This is accomplished by the head sculpt being viewed from its negative side.
McDonalds was also kind enough to create the toy in the exact same size as one of these plastic craft balls!
What does this all mean? Well if you crack open the ball and remove the face...turn it around and viola, a positive sculpt of Ms. Tilly ready for some paint. The face itself is a very soft plastic that can be easily damaged, so be careful when opening up the back of the toy. If you happen to have the special type of screwdriver lying around, popping off the back is a snap...if not, grab a good pair of wire cutters and pliers. Carefully, cut into the back of the toy removing small sections of plastic until the back is completely open.
Don't force the face out through too small of a hole...you will just ruin it. You want to remove enough of the back to be able to easily lift the face out of the ball. Next up...grab some craft paint.
As with anything that you have to paint, the amount of detail is completely up to you...the point is to have fun! Here are a series of images so you can see a basic step by step of what I did.
Once the face is painted, trim all but 1/4 of an inch off of the outside edge. Paint the back and sides dark green or black.
The first thing I'm going to tell you about gluing everything together is to NOT use hot glue. All it takes is one hot day for the whole thing to fall apart. Use a heat resistant glue like E6000. Glue the head into one half of the plastic craft ornament as shown. I did shoot a little hot glue into the three indentions where the McDonalds toy was screwed together. Once the filler glue is dry you can paint it as well. This was simply to help hide the three screw holes. Once the E6000 has had plenty of time to dry, glue the other half of the ball into place.
The wonderfully designed base can be made even nicer with a coat of paint and a little antiquing. Are you out there McDonalds? Have you been reading all the nice things that I’ve been saying trying to help you sell Happy Meals? Doesn’t that get me a free Big Mac? No? Oh well...it was worth a shot.
The trick to antiquing the base is simply to paint the entire thing dark brown. Before the paint has a chance to dry, wipe it down with a dry rag. This will leave the brown paint in all the recessed areas. Once the brown paint has dried, dry brush the entire thing with a very light coat of gold paint...this will highlight all the raised areas. When it is completely dry, give it a few coats of Krylon clear coat.
When the clear coat has completely dried glue the ball and base together. Once the glue has had time to completely dry, use some floral wire to attach Leota to your rear view mirror. The wire will keep her from spinning around and she'll always face the front.