Design by Rafael Castanera, Arkansas Repertory Theatre

Pieces for nose construction.

Nose, fully constructed. The wooden circles are cut out of 1/4" luan and are sandwiched by foam.

The bases of the seahorse heads are plexiglass sheets that I cut, sanded, and covered in pink organza. I traced the position of the notch for where the nose would later be attached.

I constructed the 3-D portions of the seahorse heads buy cutting a kidney-shape out of 1/4" plastic (notched so that the nose would later slide in). I next cut the same kidney shapes out of 4 inch foam, which I glued to the plastic and then sculpted. The foam was not notched fully, but a small amount was cut out to allow the nose to slide in later.

Prior to covering the side pieces with spandex, I covered them in batting to smooth the cut lines in the foam.

I covered the nose framework with a triangular sock stretched very tightly. I then cut a slit in the spandex to align with the slot in the dowel where the nose would slide onto the plexiglass base later on.

Each of the side pieces was glued in place, then I slide the nose into place and glued it as well.

(prior to finishing the end of the nose) detail showing assembled pieces

I next cut out eyes and gill-type things from 1/8" thermoplastic.

I gave the gills a more 3-D shape by cutting a slit in 1/2" foam tubing and glueing it down. I didn’t fully cut in in half so that the plastic could rest in a “notch.”

The ends of the foam were tapered down to the points of attachment of each gill piece.

I made a “sock” for the gills with a small amour of extra along the curved, open edge. This overlap was glued together, then cut along the edge of the plastic for a clean line.

gill inside of sock, prior to glueing/cutting extra off bottom edge.

I gave each plastic base for the eyes a slight spherical curve to make the eyes bulge slightly and to allow them to lay against the side pieces nicely.

Each eye was covered in thin white foam, sculpted, then covered in white spandex.

The eyes were given a little yellow and green spray paint around the edges and finished with black buttons with small white dots painted at the centers.

Before attaching the gills and eyes, I stitched the spandex from each side piece together to hide the exposed edge of the plexiglass (above you can see a portion of exposed plexiglass edge vs. where I stitched to cover it).

detail showing spandex stitched together from either side

The plexiglass base was given shadowing and detailing, and I finished the end of the nose by covering a plastic circle with the same material and attaching it to the end.

The seahorses in all their goofiness!


These seahorses are constructed of plexiglass, thermoplastic, foam, and some wooden elements. Spandex and organza were the fabrics used. Each seahorse will ultimately be attached to a wonderflex skullcap. The shoulder wings are still in progress. More completion/production photos are on their way!

Disney’s “The Little Mermaid”