Saturday, October 10, 2009

Halloween Props Part I

I've been holding off on this for a while (and this may partially account for my absence from the web for a while, this has been in play for a couple of months), but I'm at a point where I have some pictures to share. As you may remember from last year, I'm kind of a wacko for Halloween. This year the wacko-ness took a precipitous plunge into insanity.

I have three or four major projects that will make up the garage haunt this year, and I'm going o journal the making-of here (I started journaling at a depreciated blog, but I thought one blog is easier to neglect than two). May be more info than some of you want, but it has been damn fun and a lot of work and, in keeping in the wonderful, cooperative spirit of all of my internet literary friends, I thought there may be some gems in here you can use to scare the piss out of your neighbor kids, too.

I'm here to help.
Project one was a lightning machine. If you follow the link to my old blog, you'll find some info there. This post is about project two: Skull Fountain.

This is an outset of an idea from last year. I had two styrofoam skulls from walmart and an old desktop fountain pump--so, needless to say, I built a fountain to spew blood that dripped down the skull-faces. It was nice, but a couple of problems: 1. the red-dyed water stained the skulls pink and 2. I needed a Monster Mud project, and this one screamed upgrade.

Step one: I took a cheap plastic bowl and draped some mesh screen around the base, and a rough wire frame around the top. I had no idea what the end result was going to look like, but as Monster Mud gives a faux-stone result, I thought just a rough carved fountain was a good place to start. I'm not an artist, so I wasn't too stressed about making it extremely balanced (which was good, because it wasn't). If you look at the crest of the arch over the top skull, you'll see a yellow-ish tube--that is a T I made in the hose leading from the pump in the basin. I cut holes in the top of the T, so that when the water turns on, it will (theoretically) drip menacingly across the faces of the skulls.

Step two: drape screen across the rest of the wire frame.

Step three: make Monster Mud. If you've never worked with MM, you're in for a treat. This stuff is messy and difficult to work with and generally just a lot of fun. It's the kind of material that, once you see what it can do, will make you want to just keep making new things with it. MM is simple to make: take drywall joint compound and dark paint (I used black), and mix to the consistency you need. Slather on with abandon. Tip 1: it's messy. Tip 2: it gets heavy fast--over-build your underlying structures.

The next steps basically involved slathering on layers (five total), dusting lightly with white spray paint to lighten it up a bit (I thought the original color would be too dark to see the dripping blood), and about six coats of grout sealer.

Below is the final result. I've tested it with water and the drip mechanism did actually work (glory be to Zeus), but I'm waiting until Halloween to use dyed water, just in case it gets past the grout sealer and stains. As with all of these projects, I'll have final action shots and videos posted early in November.

Next project: Flying Witch Ghost.


Natalie L. Sin said...

You sir, are an artist : )

Jeremy D Brooks said...

Thanks Nat!

Aaron Polson said...

I'll second that. Wow. Skulls are sweet. That fountain is too sweet.

Jamie Eyberg said...

You are having far too much fun. enjoy.

Jeremy D Brooks said... helps keep me out of trouble

Barry Napier said...

Awesome! I, on the other hand, am not crafty at all and would end up wasting $50 at some crappy store for this.

Kudos to you!

katey said...

Dude, you are amazing. I really, really mean that.

I feel inspired to play with monster mud now. I wish I had a garage and neighbor kids to scare!