Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Eye can see you...

New toy obtained, though not for this year--doesn't quite fit into the Indiana Jones theme, so I'm thinking Mom will be borrowing it for this time around.  I got it at Walmart for $13, which has a quite respectable amount of cool Halloween stuff--I also picked up some cool paper plates.  The voice could be a little clearer--some phrases it kind of mumbles a bit, but it's all in a spooky voice, so you get the gist of the phrase.  Will have to figure out a year that I can use him properly.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Cauldron light

I finally constructed the cauldron light!
  • 1 Plastic bowl
  • Black decor chain
  • Great stuff 
  • Paint
  • Wire, 18 gauge
First off was to make some flames with the great stuff.  Pretty much like making seaweed from a few years ago, but not connected in one solid piece.  I ended up trimming pieces off a few of them to make them a bit more flamey, but generally easy.  I painted them with a layer of gold, then yellow and red.   I painted the plastic bowl gold inside and then black on the outside (or rather, the design that was already on a black bowl)

Once everything was dried, I used a socket light to put the extender in and used the wire to make a loop that fit around the extender.  I played with the chain a bit until I got a length that would be short enough to hide the bulb among the 'flames'.  I drilled 3 holes in the bowl near the rim and attached the chain pieces, then attached the chain to the ring around the extender.  Once all the chain was on, I went around the bowl and glued down the 'flames' around the rim.  Then I hooked in my new light that can change colors and played with a few different looks.  But ultimately, the orange light will go in this one.  

Friday, September 15, 2017

Let there be LIGHT! and MUSIC!

New Toy!!!  I came across this the other day and got very excited.  I had actually gotten a lightbulb bluetooth speaker for the back porch for music but this is a colored bulb that's a bluetooth speaker...and you can change colors with your phone.  Ooooh....Anyways, it arrived today and I've just been playing.  The great thing about it is that I can pair it with my phone and play Indiana Jones soundtrack via Spotify and it also doubles as an extra light out there.  I'm not sure that it will work real with a timer (may have to play a bit) but even if it's just for Halloween, that's a much cooler speaker.  It goes super loud (which has been a problem in the past) and I can get the music right out front where my trick-or-treaters can hear it.  And with the light, I can play around with different colors without plugging in different colors.  Verra excited.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Are you my mummy?

Twas time to begin construction on the mummy!  It was a nice cool night out and got the urge to really get a start on the mummy box.  I had a large 4'x8' piece of Styrofoam cut down a bit at home depot and did quite a bit of measuring (and well, remeasuring) and math to figure out how best to construct this thing.  That said, it's a pretty simple construction.  Basically a box with a half a lid.  The 'mummy' will only be a torso with arms and a head, the cover as if it was ripped out.  Still deciding if I want the arms to be outstretched or crossed.  Used gorilla glue on this one, and after a little patience, had a nice box that's about 5 feet tall by about 2 feet wide, with a depth of just under 10".  I'm going to let it set overnight before painting it or putting on the foam.  I'll probably paint it first before the foam.  The foam is just to give the basic form of a torso and something to stick the arms into (or rest on, depending on which way I go).  I've got gauze bandages that I'm planning on dipping in paper mache (or rather, watered down wallpaper paste) and building up some bandages.  But it's definitely on it's way!

Skull rings!

Skull rings have arrived!  They're a little less 'adjustable' in the sense that they don't have metal pieces that bend, but plastic that pinches a bit, but will give way to a larger finger.  Meh. Can't always have everything ideal.  They'll work just fine for little kid fingers, and some with larger fingers who want skull bling.  Although now I'm realizing that there may be arguments over colors.  There are 4 different ones on the skull rings, 3 on the spiders, and 4 on the snakes.  Hopefully the 'choose wisely' will deter any arguments.  *crossed fingers*  Although, most of my trick or treaters are in and out pretty quickly; if they linger, it's usually out of my sight on the front lawn.  Though maybe that'll change a bit this year--some pretty cool stuff on the porch this year.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Lovely bones

So I got a bunch of skulls at the dollar store, but I started to worry that I would a) run out of skulls pretty quick and b) might look a bit odd if I didn't have enough.  I mean ideally, I'd love to have hundreds of skulls and do a catacombs-esque wall *sigh*....but that's a whole lot of skulls.  So I looked around for filler.  Plastic bones, femurs and such, are wicked expensive if you get them reasonably sized.  And if they're going on a fence, the 3-4 inch ones aren't quite going to work.  So I started to look up making my own bones.  Obviously the first thing I ran into was paper mache bones.  I wasn't opposed per se, but that's still a lot of work for the number I'm looking at. Plus, I was hoping for a much quicker kind of a project.  So I started thinking about cheap, readily available products I had that would also be weather durable.  After some musing, I came up with what I consider a fairly brilliant idea.  *toots own horn*.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

"Why did it have to be snakes?!?"

This project wasn't quite as bad as I was anticipating.  I mean, I expected it to be filled with horror and constant shuddering...so anything short of that was going to be amazing.  Like Indy, I loathe snakes.  Something about them sends major signals to my primitive lizard brain that scream "DANGER! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!!"  So doing a snake hat was something I knew was going to be challenging.  I considered getting a fake one, but everything I looked at was super expensive for the size I needed--and then I'm left with an expensive snake that I feel like I shouldn't throw out.  Plus they weren't stiff enough to be posed.  Except for the plushie ones and they couldn't be out in the elements.  So I circled back around to making one of my own.  After a little pinterest mining for ideas, I decided to go with the stiff wire with a pool noodle around it.  Which worked out really well.  I also covered him in foam just because the pool noodle isn't great at taking paint, and it made him a little more weather proof and able to blend in with the carved head.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

First Halloween Scouting trip

Halloween has hit the stores with a boom and suddenly it's the most wonderful time of the year!  So it was time for a little scouting.  Nowadays it's rare that I'll buy props--I'm much more likely to buy parts to make props, but you never know.  MAYBE I'l find the perfect prop that will complete the yard.  So scouting must take place.  Plus, I wanted to see if the dollar tree had their skulls out yet.  So first up was Zurchers, where I picked up a roll of gold tablecloth (aka, my backdrop for the porch).  While there I found a gorgeous zombie/corpse guy that I'm seriously debating about getting.  He's $158, which is pretty steep, but actually pretty average for that type of thing.  Anyway, he would be a perfect "Crap, I just chose the wrong grail goblet" guy or a white walker for (potentially) next year.  Plus, he doesn't have a long thing where he says stuff--I hate that.  He just moans and lurches around.  But I still want to price him and consider options before committing.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Choose Wisely

So part of my plan for the porch section is to dress up as the holy grail knight and dispense treats.  But how you ask?  Ah.  So Indy has to make a choice between potential grail cups.  My thought was to bring over that choice with a selection of treats, which I've recently obtained.  But how to have them choose?  This is where the treat dispensary comes in.  I basically just glued together a half of a box with styrofoam and 3 sections that are big enough to cover a treat bowl.  I'm planning on cutting out hand-size holes over each one and then adding some cloth or around the hole to make it hard to see which hole has what treat.  I've also carved "Choose Wisely" into the front.  And I have plans to murmur "he chose...poorly" while looking sadly at a skeleton I'll have all broken in a corner.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Tricky treats

Gluing together the treat dispensary
I FINALLY found treats for my trick-or-treaters today.  And like, cool treats.  Even the 'tricks' are pretty sweet.  So I've been trolling around the internet for some proper skull rings.  Most of what I was finding was of the pirate, skull and crossbones variety.  Which isn't terrible, but not quite what I wanted.  But today I found (on Amazon) a bunch of skull rings that were a) adjustable--very key for different age groups, b) didn't have crossbones attached and c) came in different glowing colored eyes.  They were a bit more expensive, but only by about $8 than the skull and crossbones set, so I'm happy with them.  Then I went on oriental trading to try and find the corresponding 'trick' prizes.  The original plan was to go with bugs and snakes in keeping with the Indiana Jones theme.  BUT I found these little jumping spider toys for waaaaay cheap ($5/gross)  and then the really cool one--wriggle snakes!  Not a fan of snakes myself, but if I was going to get a toy snake--these are pretty cool.  So I'm all set on prizes, which is convenient because I've been working on the trick or treat dispensary.  May need to cut it down a little bit, but the bulk of it is all glued together.  Next up is to burn/carve into it the "Choose Wisely" then lots of painting.  Also need to cut out hand sized holes and rig up some kind of cloth covering so they can't just peek down and see what's in the bowls.  We'll see how that goes.  But I'm verra excited about the treats being locked in; especially the skull rings!  Oye, now I can relax a bit.


Treats arrived!  Well, 2/3 of them.  The skull rings will take another week or so.  The spiders take a bit of a trick to get them to jump properly, but still cute.  Nice and big too.  And the snakes (though shudder inducing) seem pretty cool.  So at the very least, I'll have something to give out at Halloween, even if some of the props don't make it to all the way finished. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Mummy arms

I started to corpsify some arms for the mummy today.  The arms are actually from the dollar store from a few years ago.  They're meant to be novelty salad tongs but Mom and I grabbed up a bunch thinking they could be useful in props.  They're smaller than normal adult hands...but for a $1 they're actually really good quality.  They're originally a grayish color so I first spray painted them white just to make sure they popped under a green light.  Pretty easy first application of the latex and cotton.  Just stretching it out over the fingers very lightly.  I'm not sure at this point how much of the hands will actually be visible and not covered in gauze/wrapping, so I ended up only leaving a small patch at the bottom untouched.

Got the mummy arms painted.  May have to go over them with a bit more black....oooor I might leave them.  They'll be covered in a lot of gauze anyways, so they'll probably be fine.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Skull rock

The Goal--ish
Building up the structure
There aren't a whole lot of projects on this year.  So I've been watching the Indiana Jones movies over and over looking for little details I can make.  One of the things I had almost forgotten about is the skull rock from Temple of Doom--the Kali Ma scene.  This is the holder for the diamonds that Indy is
looking to steal back from the Thugees.  It's basically just a large skull with little ledges in the eyes and nose for the glowy diamonds.  Fairly straight forward.  The only caveat is that it needs to be pretty large.  So.  I considered several bases.  But I ended up going with a garbage can I found at Home Depot ($15).  I blocked out some basic shapes with cardboard and duct tape.  This was pretty easy, just carving up a box and bending out some shapes.  It turned out looking a bit like a monkey with a fez....

Today was when I put on a first layer of foam to make it look more rock like.  It looks...better than it did.  And I know it'll be a multiple step process.  Part of the problem is that (like hot glue and the Harry Potter wands) you have to wait to build up layers.  But whereas the wands take maybe a minute under a cool fan to solidify, the foam takes closer to an hour.  Which is a bit of a drag.  But I think it'll get there--it'll just take a while.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Lights of fire and ice

I got a new light for Halloween!  Much excitement.  This one will probably be used to simulate the lava/fire for the kali ma scene on the front lawn. It fits in a standard socket so I can use my own light stakes which was important.  Can't wait to test it out once it gets properly dark!

Corpsifying skulls

The goal
Freshly applied latex and cotton
After it's dried for a good 4 hours
So in the midst of trawling Pinterest for Indiana Jones prop ideas, I came across a really cool sarcophagus/mummy project that is basically a large box constructed of Styrofoam and with a half of a mummy inside, then a green light below lighting him up. Very cool. So I realized I needed to build up some skeleton parts.  I don't want to use my existing skeletons unless I have to, mostly because it makes note sense to permanently attach the parts to the box. And I've been wanting to try out a technique i came across to corpsify a skull with latex and cotton. 

I had my paper mache skull all dry and ready. I hinged the jaw at a slightly askew, looks-like-hes-screaming angle, then got to work with stretching cotton over the skull and applying latex over it and using it as an adhesive.  I really loved the texture results. After it dried for at least four hours i got out some paint and started to go for a slightly burned, fleshy look. I'm really pleased with this for a first attempt, and especially on a paper mache skull.  The teeth are the only thing that would have been nicer to have more definition from on a plastic or resin skull. But it works just fine for what will probably be a throw away prop. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Sketch vs. Reality

So I'm going through a lot of my old blog posts, mostly because I used to use Photobucket, and they've decided to give an ultimatum of pay us money or we ditch your photos/links.  Thus there are several older posts that have an error image from when I used to use the link from them.  Which is a little frustrating, because there's no indication which photo it is; I have to try and figure it out based just on any notes I added (which tended to be sparse back in the day) and/or timeline from my own files.  ANYways.  I ended up looking at a lot of the old files and started comparing my initial sketches with how the display eventually turned out.  Normally the sketches are just a preliminary way to vomit up any possible ideas, and lots of things change, get thrown out entirely or get modified based on available materials and/or time.  And I don't go back to them or use them as a hard guideline; they're more for my brain to just process ideas.  But occasionally they've been spot on in terms of what actually ends up on the porch/lawn.  So I grouped together a couple of the ones that kind of nailed them: