Saturday, September 29, 2012

Audrey II (large) Part II

Today was the big push to get the large Audrey II to completion. I'm going to call it a win for today, as we got much closer to done than I anticipated. Part of this was due to the fact that there was no wrestling of chickenwire this time, and much less reinventing of the wheel (or in our case, inventingthe wheel). It was pretty much a straight up paper mache extravaganza, broken up by rest breaks and waiting for things to dry.

One of the important things we figured out was to always keep in mind perspective and which section of the jaw/mouth/piece was facing us. To that end, there were several times where we propped up the upper jaw (U) on top of the lower (L) so we could have a general idea of the final picture.

To the left is (U) before we started paper mache of the underside, but with the teeth stuck in--we stuck them through the chickenwire, then duct taped them in place, trying to make sure they were semi-snaggle toothed.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Expanding Tongue

Finished one of the pieces connected to the Audrey II. I had been trying to figure out the best way to simulate the large tongue in the plant without resorting to art skills (that I don't have) or to fabric (that might have gotten wet and moldy). Then I had a brief flash of potential genius--expandable foam! Had noooo idea if it would work, but I'd seen enough Halloween sites extoling the virtues of expandable foam in their props, so I figured it was at least worth an attempt.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Creepsy Hands

This was a project I came across awhile back, but didn't get a chance to try until now. Basically making a bunch of creepy skeleton hands out of hot glue sticks. The next step is to cover them with a dryer lint clay recipe. But it was a relatively easy project--pretty much just melting pieces of hot glue with a candle. So this is what it's supposed to look like eventually:

Sunday, September 23, 2012

What pointy teeth you have...

Just as I was relaxing and recovering from the Audrey II part 1, I realized that I had forgotten about the teeth that make Audrey II all scary. So I pulled out some newspaper and duct tape and started playing with it to try and make some teeth. Developed a bit of a method that made pointy teeth that are about 6 inches long. Made about 20, which will hopefully be enough--can always make more relatively easy. Right now, my only indecision is whether or not to paper mache them onto the mouth, then paint them, or paint them first, then paper mache them afterwards. Will have to think on it....

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Audrey II (large) Part I

Oye. That was a bit of a long day today Definitely going to feel a bit sore tomorrow. With the help of the wonderful Sarah coming at a ridiculously early hour, we got started on the basic outline of the frame. We first did measuring of the front porch where the Audrey II was going to be. 45 by 45 inches is the basic area that will allow for trick or treaters to still get to the door, and give the door clearance.

We made a basic plan of two large pieces, basically two half ovals, one for the upper jaw and one of the lower. I'm planning on having the mouth be wide open, ready to eat little trick or treaters (insert evil laughter here:)) On the left are the scribblings of our plan, the orange, or flat side that will serve as the mouth we measured off at 4 feet. The blue, or dome side, we cut off at just under six feet at 67 inches.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Constructing Audrey IIs (small)

So the Audrey II construction went fairly easy. Pulled out the fangs and bent them. Fired up the glue gun, and first spread it over the edges of the bottom teeth, then pressed it into one of the halves of the painted Styrofoam ball, making sure that the teeth were lined up with the 'lip' of red painted on the ball.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Audrey II (small)

Feeeeed meeee....

Couldn't help it.:) So the mini Audrey II s to put up around the porch (or maybe near the large one--not sure yet) was the project for today. Got some Styrofoam medium sized balls (2 1/2 inch diameter), some acrylic paint (2 greens, and a blood red), and some stiff 'stems' at Joann's.
First step was to cut them in half and clear off any bits of Styrofoam. Next I did a base coat of the darker green. I put on some spots of lighter green, and then took a sponge brush and mottled them together a bit so that I got a two-toned color.  Waited for those to dry, and then turned them over and painted the flat side red. Also painted a 'lip' around half the edge of the dome side.

Next step (after much drying) is to put them together. Though, I might add a tongue with a bit of black paint before that.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Potion Book Project--curing the pages

This is what happens when you don't follow directions...

Okay. I'll admit it. I was hasty. And did not follow directions. And so I was appropriately punished for my impatience. It's been ~24-48 hours since the skulls started. The how to insists that 3-7 days is more appropriate to check on them. And by check, read open. Because 'checking' on them is really an all or nothing proposition. Once they're open, if they're not done, there's no real going back. So I opened one skull, partly so I could understand how essential it is to wait. This is what greeted me:

The face had a pooled congealed amber looking ooze that was still sticky. I immediately flipped over the other two skulls so that they could dry face up. One note--the skull came out of the mold relatively easy--I think much due to the petroleum jelly smeared into it before the foam. Definitely a must. Not sure if I'll be able to use this skull if/when it dries--the nose and mouth came apart as I was pulling it out, but the eyes are mostly intact. So if I painted it, it might just be a super creepy freshly corpsified skull...which could work. In the meantime, I'm going to sit back and wait the full several days before attempting to open the other two. Although, with this amount of work, I'm questioning the feasibility of using these molds to make a lof of them. I'll see what they look like when they're painted up. Frankly, I'd rather spend the time making more gouged out crochet eyeballs

I was also going to head to Michaels soon (they were closed the last time I tried to go) and get some frame backs for the headless pictures, and some supplies to make the small Audrey IIs. Sarah was going to come down next week and help with the large Audrey II--at least I can be working on making the 'babies'.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Expandable foam learning curve

Ooookay...bit too much foam used in the first and last skulls. Foam expanded and bubbled over within about thirty minutes of setting them up. Glad I hadn't waited until after work and took a quick peek. The second skull--the one with the experimentally less foam--appears to not be bubbling over at least. I'll see if that translates to having an incomplete skull.

The foam appears to be setting up rather firmly. I'm wondering a bit about the whole 'wait 3-7 days' thing on the how-to. At this rate, the skulls will be fairly solid in 24 hours. But maybe you have to wait the extra time in order for them to super harden...? I'm new to the expandable foam medium, so some trial and error is in order. In the meantime, I'm eager to see how the first batch of skulls turn out. Also in the interim, I'm doing more of the crochet eyeballs...cause they're kinda awesome, and suddenly wanting a whole rainbow of different eye colors.

Monday, September 10, 2012

DIY Foam Skulls--expandable foam

Decided to take the plunge and try out the first step in the foam skulls. Layered up with gloves and protective eye gear (though it was a relatively tidy process). Shook the can like a crazy person, and dove in.

The foam came out relatively easy. The main guesswork right now is how much foam is best to add to successfully fill out all the little cracks in the skull mold. The first one I just filled up/played with to get a feel for how quickly it came out, etc. The texture is very light and airy--almost like divinity. I now totally get the tip on the how to of the tapping like crazy once they're full. I guess I'll have to see how easily it fills in the details of the mold.

And finished all three skulls--the second one I experimented with not putting in quite as much--just to try and gauge what's the best amount of foam to fill the mold without wasting too much. Will check on them after work to see if there's any change, and potentially to wipe away any excess from the ventilation hole in the back of the skull.

DIY Foam Skulls Prep

Found this last year, but was mildly intimidated by the foam. This year, I decided to at least try it. So I grabbed a couple of plastic skulls at the dollar store. Cut them in half and coated both halves with petroleum jelly so that the foam will come out.

Cut a hole to leave room for the foam to expand and spill out, then lined up the halves and taped them back up.

I ended up with three of these, partly because this is my first attempt, and partly due to the fact that it apparently takes anywhere from 3-7 days for the foam to entirely dry. And there are only 50 days left til Halloween. Thus...3 skulls should yield a relatively good number of skulls if I keep on top of finishing them. Will have to see how this goes. Bit late to spray them tonight--will attempt tomorrow morning.

I've got my eye on you...

Found the pattern for this a few days ago and decided to attempt it. Pattern here--thanks to crochetninja! Once I realized from reading the comments that 'dc' actually meant 'sc' when translated to American crochet--thank you kuhlmom48! (and ripped out several rounds) it was relatively easy. I'm now on my second one after realizing that I can think of several uses for having many many more of these. Plus...they're relatively quick once you get a feel for the pattern.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Spell book Project

Now that the headless photography project is done except for the installation, I can move onto finishing the next project. I found this idea a couple weeks ago, and have been adding to it bit by bit. Creating a spell book is an old idea, and it's something I've always wanted to do, but this one was cool enough that I wanted to try it this year.

I recreated the poison apple page, but then got a little...enthusiastic. I had never really explored (where the original crafter got their graphics) and there are so many cool drawings graphics that are perfect for a Halloween spell book. So as it stands, I now have...ahem...21 pages for the spell book. Yeah...

So the plan for this project has been updated to become a more functional book. I managed to grab one book at the library sale of a kids book that is a hard cover. Size wise it's large enough to accommodate the 8x11 papers, but I'm a little stumped on the best way to construct it.

One possibility is to glue the pages onto the existing pages. This has the benefit of using the preexisting book construction. The downside is possibly having the previous pages show through, and potentially ruining the overall effect. The book was also not built to hold that many pages and might warp in this respect.
Another possibility is to strip the book of its original pages, leaving only the basic spine intact. I could sew my pages together (I've done this before on a previous project, so I know it's a possibility), then glue the outside pages down onto the spine, and perhaps glueing down the spine of the pages as well. The downside to this method is that the spine could potentially warp. Though I could fold the pages down fairly severely...and as a Halloween prop, it's not necessarily a bad thing that the pages puff up a bit.

I could also keep searching for another book. The original project took a much larger book so that they could warp and decorate the edges of the book with water/paint. I do like the look of this quite a bit. Maybe the thing I need to consider is how I really want this displayed. If it's just propped up to show one page, that might be one thing, but if I want it just laying about ready to be opened, that's another.
Oye. Now I'm torn. I did the witch's kitchen last year, but it was quite a lot of work. I do still have all the things I used last year. I could recreate it but with the spellbook. I suppose I just have a mild aversion to doing the same thing over and over. Well, but there are several things I would do differently. So I guess I could see it as improving on a first draft. Hmmm...more updates on this later...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Johnny came home headless...

Yay! One project can be (well, mostly) ticked off the list. Finally sat down and abused my printer and forced it to print out several pages of the headless photographs. Because I didn't want to spend toooo much time/effort/money on this project, I opted to not attempt to find glass, or laminate the photographs--though that would have looked cooler--I suppose if I end up liking them, I'll laminate the photographs so that they'll keep. Rather, I just fit them into the frame, and taped them taut to the backs of them. A couple of them are lacking a hook to hang them up with, but I have much supplies of picture frame hanging in my tool box--and barring that, lots of the sticky tape that can go up on the wall. The actual installation of them has to wait a bit, but for the most part--all done and ready! Huzzah!

I loooove the decal/wall sticker I found at the dollar store. What was once a fairly sappy sentiment is now much more appropriate and I feel confident in placing it on my wall. Family: A Gift That Lasts Forever

Saturday, September 1, 2012

First Halloween Shopping of the season

Sing it with me now: "It's the mooooost...WONDERFUL time....of the year!!" Ah, and gloriously, the dollar store has their Halloween stuff out. Went out and got some goodies. Nothing terribly new this year, at least not yet. My best finds ended up being at the thrift store.