Friday, September 4, 2015


So this year's (severely cut back) Halloween decorations are going to feature some Gargoyles, and kind of gothic themed elements.  But mostly with the idea of getting back to basic Halloween features, hedging away from a theme really.  That way I can use some of the old Halloween decorations that have had to take a backseat the last couple years.

First up was to make some sketches to try and figure out what kind of look I wanted.  Here were some of the earlier ideas.  (which kind of suck a bit cause I can't really draw, but mostly it was an attempt to figure out what I liked)

Day 1: 
I built up a base of cardboard, horns, etc.

Next up: Paper mache.  Lots and lots of paper mache. 

Day 2
Today, Mom and I put on the last 4 more needed layers.  Oye.  But he looks awesome!

Day 3
After building up the teeth, jaw, tongue.

Day 4:

Much planning today.  Many discussions about the structure and pose of the the whole thing.  We ended up going with an easier prop to take down--a head on a stick, a ribcage, and arms, but having most of his 'body' covered with creepy cloth, or some other cloak-like material.

The ribcage came first.  The head turned out gigantic, so the ribcage had to be somewhat proportional, which meant (again)--gigantic.

The arm was the next thing to do, and the idea is to have one hand curling around a gravestone, and the other pointing to the trick or treaters.  So we assembled one hand using rolled up newspapers and ping pong balls for knuckles (I knew those 500+ ping pong balls would come in handy somewhere!)

So now "all" that's left is to put the paper mache mud on his ribcage and arm.  Also need to build up the other arm (the one pointing), mud him up...
After that, it's onto making the head mountable onto a post in the ground, and trial and error balancing.

Day 5
The hand had a couple of minor issues--2 fingers fell down and had to be repaired.  But today was building the other hand, this one pointing.  And gee, MUCH harder without an extra 2 people!  So it took longer than the last one (obviously), but it turned out pretty well.  Tomorrow will be the mudding of the hands and the ribcage!!

Day 6
Mudding of the rib cage and hands commenced today.  Had to stand up the hands on some styrofoam coolers so we could get the right angle on them.  Also draft...uh...recruited...Mom for help, which made the whole thing go much quicker.  But for the most part, all went well.:)

Day 7

Lots of figuring out measurements and heights of the final product today.  And cutting of boards.  We made the "body" by cutting out shoulders, and getting posts ready for the head, ribcage, and hands to attach to.  Also mudded up the rest of the hands (the palms mostly), and the other side of the rib cage.

Day 8
Today was all about adding a neck hole so that he could sit on top of the post.  Glued down a cardboard tube on the back, then fleshed out the back of the head a bit just to finish him and so that the back wouldn't be absolutely flat.  Slight problems with the weather though--very rainy/humid, so the time between doing layers is closer to 2 hours rather than 30 minutes when it's hot.

Day 9
Got the back of the head all mudded up.

Day 10
The painting day, in that we painted ALL the things...several times. First up was the drylock, which made everything water resistant. It also turned everything a bright gray. 

Next up was to drybrush white just enough over all the contours to make them pop out. The last step of the painting was a black "tea bath" which was basically giving each piece a bath of watered down black paint.  This bath had the effect of taking down the shade of the pieces a couple notches.  

Finally we sprayed it with a clear polyurethane finish to seal it and finish it off. 

The other thing we accomplished  (earlier on) was to put up the body stick in the backyard and test him out. We also got the body painted black so it would disappear into the background.  And for the first time we were able to see the whole thing put together  (albeit with an ill fitting hideous green tarp)

There were also some cracks on the fingers we had to repair and still have to be gone back over with drylock and paint before they can be sprayed with the polyurethane. 
So Abby is aaaalmost done.  And just in time too! Halloween season is nearly upon us! 

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