Archive for September, 2016

demon-specimenNo mad scientist’s lab is complete without a demon specimen.  This project is very similar to several faerie skeletons I’ve seen online and plan to make.  In most cases the faerie wings are made of either leaves or feathers, whereas my demon has bat-like wings and is based on the design found on the Witch Craft blog by doll artist Arley Berryhill.  You can also find a very nice large scale demon over at Davis Graveyard.

Start with the miniature skeletons found in just about every home improvement, craft or dollar store around Halloween.  They usually come in six packs, often on a piece of rope to hang as a garland. They come with various shading and in black.

The wings are made from coffee filters. Arley used tissue paper for his, but I always opt for the most durable version I can think of as they are subject to some wear and tear and possibly even being put outdoors. You can start with brown coffee filters, but they seemed a bit too dark. So, I started with large white filters.  First soak them in water with a tea bag or coffee grounds to darken them.  This also eliminates the folds and flattens them nicely.

Cut each filter in half.  Next fold the halves and cut an arc from corner to corner of the outside edge.  Or you can try a more complex cut for scalloped wings.

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Take a thin piece of wire and attach it to the skeleton.  I wrapped the wire around the spine and formed the top arc of the wings by just sliding my thumb across it pushing up.

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Place the folded edge around the wire.  Next, I watered down Elmer’s School Glue using a 1:1 ratio of water and glue.  I painted this on generously on both the inside and outside of the wings.  This fused them together; made them harden when they dried; and also resulted in a slightly translucent look.  I then hung the skeletons on a cup to dry.

demon-dry

While the wings dried I added several details to the skeletons.  Create horns by adding a small drop of hot glue on their foreheads and quickly shape them into points before it hardens.  I used a small piece of fairly stiff twine for a tail.  I chose a stiff twine so that I could shape it to curl up instead of hanging.  One end of the twine is glued to the tailbone area of the spine and the other is sandwiched between two little triangle pieces which are glued to it.  The triangles were cut from a coffee filter and treated with the same process used on the wings.

Once the wings dried I watered down some acrylic paint and did a quick wash over them with green and brown.  Be sure to do this over newspaper or plastic as they drip considerably.

I placed one inside a cloche which I found at Goodwill and removed the clock.  I found an example of an old specimen label online and customized it with the Frau Mason brand.  As I like to incorporate my love of horror films into all my displays, this specimen was captured in Amityville New York on November 13, 1974, the day that Ronald DeFeo murdered his family.  My laboratory is located in Smiths Grove Sanitarium, where Michael Meyers was held.  Smiths Grove happens to be in the county I live in as this is where John Carpenter grew up.  So, not surprisingly references to his work appear often in my displays.

I also created several more mini demons and hung them from microfilament.  They may be trying to free the specimen.

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DIY: Moss for tombstones & props

Posted: September 9, 2016 in DIY
Tags: , , ,

img_2417I plan on updating my cemetery this year with some nicer tombstones than  I created in my first project. I saw a haunter on Pinterest who made their own moss and thought this would be a perfect detail for them.  But, when I checked out his recipe it was made from grits.  This would not work for me as I store my props in an attic where mice have access, necessitating the avoidance of any food particles.  So, I thought I’d experiment with some other options.

The photo below shows the materials I tried.  From the top, left to right, they include: dryer lint, store bought grass powder for model train displays, foam board shavings, paper insulation, real moss from the hobby store and sawdust.

The foam board shavings were not fine enough for moss, but it was clear they would be perfect if I wanted to add crumbled stone to a broken tombstone.  The model train grass powder was too fine so it was too flat.  The lint, insulation and real moss all seemed too bulky and overpowered the prop.

 

My preference was undoubtedly the sawdust for moss.

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Next I divided my sawdust into several cups.  To each I added a bit of water and some acrylic paint.  I used various greens, yellows and browns to create several different colors.  I found that a very small amount in a cup would color all the sawdust.  I simply stirred it until it was coated in the color.  I was also able to add quitet a bit more sawdust and it would continue to absorb the color from what was already colored in the cup.

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Next, I took a bit of each color and mixed them together.  Unfortunately, they absorbed color from each other and after being handled became a large pile of the same color.  To avoid this, I let them dry overnight.  Also, instead of mixing the colored sawdust first, I applied it in layers.  I started with the main color.  I generously spread Elmer’s wood glue on the prop where I wanted the moss. In this case, I applied it to a cheap Dollar General skull cut in half and painted gray and glued to a foam board tombstone.  I sprinkled the colored sawdust onto the glue and pressed it in.  Then I sprinkled bits of other colors on top and pressed them in.

A bit more perusing of real tombstone’s covered with moss I’m sure will help with the placement of the sawdust to achieve a more realistic look.

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