Pumpkinrot tutorial - Soulcatcher
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  1. #1
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    Default Pumpkinrot tutorial - Soulcatcher

    Pumpkinrot tutorial - Soulcatcher
    I would like to send a special thanks to the pumpkinrot (of course!), spookyblue and stolloween sites for their awesome creations and information on the beloved pumpkinrot scarecrows and paper mache creations. Keep giving us inspiration guys! Hopefully the table of contents will help sort through the mass of info here and if there are areas you think have too much or needs more information I'll make some changes. There are a few great pumpkinrot tutorials out there already but I hope this one brings a couple of new ideas to the pumpkinrot style. Enjoy and have fun building!

    1. Frame and ribs
    2. Head, hands and skulls
    3. Paper towel mache layer
    4. Torso build
    5. Face and veins
    6. Paper mache
    7. Painting and sealing

    Total cost of about $25 and 15-20 hours of time and many of the items can already be found around the typical home haunters workshop. The biggest costs were the skulls and pvc, almost everything else I had laying around the garage from past projects. No special tools were needed, just the basics like paint brushes, wire cutters and a high quality spray bottle.


    1. Frame and ribs (about 1 hour)

    Here I started with 1-1/2" pvc pipe and fittings to create the backbone of the pumpkinrot. The only part that is glued right now is the 4-way fitting at the neck. The arms and neck will go through some adjusting to get the sizing right, especially the neck pipe as it will have an eye bolt to hang it for storage and also become a strong point for supporting the head itself. Drilling large holes in the neck pipe now will allow for a smoke machine hookup later that will send smoke out through the eyes and mouth. I also have the back pvc pipe in two pieces connected by a pvc coupler that will never be glued which can be seen in later pictures. This is for easy storage, ability to swivel the pumpkinrot, quick removal from outside if it starts raining, etc.

    The ribs are made out of garden hose, the cheaper the better as the cheap ones are nice and stiff. Size out a piece of hose and after making a pilot hole use a screw and washer to secure the ends to the pvc. Repeat for the rest of the ribs. I used green wire to secure the ribs going up and down with some hot glue to hold it in place. Silver wire was used to adjust the depth of the ribs. Duct tape will give the first layer of mache a place to hold onto and keep in mind that the ribs will need to be pronounced so wrap the tape around the contours of the front of the hose to keep the form of the rib.





    2. Head, hands and skulls (about 2 hours)


    Head - The head armature is made from chicken wire that's about 4 feet long and 3 feet wide. The tape on the chicken wire in the pic is how I cut out the shape for the head. The triangle cutouts on the top and bottom will help when forming the sphere for the head with each triangle connecting at one point to form the top and bottom of the sphere. Cutting along the middle of each wire turns them into their own little connected twist ties that can be used when closing the sphere. Once it's cut out roll it into a tube shape with the triangles at the top and bottom then use the bits of wire sticking out to connect them all together. Do the same with the top and bottom connecting the triangles and cutting off the overlapped wire. Don't forget to wear thick gloves as the metal ends are sharp.

    Now this will look nothing like a sphere unless your very lucky. Mine always look more like an amoeba with attitude at the beginning so don't despair. Slowly shape the sphere with your hands by squeezing the wire together to shrink bulges and loosening or pulling the wire to remove divots. This is one of the harder parts of the build so take a break if it gets frustrating.

    It's important to secure the head from movement and once you have the sphere to your liking, place it on the frame and adjust the length of the neck pipe so that when you place a pvc cap (with an eye hook bolted through it) the eye hook will just peek out of the head and the head is resting on the cap itself. Now that the neck assembly is to the right length, glue the pvc parts and use wire to attach the top of the head to the eye hook tightly and use a generous amount of hot glue good measure. I also braced the bottom of the head to the shoulders using black ridged tubing. Keeping the head secure from movement is important.

    Hands - Fairly straight forward. Pvc forearms with a slot sawed out by hand to insert a board in the general shape of a palm. The fingers are semi ridged tubing used for ice making machines for refrigerators and I ran some wire through the middle to help hold it's shape. Lots of hot glue and ties hold the fingers in place. Shape out the palms and fingers with great stuff and after it dries trim off the excess with some scissors. I Used some construction adhesive to coat the hands and give it a spiky texture. What I did was wear some disposable gloves and pump a bunch of adhesive into my hands then rub the adhesive on the hands and pull my hands away sharply to create the small spikes. Go easy on the adhesive as it heavy stuff.

    The skulls have a hole drilled in the back of the head to allow a pvc pipe to fit inside. I applied lots of hot glue inside the skull and glued the pipe then secured it again with more hot glue around the hole. I then used some extra pvc fittings and pipe to help get the shape for the skull assembly to be able to attach it to the torso and used screws to hold it all in place. Use whatever is handy to bulk up the pipe. Paper mache will have a hard time sticking to the skull plastic so I rubbed a thin layer of liquid nails around the area I wanted the paper mache to go.




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  3. #2
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    Pumpkinrot tutorial - Soulcatcher
    3. Paper towel mache layer (about 1 hour)

    A very fast step. I used this to get two quick layers on that will give the paper mache something solid to grab onto. Use whole sheets of paper towels at a time and make sure to get good depth, especially around the ribs and neck area. I use a high quality plastic bottle sprayer for my paper mache glue instead of using a bucket. I find it much easier to control the amount of glue that goes on and not nearly as messy compared to when I used a bucket. I just fill up the bottle and give the paper a quick spray and I'm ready to go. After drying apply a generous coat of latex paint for a moisture barrier.





    4. Torso build (about 2 hours)

    The stem on the head is made up of 3 different sized foam pipe insulation tubes cut about 2 feet each. The smaller foam is pushed into the next larger one and taped together. Use some wire pushed through the middle to help form it into shape. Attach it to the head by first hot gluing a piece of pvc to the top of the head then wedging the foam into it and securing it with tape. Depending on the length you may need to secure it somehow from bending or breaking. I used a small wooden hobby stirrer and used that to secure it to the torso. Tape is used at the top to make chords going from the top of the head into the stem. Wraping paper mache around the tape and forming deep depressions toward the stem much like forming the paper mache around the garden hose to keep the contours will fill out the base of the stem. This process is used again for making chords around the neck. You can see the difference as the blue paper towel step above does not have the neck chords formed out yet while the brown paper mache below has them formed up and paper mached.

    Face - Draw a line from top to bottom dead center on the head then a cross at where a nose would normally go. Use this to keep the eyes and mouth symmetrical. This is another hard part for me so it took me a while to get a face I liked. Once you have it the way you want cut it out with a utility knife and remove the wire mesh behind it. Push back the wire about an inch or two to allow the paper mache a place to grab onto. Once you have it the way you like, use painters latex caulk to seal all the new edges. With latex caulk you can use your fingers to smear it all over the place, just keep your fingers wet and the caulk won't turn sticky on your fingers. Use a liberal amount of spray paint through the mouth and eyes to paint the inside of the head. Now is a good time to size the arms to the length you want and glue them into position. The hands will heavy but should be no problem after gluing.

    Veins - Hot glue and nylon ropes of three different sizes with the biggest size the standard climbing rope found just about everywhere. I also used scraps of foam here and there to make bumps and such on the arms.




  4. #3
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    Pumpkinrot tutorial - Soulcatcher
    6. Paper mache (about 9 hours)

    The bulk of the time will be on the paper mache layers. I used about 7 layers of mache, 2 of the paper towel and 5 of paper. I like the painters paper myself as it's a nice solid color and you can get a good feel of how the pumpkin rot is turning out as you go. It seems a bit stronger than newspaper but still goes around curves nicely. I went through 1 roll of the paper at a costs of about $2 per roll and it comes in two colors which I alternate (brown and green). Use as many layers as you think is good. There really is no right number of layers, I like this part so I tend to put on a couple extra layers. It can be found at HD, Menards, paint stores and even though they may have different labels on them all the one's I've seen are made by the same factory.





    7. Painting, sealing and standing up (about 2 hours)

    Pretty straight forward but very important to do a quality job. All paints were exterior flat latex paints with two layers painted on. Get the paint brushed into every nook and cranny. Leave no area untouched as this will be the main barrier between your pumpkinrot and the elements. The two layers of latex paint do a good job of weather sealing it but a layer of spar urethane from a spray can (or something similar to help protect it) is necessary to prevent damage from extended periods of time in the rain and sun.

    I get 'mistint' paint from the local paint store for $2 a gallon and make my own colors with universal tints. The tints are a bit expensive but they last a looong time and it pays for itself in a couple of projects. The arms and stem were blended into the orange body and a dry brush coat of lighter green over the stem and arms but is very hard to see in the pic. The skulls are coated with liquid nails and stained to look nice and old. Decorate with creepy cloth and vines and.....done!

    To keep it upright in my yard I attach a bottom pvc pipe to the coupler right below the paper mache then slide the whole thing over a green metal stake. I also screw 3 eye bolts in the pvc just below the coupler and use string to tie the pumpkinrot to stakes in the ground like guy wires on cell tower.

    A pvc 'wye' or 'tee' can be installed near the bottom of the pvc backbone so a hose can be attached. A fog machine can send the fog through the hose, up the backbone and out the holes that were drilled in the neck pipe in part 2.




    day and night time pictures of him setup in our yard are up on page 3!

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  6. #4
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    well, that was it. We'll be setting it up in the backyard this weekend and hope to get some nighttime pics up soon.

  7. #5
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    That's got some pretty cool building ideas. As far as the prop it's slelf goes, it looks great, I especialy like the color and texture of the skulls.

  8. #6
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    Wow, easy to follow tut and it looks super scary!

  9. #7
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    Very, Very Nice!!!! Thanks for the great tut!!!

  10. #8
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  11. #9
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    Very great tut!
    We are doing a pumpkin room this year.... Full of pumkinrot style pumpkins.. I'll put this tut to good use ! Thanks
    Lynn

    If I build it, will they come ?
    http://s146.photobucket.com/albums/r247/p0032/

  12. #10
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    Looks great already, can't wait to see part 2!
    Get the Bloody Salt Yourself!

    Beware the Pom of Purgatory

 

 
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