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For my show this year I wanted to add in a light o rama singing face, but I didn't just want a giant light up face in the yard or on the house. I wanted the face to be a character in the yard haunt, not just a distraction. This was my solution.

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Here's a walk thru of how I built him:

1. Fist I had to build the light up singing face. For that I used 3/8" rope light, black coroboard, and some zipties. I wont go into detail on the construction of the lighting, there are lots of tutorials online for that.


2. After I had the face built I could start building the frame. I used 2X4s for the frame. The face was 3' X 4' so I scaled the body to be the same width but be 8' tall before adding branches.

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To make the tree stand on it's own, I built supports on the back that all connect using a 3/8" carriage bolts and nuts.

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Both of the slanted supports and the ground supports all bolt to the main body. This allowed me to set the tree up and then when it came time to store it I could make it much more manageable by removing the support structure.

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3. Now I could move onto roughing in the body. I used 2" foamboard for all of the tree appearance. First I laid down a rectangular piece with cut outs for the eyes and mouth that gave me plenty of clearance.

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*Lesson Learned* I should have made the openings slightly smaller, especially the piece between the eyes and mouth. After adding more foam later for the face and nose that piece started to fall apart.


4. Next I started adding in pieces to build up and carve for the face. I went ahead and cut out the holes I needed for the eyes and mouth and some general shapes to start.

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5. After that I drew out a basic shape of a face and some features that I wanted and began cutting away any excess foam.

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I also added in the eyebrows and nose. They are extra pieces that I glued onto the face.

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6. Then I started adding in extra pieces to carve down to give the face some dimension. I also added pupils in the eyes. All of the pieces I carved at angles to make it seems as though they are growing out and its all one structure. Continue doing this for the entire face.

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7. Now its time to start adding in the bark detail. I used a hot knife with the blade removed to score gashes in the foam to simulate the lines in tree bark.

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Afterwards I used a heat gun to add texture to the the entire face. The gashes that I added previously melt away and look much more organic.

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Here's how it looks so far. I've added in some growth on the bottom of the face to expand the trunk a little bit. I originally wanted it to be much wider, but I was already having trouble getting it in and out of the workshop, so that's as far as it got expanded. I carved down all the edges to take away the manufactured look and make it appear more natural. Also texture has been added to the entire body, except the tip of the nose which I left smooth on purpose.

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9. Next onto the branches. These I built using 3/4" PVC pipe, pool noodles from the dollar store, and zipties.

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First I would take the PVC pipe and cut it whatever length I wanted the branch to be. I would then use the heat gun to bend the pipe where I wanted it to bend. Then I could slide the pool noodles over the pipe.

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Next I would slice a pool noodle in half and then cut pieces to add onto the branch to build it up to make it the thickness that I wanted.

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The addon pieces I secured to the branch using the zipties. I also would carve down the edges at an angle to make it seem like its blending into the rest of the branch. I've also finished the top of the tree now that I know where the branches would be placed. I just continued on until I made what seemed like enough. In the beginning I just clamped the branches onto 2" X 4" on the back, thinking that I would just figure that part out on the day of set up. This was a mistake lol. But anyway here is what he looked like with all the branches clamped in.

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The branches were textured the same way the body of the tree was.

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10. Finally weatherproofing and painting. I dryloked the tree, arms, and all the branches. And then based out the entire thing in black.

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Then I started adding in brown. I tried to make streaks that followed where I had put in the score marks for the texture.

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After that I start blending the brown. The tip of the nose I made totally brown to make it look as if it hat been cut. I even scored in the rings.

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Here's a shot of the him all constructed on setup day. We made a really crude way of attaching the branches, we just screwed in the PVC to the wood frame and used some metal clamps that we had to bend to fit over it. Afterwards I designed a much easier method. I'm going to install a couple horizontal 2" X 4" on the back and just drill holes big enough for the PVC to just slide through.

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Finally add in the hanging jack o lanterns and some spanish moss we plundered from the local park.

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And here he is during the light show.

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All in all the tree took me about a month to build. He stands about 10' tall or so and is the star of my Halloween light show now. Hope you guys and gals enjoy, and I hope this helps. Love to hear what everyone thinks.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Ok guys here'a the previously promised videos:

This ones a clip of tree singing Thriller-

And here is a video of the entire set up playing This Is Halloween-
 
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