Halloween Forum banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

I have seen the various threads about water/weatherproofing props but still could use some help. Last year I made a few props that didn't last even a week in the rainy conditions of the general Seattle area. I was wondering if anyone had any tips for me or maybe pointed to what I did wrong? Details below.

The props were both humanoid-shaped so the joints in particular suffered. They started with a pvc base and then:

Prop 1 - made with celluclay.
Prop 2 - made with monster mud (typical 5-1 ratio mix).

Both were painted with exterior latex paint and acrylic for finer points. Then a few coats of spray spar urethane.

I have seen this thread: https://www.halloweenforum.com/halloween-props/76623-waterproofing-props.html where people talk about yacht varnish. Does this work well for people? If so, do you have a product you like?

I have also read people using thin-set mortar if anyone has tried that.

Overall, can anyone provide info on what they do for organic looking props?

Thanks in advance,
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,698 Posts
Ah...the eternal struggle.

If you can live with the gloss, flex seal clear can work quite well: https://www.halloweenforum.com/product-reviews/144045-flex-seal-clear.html.

But I'll be honest, I'm moving away from monster mud due to how poorly it holds up.

Dipping fabric directly into exterior latex, and using it similar to monster mud makes it much more weather resistant. You'll need a better form underneath as this method won't support it's own weight when dry like a lot of monster mud items would, but even if it's not 'waterproof', the fabric will hold it's color and shape when properly supported.

For Celluclay/mache, I'm still testing coatings, but have seen this stuff take a hell of a beating before if you just give it a bit of thickness and/or proper support underneath. So, I question more how did your props fail? Where and how did they break? Perhaps there is more than just weatherproofing at work here.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
629 Posts
If you really want water proof, dip fleece fabric into fiberglass resin then drape it, I've seen this technique used to make panels for cars, should work great as a replacement for monster mud.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Ah...the eternal struggle.

If you can live with the gloss, flex seal clear can work quite well: https://www.halloweenforum.com/product-reviews/144045-flex-seal-clear.html.

But I'll be honest, I'm moving away from monster mud due to how poorly it holds up.

Dipping fabric directly into exterior latex, and using it similar to monster mud makes it much more weather resistant. You'll need a better form underneath as this method won't support it's own weight when dry like a lot of monster mud items would, but even if it's not 'waterproof', the fabric will hold it's color and shape when properly supported.

For Celluclay/mache, I'm still testing coatings, but have seen this stuff take a hell of a beating before if you just give it a bit of thickness and/or proper support underneath. So, I question more how did your props fail? Where and how did they break? Perhaps there is more than just weatherproofing at work here.
I have seen the clear spray but haven't fully tested it. Between the cost and the gloss I was hoping for something else.

As per your question, the problem I had was that the Celluclay and monster mud basically turned to mush and easily split/tore off the props with the slightest touch. Joint areas (ankles, wrists, etc.), were the weakest spots.

What coatings are you testing? Any results yet?
 
Joined
·
1,276 Posts
I too live in the Seattle area. Spar varnish is consider to be a marine varnish.

Never tried to keep celluclay in the rain beyond a day. Like you all I have done is paint with house paint then coat in Spar. I've only done heads so no joints or such. At the end of the day they were used I dried then and stored in plastic bags till the next year. Even with all that I've had some things go misshaped and get soft.

As for MM props I have a bunch of those, keep them stored under cover outside all year. Only one is kept out during the week I set up our display. Mike gets coated every season in Spar. My oldest MM guy, Andrew, is over 10 years if he's a day. He's used outside but only for 8 or so hours at a time and brought in at night so LOTS of moving him. He's still in one piece though bottom edge of his "robe" is starting to shred and we've had to replace the chipboard under him. All my MM guys get a coat of spar every fall before being used. I've had only to redo one guy because we used joint compound past it's prime to begin with.

I did a bunch of Alien eggs, made a chicken wire form in an egg shape and just dipped fabric in outdoor house paint and draped it over the chicken wire. I don't think I ever bothered to coat them in spar they were intended for a one time use. They have lasted and lasted, been repainted to dragon eggs and then back to aliens eggs, who know what they will be next, as long as something doesn't get stacked on top of one and squashes it they keep going and going.

I've heard that some people use Drylock to waterproof. I've only used it on a cinderblock wall that is against dirt and it's been fine keeping water out.

One pro haunter in the Portland area coated his props with spray on Rhino Liner to waterproof them. I happen to have a couple of his props he sold off when he stopped haunting. They stay out all year and except for my chickens needing to attack one leg they look as good as new and I've had them for 5 or more years now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
281 Posts
Hi All,

I have seen the various threads about water/weatherproofing props but still could use some help. Last year I made a few props that didn't last even a week in the rainy conditions of the general Seattle area. I was wondering if anyone had any tips for me or maybe pointed to what I did wrong? Details below.

The props were both humanoid-shaped so the joints in particular suffered. They started with a pvc base and then:

Prop 1 - made with celluclay.
Prop 2 - made with monster mud (typical 5-1 ratio mix).

Both were painted with exterior latex paint and acrylic for finer points. Then a few coats of spray spar urethane.

I have seen this thread: https://www.halloweenforum.com/halloween-props/76623-waterproofing-props.html where people talk about yacht varnish. Does this work well for people? If so, do you have a product you like?

I have also read people using thin-set mortar if anyone has tried that.

Overall, can anyone provide info on what they do for organic looking props?

Thanks in advance,
I too experience the sorrows of bad weather during Halloween. I usually get heavy thunderstorms so it limits what I can use and how. Posting photos of the damaged props would be helpful to determine what went wrong. Both celluclay and monster mud (drywall compound + latex paint) contain materials that are not meant to be used outdoors. If you wish to continue using celluclay go to Stolloween's website (http://www.stolloween.com/) as he gives detailed instructions on how to waterproof that material. You can also call or email him and he will respond. My suggestion would be to switch to a two part epoxy clay or resin filler (bondo). Both materials are waterproof when dry, paintable and can withstand wet climates. I have only used drywall compound (monster mud) for texturing but have never used it on cloth to hold a shape. Keep in mind that drywall compound is mostly powdered gypsum; the same material that is used to make gypsum wall board. Again not meant to be used outdoors. Try switching to liquid starch, glue + water mixture (make sure its glue-all and not school glue), or liquid latex (not latex paint). You can also try a deck sealer like Thompson water seal. Soak the cloth, form and let dry. Once dry it will hold it's shape and should repel water. Last comment, your props will only be as sturdy as the framework you use. So use something durable like PVC or steel rods (rebar). Sorry for the long explanation - hope this helps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,015 Posts
I'm thinking most of the suggestions made here will work given the prop being painted is sturdy enough from the get go. The sealing of any paper mache or celluclay prop has to be coated completely to avoid water finding it's way into the prop. Even a few missed areas inside or outside of the prop will cause the prop to fail sooner than you hope. Water always finds a way inside if even a tiny door is left open.

As for the glossiness, I'm not sure how it would work on a large prop, but a number of our smaller paper mache props that go outside are first coated with a varnish to weatherproof them, and then sprayed with a clear mat finish spray that takes the gloss off the overall look of the prop. The mat coat doesn't last more than a couple of years before a touch up is required, but it's not too bad at keeping it looking dull. (Then again, as soon as it starts raining, everything looks glossy as the rain pours over it, so if you live in an area like the Northwest coastal range, it might just be easier to make peace with shiny. I think that we're beginning to. hahaha.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
I recently found a product called Mod Podge sold at Michaels craft stores which is explicitly for use outdoors and is described as "waterbase sealer, glue and finsih". There are non-water proof versions of this same product so, if you use it, make sure to get the green label that says it is for outdoor use. However, I agree with Skeleton Crew's comment that there are ways to make waterproof mache and I don't recall the name, but I saw a You Tube video where someone was making pumpkins from various mache-type materials and he showed how to make a water proof version. It seems to me that, no matter how good the protection, there will always be a way for moisture to invade your prop and making it from something that is waterproof is the only real permanent protection. I use Flex Seal and similar products to seal motors against moisture. So far it seems to work.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
I try to orient the motor so that rain does not fall directly on the moving parts for that reason, i.e., not to gum up the works with sealant. Then I spray the casing of the motor to keep as much moisture as possible from penetrating. Since the gears and moving parts are usually not electrically connected to the motor, this seems to work pretty well, so far.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top