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Discussion Starter #1
For this year, my wife asked what I wanted on my birthday (October 24th). I told her that all I wanted was to enjoy, celebrate, and decorate for Halloween. You see, my wife dislikes Halloween. She just doesn't get this holiday, so she had to cave in this year when it became my birthday wish to go all out this Halloween.

So, I decided to share my prop and decoration projects this year with everyone here on the forums. I just recently joined the forums, so this is my first project thread. I hope you enjoy, and if so inclined, I'm open to suggestions as well. I'm going off of my own talents (which is limited), and what I've learned from my research online. Feel free to comment, but please don't laugh at my attempts to roll my own DIY props and decorations. This is the first time I'm trying something like this instead of just buying decorations. Thanks for understanding!

I'm decorating mostly my porch area, but I will also do windows, my front door, etc. I promised not to put up anything "spooky" inside our apartment, but I'd love to get as spooky as possible on the outside. That's where I'm given free reign by the wife, lol.
;)

The central theme I'm going with is simple: skeleton as the focus, feet on the edge of my deck, body leaning forward, chained to the railing by its hands, with plastic chains. Mouth open in a scream, and lit-up eyes. Behind him, several ghosts.

Skeleton: paper mache (joint compound, wood glue, and water mix), newspaper and foam core, then painted to protect it against the elements.

Ghosts: chicken wire cut and shaped into humanoid figures, wrapped in cheesecloth, and gently lit from inside.


The supplies...




Rolling newspaper for the bones...




Fake chains...




Leg Bones...





Spine...


 

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Discussion Starter #4
Man, Im just to lazy.... Ill spend the $40 on a pose-able skelly! Nice work so far.. look forward to the finished product
Yeah, I saw a really nice 60" tall pose-able one for $60 online. But the DIY in me cried in pain, so I just had to make one myself. Then when family stops by, I can proudly say, "yup, I made that myself".

:)
 

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I don't know why you'd think you'd get laughed at, you're doing an amazing job! Looking forward to seeing it all finished.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I don't know why you'd think you'd get laughed at, you're doing an amazing job! Looking forward to seeing it all finished.
Thanks! It's my first time with this, so who knows what first-timer mistakes I'll make, lol. I'll post more photos as I complete more. The in-laws are visiting in the first week of October (picking them up on the 3rd or 4th), so I'll be working to ensure it's mostly, if not completely done by then.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I think I'm getting the proportions right, using a 3-position drawing where inch on it equals 10 inches on the model. I keep double-checking, and things are looking good! My biggest challenge is making it structurally sound, but much of that structure will come after I add the paper mache. Right now I've added two thin, long bolts for the torso to help it keep its shape. I'll probably do the same for the shoulder and hip joints soon.

I still have to make the following.
  • Hands
  • Pelvic bones
  • Fibula bones
  • Feet
I also have to space out the rib cage with wires to position them, then remove the wires after the paper mache has cured.

I'm only using the skull for a template. When I'm ready to do the paper mache, I'll wrap it tinfoil, then coat it with the paper mache strips, cut it open, remove the foam skull, tape it back, and fill it with expanding foam. At the end I'll add some gruesome looking, DIY eye balls.


Rolling the newspaper with a long, thin aluminum rod...




Roll in background and flattened roll for rib cage in foreground...




Starting the rib cage...




Scapula bones in place with completed rib cage...




Checking proportions...




Overall size so far without pelvic bones, hands, and feet...

 

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I think your skelly is tired. Actually, after a long day at the office, he/she is contemplating if it's all worth it.................................."been there, done that."

Nice job by the way. I'm envious of your pragmatic approach. Normally, forum members (myself included) bypass the sketches and just spray great stuff on whatever is near by.

Lovely Day...
 

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Ambitious approach! Must be a little Frankenstein in you - build your own human from scratch! LOL
HM
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Nice job by the way. I'm envious of your pragmatic approach. Normally, forum members (myself included) bypass the sketches and just spray great stuff on whatever is near by.
I used to do my skeletons this way before there were decent looking affordable ones. Even made an instructable on it once. Glad someone's still doing it the old fashioned way!
Thanks! I'm a programmer and IT guy during the day, so I often over build and over think things. It's always a struggle to let go and allow my creative juices to flow. And for this project I wanted to be able to say "yes, I made that by hand, all of it". Feels good!

Ambitious approach! Must be a little Frankenstein in you - build your own human from scratch!
And of course it's fun too, specifically at the beginning and the end of the project. It's the in-between that can be time consuming and frustrating at certain steps. I have enough materials to make several of these skeletons, but after tackling the first one I think I'm going to say to myself one is enough. It's tedious at times, but rewarding to see it come to life throughout the process.
 
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