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Discussion Starter #1
Hello All!

I am starting a new project for NEXT Halloween and was hoping to get some advice from fellow prop builders. I want to make a giant skull, somewhere around 4 foot wide by 8 feet high to hang on my house. Early thoughts on construction have been to use pvc for the frame and a combination of chickenwire, cheese cloth and spray foam. What I am looking to make it something similar to what Haunted Overload has done, see the link below for a picture. Does anyone have any suggestions other than pvc for the framework? I am not really sure what the best way to frame this prop out would be before covering it with spray foam (spray foam may not even be the best option, still thinking about that to). I want it to be light and hold up in rainy conditions. How would you go about consturcting one of these? Any thoughts or advice would be great! Thanks!

http://hauntedoverload.com/Photo/2005/HPIM1869.htm
 

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That's been on my list for a while as well. I know he uses electrical conduit as a frame for his big props like this but I also thought about using PVC. I've since bought some heavy wire instead because I think it will hold its shape better without being any heavier. It will also be easier to bend into shape.

Two or three years ago there was a thread on some forum where Eric posted some photos of a prop he was working on, and this head was in the background of one of the photos. Someone asked him about it and he added some details of how he made it. Unfortunately I've never been able to find that thread again. I do remember that he used chicken wire and burlap, which seems like the obvious base for the spray foam. I also remember him saying that it ended up being really heavy.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the response, maybe someone will chime in with a link to that thread you described. I just returned home from a trip to Home Depot to look at building materials and try to brainstorm. I think I may have come up with what seems like a good option for the framework, what do you think about this.

1/2 PVC is somewhat flexible but not as much as I would like. I want to be able to make the frame as close as possible to the shape of the end result. I came across some 10' sticks of 1/2" CPVC. The CPVC is super flexible, you could actually make the entire bend of the top of the skull rather easily with the CVPC. Although the CPVC is double the cost per 10' stick as PVC, the fitting are about half the cost. I am thinking of constructing the entire frame out of 1/2" CVPC, covering the CPVC in chicken wire then putting either cheese cloth or burlap over the chicken wire before spray foaming. I don't see why cheese cloth would not work just as well as burlap, its main purpose is to keep the spray foam from going through the chicken wire. A combination of CPVC, chicken wire and cheese cloth should keep the weight of this prop down. I think one good coat of spray foam over the entire frame should be sufficient as well. Thoughts on this would be appreciated!

I was looking at my house after my original post and am starting to think I am not going to be happy with the prop at 4' wide, 6' may be a better option as the area I am going to be hanging this in is large. Do you recall what size Erics prop is? It looks huge in one of the photos on the website, see the link below.

http://www.hauntedoverload.com/Photo/2004/2004wide.htm
 

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I don't know that it is exactly what you are seeking to build, but maybe it will help get the conversation started.

Below is an image of the 'Skull Rock' we did for 2012, and it is a similar size to the desired dimensions.


IMG_1665.jpg

Click here for a quasi-tutorial for our approach.

However, ours was just one way of pulling it off; I think it could be done using a PVC infrastructure, or EMT if desired, or maybe using cheesecloth and 'monster mud' vs. paper mache.

If nothing else, I hope it helps get the wheels turning.....
:)
 

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Thanks for the response, maybe someone will chime in with a link to that thread you described. I just returned home from a trip to Home Depot to look at building materials and try to brainstorm. I think I may have come up with what seems like a good option for the framework, what do you think about this.

1/2 PVC is somewhat flexible but not as much as I would like. I want to be able to make the frame as close as possible to the shape of the end result. I came across some 10' sticks of 1/2" CPVC. The CPVC is super flexible, you could actually make the entire bend of the top of the skull rather easily with the CVPC. Although the CPVC is double the cost per 10' stick as PVC, the fitting are about half the cost. I am thinking of constructing the entire frame out of 1/2" CVPC, covering the CPVC in chicken wire then putting either cheese cloth or burlap over the chicken wire before spray foaming. I don't see why cheese cloth would not work just as well as burlap, its main purpose is to keep the spray foam from going through the chicken wire. A combination of CPVC, chicken wire and cheese cloth should keep the weight of this prop down. I think one good coat of spray foam over the entire frame should be sufficient as well. Thoughts on this would be appreciated!

I was looking at my house after my original post and am starting to think I am not going to be happy with the prop at 4' wide, 6' may be a better option as the area I am going to be hanging this in is large. Do you recall what size Erics prop is? It looks huge in one of the photos on the website, see the link below.

http://www.hauntedoverload.com/Photo/2004/2004wide.htm
In the photo I remember it being a little taller than him, so about six feet. In some of the gallery photos from his home haunt, it looks like about six feet when compared to the people standing nearby when at ground level or next to a life-sized prop when mounted on front of the garage. To make it fill in your space better, you could drape some cloth around it for a hood.

I was just looking at the photos of the back of his giant pumpkin build. Remember to add in some sort of mounting brackets early in the process.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
In the photo I remember it being a little taller than him, so about six feet. In some of the gallery photos from his home haunt, it looks like about six feet when compared to the people standing nearby when at ground level or next to a life-sized prop when mounted on front of the garage. To make it fill in your space better, you could drape some cloth around it for a hood.

I was just looking at the photos of the back of his giant pumpkin build. Remember to add in some sort of mounting brackets early in the process.
Is this the photo you remember seeing, post #12? I don't see any mention in this thread about the build, awesome thread though with TONS of information.

http://forum.hauntworld.com/showthread.php?13940-2011-Haunted-Overload-progress/page2

In regards to adding in some sort of mounting brackets, I am planning on installing 5 closed eyelets for hanging the prop. Depending on final weight, I will have the option of using all 5 or only 3.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I don't know that it is exactly what you are seeking to build, but maybe it will help get the conversation started.

Below is an image of the 'Skull Rock' we did for 2012, and it is a similar size to the desired dimensions.


View attachment 224944

Click here for a quasi-tutorial for our approach.

However, ours was just one way of pulling it off; I think it could be done using a PVC infrastructure, or EMT if desired, or maybe using cheesecloth and 'monster mud' vs. paper mache.

If nothing else, I hope it helps get the wheels turning.....
:)
I prefer the spray foam method to paper mache, awesome prop though! Love the paint job! Thanks for the link and information.
 

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That's the photo but not the thread, which is driving me crazy again now that I'm looking for it. Notice that the bottom jaw is apparently missing in that photo, so the total height would probably be a little over eight feet.
 

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Screaming Demons.......just wanted to mention....I was looking through some old threads trying to find the start-up notes for the online building group as we are getting ready to try to re-open it. I hope this may help you......if you know the members online name here in the forum, go to his profile page....on the left you will see "latest threads or latest posts" open that up and that will give you a list of all of his threads. Go back and start looking in the time frame you think he posted it. Its a bit time consuming and sometimes you have to watch out. I was looking for threads from 2008 and somehow the one I was trying to find was mixed in with threads from 2012. Still, if you take the time to go through them you will find the thread there.
 

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I built my huge skull totally different but then it had to be since people would be walking inside of the skull I was building.
Our web site is www.hauntedravensgrin.com there are pictures of the front of the house, that is where the huge skull is.
My methods might be totally not what you wish to do.
I bought a very small, old camping trailer at a sale for $18.oo, wheeled it to where I wanted it so I could work on it near my 220 outlet for the welder.
I used scraps of steel about 4 by 6 inches,welding them flat to the ends of 3/8" steel re-bar. I drilled 1/4" holes in those scraps, then drilled holes in the edge of the camping trailer box, bolted the re-bar there, bent it to the shapes I wanted..
After the basic round shape I began making cross pieces between them with much shorter pieces of re-bar welded using scraps of steel again. After I got the skull framed out and openings weld closed , I wheeled it around the other side of the house, jacked it up, removed the axle and wheels built a very substantial frame of steel angles to support everything.
I had used cardboard to trace the covering sheets of scrap steel and clamped the steel then cut to fit the opening between the rebars after using a magic marker to trace how it had to be ,transferring this to the steel sheet, using a 4- 1/2" grinder to cut the steel to shape.
Then clamping it to the rebar with Vice Grips and long bolts with fender washers and nuts I could screw down the steel tightly before I welded it.
After all of this "Head-Work" I built a jaw and installed it for him using all the same procedures and tools.
I made a substantial hinge for the jaw using solid steel bars and steel pipe nipples that the steel bars fit nicely in to, then some welding.
People could now be "Puked Out on the Parking Lot!' "Reeched out on the roadway!" "Gagged out on the Gravel!" signifying the house tour was complete.
As I was doing this long project a teenager from 20 miles away would stop and watch me.. "How long will it take for you to get this all done?"
I told him each sheet of the steel covering takes me around 60 minutes from the tracing on the cardboard to the final weld, and there are maybe 85 pieces I have to do that with."
He expressed that he would never be able to do such a job-task. I said, "Well then you will never build one of these,will you?" (Oh, well?)
This was my exit for years , until I became more ambitious and hand-dug my exit tunnel.
 
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