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cheap and easy
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made these out of greatstuff foam. You will need to paint them because sunlight on foam can hurt the prop over time. Never had a problem after painting.





 

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We grossed up some off the shelf cheap skeletons last year with the same expandable foam you would buy at the hardware store, once on then you can use exterior grade paint and stains (wood deck stain is great) to make it gory and realistic. We had a great time and ended up even attaching the latex gloves that had become red to the props to add a bit more gore... looked like viscera and brains. You will think yourself quite brilliant and you need not be a sculptor to achieve what you want. If it doesn't last many seasons, no big deal as this is a easy and cheap project, however given what the foam is used for, I don't know why you won't have great props for years to come.We will be re-purposing our skeletons for a pirate ship this year.
 

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cheap and easy
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I don't have a how to on them and I used a couple different ways to get them.

On some I used sand casting and on others I cut a plastic set of hands apart and used that as a mold.

With sand casting, or at least the way I do it.....quick and easy :) you wont get perfect looking heads. The back of the head will looked deformed but that is ok for the way I was using them. I only needed the face and side of the head because the back is almost always covered by hair, a hood or something.

I will give a quick overview and some links to my photobucket site that will show you more

http://s985.photobucket.com/albums/ae339/madmax42303/fake chain sand molding/foam molding/

http://s985.photobucket.com/albums/.../foam molding/sand cast arms heads and hands/

http://s985.photobucket.com/albums/...t arms heads and hands/Greatstuff foam hands/

I take sand (I got from Lowes) and damping it then press a head that I have into the sand. Pressing hard to get the details, I hold the head in place and pack sand around it about mid way or up to the ears. Spray in the foam and let it go and once it rises above the mold I kind of shape it with more sand by packing it around the head. I would get 3 heads out of one can of foam....so about 1 dollar a head.

After it cures about one hour (heat helps it rise and cure so I put it outside to cure) I take it out and trim it if it needs it and sand with sand paper. Not much, just enough to knock the sand off the face. The trimming & sanding usually takes 5 minutes or so.

You can use you own body parts by pressing them in the sand...I wouldn't advise doing this to your head :) but I have used my hand and forearm and foot. It wont come out perfect but good enough for some props, like zombies. You can shape them (more of a bony look) once you take them out of the mold and before they are fully cured. This is My arm and hand



When you use a set of plastic hands for the mold the back of the hand will come out looking like a blob and need trimming. Takes a couple minutes with a razor knife. None of them will come out looking perfect but most of the time the bottom of the hand isn't seen. If something isn't going to show.....I don't let it bother me or worry about it. In my opinion to much time is wasted on details that are NEVER SEEN or covered up by other things.

I hope this helps
 

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Mistress of Mayhem
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Oh wow, I've never seen this before, I think I'm going to have to try this!

When you say that you put your heads into the sand for the impression, is it a mask you are putting into the sand? Or a full head that you had already made or...?

You say that once the foam rises above the mold you form it by packing more sand around the head, so are you packing that sand in around the foam as it's rising to make the shape?

And are you spraying the foam directly into the sand impression? Doesn't the sand stick to the foam casting?

Thank you so much for all your help with this, it's fascinating and I think I'm going to give it a try! I really need some hands for my rocking granny and I've been wondering how I was going to do that! :)
 

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Hi- I think you have me confused with the originator of the photographed props. It appears that he uses a sandcasting method that would be really great not to mention fun. I have sandcasted before.. but not with expandable foam. I think he did an amazing job.You might get some sand sticking but most likely could rub/sand it off easily. As for my use of expandable foam, we just used cheap plastic skeletons and applied the foam to look like viscera. Then we used wood stain to "antique" the plastic and foam as well as red paint for gore. Pieces of paper towel and even the latex gloves we were wearing became incorporated ( guts and peeling skin) It was not as involved as the other post originator but was very effective too. I will try to post pictures of them soon so you can see what we did, right now they are buried in storage ;)
 

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Great job on the props! What brand & color wood stain do you use? I seem to have a problem finding the right color.
 

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Oh boy... everyone is confused... I am not the originator of the great props. I have done similar sorts of things with expandable foam but have not done the sandcasting. His is the more ambitious version. I will photo mine this weekend and post so you can see the "Easy Button" version. But props have to go to the original Prop maker.
 
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