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How to build a Creeper!

125439 Views 53 Replies 24 Participants Last post by  james.morganii41
I recently posted photos of a couple of creepers I built on a couple of Facebook Halloween forums and had a lot of people ask for tutorials. so I decided to build another one and take a lot of pictures. I figured this was a good place to post the tutorial for people who are interested. When you do this you will be using a process known as plastic corpsing. If you have never done it, check out this 20 minute video from Stiltbeast Studios. He does an excellent job showing you how to corpse. It is actually pretty easy and well worth the time to watch.

Basically our goal is to take this:

Tire Automotive tire Asphalt Wheel Automotive wheel system

and make this

Sculpture Tree Technology Art Machine

Wildlife Deer Grass Grass family Lawn

Sculpture Art Statue Tree Botany

Materials I used:
  1. Costco Skeleton. About $40 from Costco.com right now. They are available right now but not year round.
  2. 3/8 inch Flexible copper tubing.
  3. Extra prop bones. You couple probably also use 3/4 in pvc pipe if you don't have any bones laying around.
  4. 3 inch deck screws http://www.homedepot.com/p/Deckmate...d-Wood-Deck-Screws-5-lb-Pack-734968/202308663
  5. JB marine weld epoxy J-B Weld 2 oz. Waterweld 8277 - The Home Depot you can get it at Home Depot for under $6
  6. Plastic tarp: HDX 9 ft. x 12 ft. 0.7 mil Drop Cloth (3-Pack) DCHD-07-3 - The Home Depot
  7. Gorilla Tape: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Gorilla-1-7-8-in-x-12-yds-Heavy-Duty-Duct-Tape-60012/100557598
  8. Zip ties
  9. Hickory gel Stain: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Minwax-1-qt-Hickory-Gel-Stain-66100/202061480
  10. Dowel Rod
  11. Clay
The main part I will be talking about is how I shaped and strengthened the prop. Stiltbeast studios tutorial on corpsing pretty much completes it. When you are making this unnatural is the look to go for. Nice thing about this is that if you make mistakes as you go along that might deform the the prop a bit, it's not a bad thing. You don't need to do it in the order I do things, and there may well be easier or better ways to do things. If you think of them, don't hesitate, go for it and share if it works.


1. One of the things I do is lengthen the arms. I do this by popping the bottom arm bone and hand out of the upper arm bone and adding in an extra bone. if you don't have extra bones lying around it should not be to hard for you to modify a 12-14 inch piece of 3/4pvc pipe or replace the arms altogether with pvc pipes, and a couple of 90 and 45 degree elbows.

Auto part

the bones I used to extend the arms were flimsy. So I inserted a dowel rod and some good stuff foam to strengthen the bones. This is optional depending on how you do this step.

Auto part Bumper Metal

Rust Auto part Pipe Metal

Finger Hand Nail Metal

After the bones are prepped and strengthened. I Attach the new bone in between the two existing arm bones. I use deck screws and then cover with/ attach with gorilla tape. If you do this right it's actually very stable.

Leg Floor

Auto part Skeleton Skull Automotive engine part

Joint Metal


by the time you are done, you will have nice long front arms that will give the final prop a nice creepy unnatural look.
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
The next thing I worked on was the head. There are a lot of things you can do to make each creeper unique with its own personality. what you do with the head is one of them.

- Remove the head. This is easy to do, it pops right off of the spine.

Skeleton Bone Skull Head Jaw

There are a lot of things you can do with the skull to give it its own personality. A couple of things I like to do is reposition the jaw and do a little work around the eyes to make it look a little more demonic and evil.

- I like to remove the jaw, drill a pair of holes a little lower in the skull to replace the jaw into so that I can open the mouth wider and get a bit of a creep unnatural look.

- take the jaw out.

Skeleton Bone Skull Jaw Anthropology

Drill holes a little lower in the skull, when you put the jaw back on, it will look more unnatural and open wider.

Skull Jaw Sculpture Bone Art

But because you are moving the holes to where it is closer in the skull, you need to slightly reshape the jawbone with a heat gun. This is quick and easy to do.

Hammer drill Tool Jackhammer Screw gun Impact driver

When you are done, the jaw is a bit narrower. Here is a modified jaw and normal jaw. just slip the modified jaw bone into the new holes. Another thing you can do is cut a couple of teeth out for a unique look.


Now I like to reshape the eyes a slight bit to make it more evil. This was a trick I picked up on a stiltbeast studio video last year. Allen Hopps talks about how the brows can really make a difference in you skull face around the 7:50 mark of this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhxAp1gkcfc Seriously, his videos are worth checking out if you have not already done so. He can really open the eyes of beginner and moderate haunters to making good, creepy and cool props. I don't think I ever got better than a generous "c" in any art class, (I wish I was making a self deprecating joke, but I'm not) but by modifying his ideas I can make stuff that I am proud of.

I position the clay around the eyes to give it its own personality. I'm showing you two different skulls here one for a different project. adding this to the skull is definitely what gives the final product part of its creeper look.

Skull Bone Head Skeleton Human

Skull Bone Head Skeleton Jaw

then using the corpsing method in stiltbeast studios video, I use some spray on adhesive, wrap a bit of plastic around the skull and hit it with a heat gun. I will be adding more later when I corpse the whole skeleton. When you wrap plastic around the skull, don't worry about being to neat. bulges and lines in the plastic actually add a neat effect and personality for the final product.

Auto part

Head Skull Bone Snout Organism

Now you can put the head aside for a bit.

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The next thing I worked on was the neck. I like to have a lot of options of how I am going to position the neck and head. There are a lot of things you can do to make each creeper unique and give them their own personality. Head position is one. Doing this extends the neck and gives you a lot of flexibility with the prop.

For this part you are cutting the neck in two, drilling out the inside, inserting flexible 3/8 inch copper, and then using epoxy to keep the copper in place.

Take you cutters, saw or sawzall and cut the neck in two.

What I like to do now is strengthen the neck parts so that they will stand up to the vibrations of the drill. I zip tie in between each individual vertebrae.

Water Auto part

Now I take a 3/8 spade drill bit and gently start creating a channel inside the two parts of the spine to insert the copper.

Jaw Fictional character

once the channels are cut, cut an appropriate length of flexible copper to lengthen the neck. I like to cut the copper long enough to go an inch or two into the upper part of the spine and two inches into the lower part of the spine as well as a couple of inches for the extension and flexibility.

Wire Electrical wiring Wood Cable

Plywood Wood Floor

Also where the neck spine goes into the ribcage seems a little weak on these skeletons. It couldn't hurt to take a bit of epoxy and squish it into the area where the neck and ribcage are.

Once you have the epoxy in place, give it time to dry. A good time to work on other projects, clean your work space, grab something to eat, or run to home depot to get the supplies you suddenly realize you need because you can't seem to just get everything in one trip to Home Depot. (if you are like me).

Btw.... the copper trick would also be a good way to elongate the spine if you want to modify your creeper that way.


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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Now we are going to pose the creeper. I am just showing you one pose, but part of the personality of your creeper is how you pose it. The more unnatural the better in my opinion. of the 3 I've done, the first one (the one all the way on the right right in the first post) I did is my favorite in part because of just how unnatural the pose is. But that one also took a lot of time where I was bending the legs in part with a heat gun so that the legs bend outward a bit. For the one I did for this tutorial I kept it simple. I figured out how I wanted the pose and used deck screws to lock it in place. I like the deckmate deck screws because they don't strip, are easy to drive into the plastic, and just work well for my purpose. If you have your own way of posing skeletons that you like, go for it. Please share, i am always looking for new ideas.

First you want to figure out your pose. It helps to come up with a pose where it is balance to free stand, (which I did) but not completely necessary. If yours is a bit off balance, you can just pin the feet into place and spray paint the pins a brown color so they blend in.

Once I figure out the pose I want, I take it one limb at a time. I start with the arms then move onto the legs.

For the arms I use screws at the shoulders and elbows. For the legs I use screws at the hip and knees. You can use them on the feet if needed. I go through the bone into the next bone, shoulder blade, or hip depending on what part you are doing. I usually use 2-3 screws per joint. then I use gorilla tape to cover them up. (in the pictures I was experimenting with a pipe wrap, but it's expensive and not worth it in my opinion) if you wind up with any screw tips sticking out that you are worried about, just hit them with a dremel like cutting tool. But honestly if there are any tips they are probably in place that you can't see or cause any harm.

Skeleton Bone Skate Jaw Skull

Auto part Fender

Dog breed Canidae Sporting Group Fawn Pointer

Vehicle Car Bumper Auto part

Auto part Plant

Now to give the creeper a little bit of extra creepiness, we are going to work on the hands. All you need for this is your heat gun. Apply heat to on finger at a time and as it become malleable, bend it to where you want it. I keep a spray bottle of water with me when I do this. When I have it in the position I want the finger, I hit it with some water cooling it and keeping it in place. If you want to go for an extra level of creepiness here, you can extend the fingers. Spirit halloween had finger extension last year which you can slip over the tip of the fingers extending them. you could also use lengths of flexible copper if you wanted.

Hand Soil Sand Claw

Tarantula Spider Organism Soil Wolf spider

Floor Shadow Tree Soil Branch

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Once you have your pose, you are ready to attach the head. If the hole in the skull is cover in heated plastic, just cut it open and put the skull in place. it does not hurt to put a little epoxy where the skull and spine meet to keep the head stable. Once the head is on, figure out the angle that you want your head and move it to where you want it. When I do this, I have both hand on the copper and manipulate the copper. I am trying to remove any stress from the plastic that might break things. If something plastic breaks, you can probably fix it with epoxy, but its a pain. if you have trouble manipulating the copper with your hands, use two pairs of plier, channel locks etc... and use one to stabilize the copper and the other to bend it into the position that you want.

Sculpture Machine Table Art

Skull Skeleton Bone Machine Art

Depending on how much you want your arms to splay out, you might want to use some thin strips of gorilla tape to hold the arms close together. This depends on the final look of your creeper that you are going for. I did it on the creeper in the picture. The nice thing about the corpsing technique is that it covers things like this up.

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Now it's time to plastic wrap your creeper. I'm not going into much detail about this because you can find everything in the Stiltbeast studio video..... still haven't watched it? Here it is again, well worth the 20 minutes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69p2EyS-5qk Seriously there is not much too add.

When corpsing, you can't use to much plastic on these. Don't worry about doing things neatly. Twists in the plastic, overlapping pieces etc... shrink into cool looking and creepy patterns. Wear those blue nitrile gloves when staining, it helps a lot. Also when you apply the gel, don't worry if you miss a small hard to get to spot here or there. Get a can of expresso satin spray paint from Home Depot. it matches the color of the hickory gel and is good for touch ups. But if you have more patience than me, you probably will get all those small spots anyway.

Also, I'm not sure if I read this on the web or figured it out myself, but those blue nitrile gloves are great for if you are too lazy to clean your brushes all the time. I've done a couple of corpsing jobs this week and used the same brush. when I am done I just take one of the use gloves, slip it over the paint brush and it keeps it from drying out for at least 3 days. (I hate cleaning brushes).

here are some pictures of the plastic wrapping.

Sculptor Sculpture Art Plastic bag

Sculpture Art Chair Furniture

Sculpture Art Head Nonbuilding structure Auto part

Sculpture Head Art Jaw Skull

Sculpture Skeleton Art

By the way, I like to keep a spot in the belly open where I can slide a remote control color changing light. It make for a nice effect lighting up the body a bit at night.

Food Dish Cuisine


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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Beautiful fall like day today so decided to start a creeper. Working on the picnic table made it easier as my shop is a complete disaster.
View attachment 287643
Hope to corpse tonite .
Did things a little differently but I'm happy wiyh the way it's turning out.
Awesome! It's looking great. And I hear you about the shop. My next step is to take an hour or so and get my shop back to square one :)
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