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Mill Creek Haunted Hollow
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Discussion Starter #1
my props!

Seriously, I love building, but I have no clue how to age. I think I'm just nervous. I spend all this time planing, carving, and painting -- and it looks good. Too good . . like new! :rolleyes:

I know there are some tutorials and other threads that touch on the basics of aging your props. I am mainly looking to age tombstones, and possibly some structures like the cider hut, mausoleum, and towers.

I live in the Northwest, so we have rain and moss as strong aspects to aging. I know what I like, but not how to get it.









If no one can help, I'm gonna have to call Litemareb4xmas, JohnnyAppleseed, and YardHauntJunkie over for a "prop aging" BBQ!! :D
(you've been warned!!)

 

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just put dirt on the tombstones. also alot of spiderwebs, maybe some cracks in the tombstones, and dates from a while ago.
 

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The Hobo Spider Assassin
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Ok, TK.....first know that I contacted Terra, she's the queen of aging techniques in my humble opinion! She gave me ideas and hints. Then I took off on an excursion in my area and looked at the effects of our wonderful NW climate on structures around my home town. Took lot's of pictures as reference and then tried my hand at duplicating the appearance. Of course, being afraid of making a mistake on my labor of love, I duplicated the look on a scrap piece of foam, or plastered plywood (in the case of my columns) and played with the various techniques and colors. Dry brushing, spray bottle of water to mist, rubbing with dry cloths, etc. Until I found the look through the technique or combination of techniques. Being color blind (shade blind often called red/green deficient) I am in need of some assistance in hues and colors, but I work it out. The only thing that I couldn't bring myself to do was to beat it with a chain or hammer (at least this year).
 

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I have a really hard time aging and distressing my stuff as well. But, the best advice I can give is 1. find detailed pictures of the look you're going for. And 2. Just go for it. It'll be kinda scary, but once you start, you'll actually get into it as you see your prop looking better and better...or in this case, worse. :)
 

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Mill Creek Haunted Hollow
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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you both for the good advice! I'll definitely take a field trip or two and see what nature is doing on her own.

Also, I'm wondering about the use of moss, or moss-like materials? J.A., have you ever done anything like that? I'm thinking the fake moss you get at Michaels is too big, I'm looking for more of the deep green "fuzzy" moss. Maybe something from a Model Train store? Like what they use for terrain building.

Hmm . . . will have to check on that.

Please keep the ideas, techniques, and tricks coming!
 

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Shadow box dancer
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I used clear poly spray paint and dust ( the finer the better). I spray a vary light layer and then lightly throw on some dust or really fine dirt. Making sure to get it in the areas where dirt would accumulate. Then I shake or dust off the excess. Then another misting of the clear spray paint. I do this until I get the look I like. I think if you painted columns and tombstones using the technique that 13mummy used and then did some light dirt and dust, you would have some pretty great aging. Can't wait to see how it turns out.
 

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Mill Creek Haunted Hollow
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Discussion Starter #7
I used clear poly spray paint and dust ( the finer the better). I spray a vary light layer and then lightly throw on some dust or really fine dirt. Making sure to get it in the areas where dirt would accumulate. Then I shake or dust off the excess. Then another misting of the clear spray paint. I do this until I get the look I like. I think if you painted columns and tombstones using the technique that 13mummy used and then did some light dirt and dust, you would have some pretty great aging. Can't wait to see how it turns out.
Your "dusting" technique sounds pretty cool. Do you have a pic?

I'll go back a re-read 13's posts on painting her columns. Thanks!
 

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Aging

Thank you both for the good advice! I'll definitely take a field trip or two and see what nature is doing on her own.

Also, I'm wondering about the use of moss, or moss-like materials? J.A., have you ever done anything like that? I'm thinking the fake moss you get at Michaels is too big, I'm looking for more of the deep green "fuzzy" moss. Maybe something from a Model Train store? Like what they use for terrain building.

Hmm . . . will have to check on that.

Please keep the ideas, techniques, and tricks coming!
Michael's has two kinds of moss, The grey big moss that looks great hanging from branched of an eerie tree, and the small green fuzzy stuff that works great for miniature bushes & trees. It's called Hyawatha moss. I use it on my tomb stones to give them the aged look. The hobby store might get pricey. Also I use watered down black & brown acrylic paints and let them run down from the top of props to get the aged look.
 

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Hauntless
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Yep, like your moss idea a lot. Here's a shot of one of mine with the moss:



I love what Johnny did. Walk around your neighborhood and really observe what time and weather does to similar items of your subject. Take a picture and look at the colors and the layers. With that info, just go for it. You will be very surprised that the more rougher and haphazard you are, the better it will look. It's really a lot of fun :)

Here's my technique for aging:

  1. Beat the cr#p out of your subject. Rip at it with tools, make cracks. BE ROUGH. The rougher you are to it, the older it will look.
  2. If it's made out of foam, YEAH! 'Cause you can whip out the spray paint. Hit it hard with the paint to get it to 'eat' the foam. Excellent way to add authentic-looking aged stonework.
  3. Base coat with medium gray (or whatever color is the basic color of your subject). I like to use gray Drylok, it has sand in it.
  4. Detail out cracks and crevices: Using dark gray, paint in the cracks and crevices to add depth.
  5. Tea-stain: Really, really water down the dark gray paint. Starting at the top, pour drips of it and brush it down. You are trying to simulate years of rain and pollution dripping down the subject.
  6. Drybrush: With a light gray, dip a large brush (3") and dry it off first on some paper towel. Then lightly brush all along your subject. It will lighten all the raised areas and will immediately make it look like stone.
  7. Pick some spots that you think some orange lichen would have grown. Then use raw sienna and brush it down in spots.
  8. With a wadded up paper towel, dip in really light gray paint and dab in spots to add in white lichen.
  9. Finally hot glue in sections of moss. Look for shady spots and cracks to put it.
 

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The Hobo Spider Assassin
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TK, I use both the spanish moss (the longer stringy stuff) for larger items where I need a hanging/stringy effect and the lighter green moss like Terra shows for tombstones and I'll be adding it to the columns I built. Wallmarts usually carry both and much cheaper then Michaels (unless you have those Michael's coupons)! I like to use a dark gray base (Kilz with black added at Home Depot for free). I then take a large well worn brush (bristles point every which direction) to dab on a black, then let dry. I build down again from there with lighter colors and finish with dry brushing and misting in areas I need to show the run of water over time. If you decide to sponge paint, I usually opt to not use a true paint sponge, but prefer to bunch up several plastic shopping bags, tie it in the center to hold shape and provide a dry hand hold, and then use it as my sponge. Less air bubbles and longer areas of paint touch to the surface.
 

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My stuff has aged naturally over the years..dust,dirt,cobwebs and wet leaf stains. Recently I was looking thru old halloween videos and noticed how much better my stuff showed up when it was new and freshly painted. Anyone else notice this? Those wet maple leaves really do a number on tombstones so maybe that is a look you can go for.
 

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I've used the model train "grass" before as moss and I usually use both the very fine and the larger types that they sell as greenery for trees. My aging in the past has been sorta crap, but now it will hopefully get better as I take all these great tips. Thanks everybody!
 

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The Hobo Spider Assassin
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Johnny, Where do I look when I'm in Walmart? Is the moss in the garden section, or in some sort of craft section?
Actually I find it in the vase and fake flower section of our local Walmart. Keep an eye out down low, it seems only short, stooped over, elderly folks buy the stuff so the considerate Walmart stockers put it at reach level for them! :D
 

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Insert Witty Comment Here
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I got a bunch of moss at the 90% off at BigLots last year. If you wait a couple weeks, they might have it on the shelves again.
 

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Mill Creek Haunted Hollow
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Discussion Starter #19
Ok, so I "went for it" on the aging of my tombstones.

This is what they looked like yesterday:



And this is what they look like today:



I was also able to pick up some moss from Walmart this morning and I'm hoping to put some of that on as well.
 
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