Halloween Forum banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

Registered
Joined
258 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
We have a tree in the front of our house close to the sidewalk. I have been thinking for a while about trying to make some kind of a face that looked like it was part of the tree. Something along the lines of this photo. If you do a google search you will see it many form and is typically referred to as a "Green Man" mask and is usually interpreted as a symbol of spring or a forest or rebirth in general.

718328


But I digress. I wanted something that actually had eyes that moved which was going to be a complicated project. But then I found this new animated eyes thing at Adafruit.com. They call it the Monster M4SK.
718329


It uses 2 small TFT displays and comes with the program to display the eyeballs which just go through a series of random movements. You can change a text file they give you to change some of the attributes of the eyes. I was able to change mine to make the pupils look more like eyes of a cat. If you have graphic talents I think it would be an easy task to create any type of eyes you want.

To help me make the face I bought one of these cheap plastic masks. I will cover it in Apoxie Sculpt to create the face I want.
718330


To make the eyeballs look more 3D they sell glass or plastic convex lens that fit over the TFT displays which make the eyeballs look larger. I elected for the glass ones as I thought the plastic ones would get scratched in the assembly process and the glass ones would probably provide greater clarity. I am glad I did this.



I had to cut much larger holes in the mask in order for the eyes to fit.
718331


I taped the mask down to a board to keep it from moving when I put the Apoxie scuplt on. I covered the eyeballs and the circuit board with plastic wrap to keep the clay from sticking to those parts. I also used some heavy duty tape around the edges of the circuit board to ensure I would be able to remove the board after the Apoxie dried. I also should have put the plastic wrap on the wood base as well as the Apoxie stuck to that.
718332



I had never used the Apoxie sculpt before but it is easy to use. You just take equal parts of the A and B clay, mix them together for about a minute and start throwing it on. I would create pieces about 1" in diameter and press those onto the mask. You then wet your fingers with water and smooth the seams out. This process also makes it super easy to create a heavy texture in the "skin" which I liked. I kept the eyeball animation going while I worked the clay around the eyeballs so I could easily tell how much I needed to cover up.

718333


You have to let this dry overnight but it is like concrete now. Now I am going to attempt to make a mold of some tree bark and I will add more clay and use that mold to create more of a bark texture to the face.

Here is what it looks like with the plastic wrap removed from the eyes. I just hung it up on the wall to get an idea of what it looks like at the moment and I have to tell you that this has turned out better than I thought and it so creepy you can't believe it. This is going to seriously freak some kids out. :) I will add more photos after I add the tree bark texture.
 

Registered
Joined
258 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thanks J-Man and HauntedWho!

Update: I used EasyMold silicone putty from Castin' Craft to make 2 small molds of the bark on the tree. See photo below on left. It was so easy and it worked perfectly. I just slapped a gob on the tree and squished it in and in 30 minutes you have a perfect mold of the bark. Then I added more Apoxie Sculpt to the face and squished one of the molds into the clay. There is no way I would have been able to match this texture without this. Is it just me or does he look happier?

718406
 

Registered
Joined
1,488 Posts
Looking good. Neat way to get the tree bark texture. He definitely looks like he's happy that he will soon be scaring some TOTs.
 

Registered
Joined
59 Posts
This looks incredible! You did a great job and I'm sure that was a huge hit!

With regards to the mask, did you just buy the mask, glass eye covers and battery for it and that was all? It sounds pretty much just plug and play which is great for those of us that are clueless in this area ha ha!
 

Registered
Joined
258 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Thanks @Daphne - it was a hit with both the kids and parents. It would be better if the eyeballs were mechanical but making a set of mechanical eyeballs that move in 2 dimensions and blink is an engineering wonder that I do not have time for at the moment.

I would not classify the board as "plug and play" but it is certainly not difficult. When you first get the board you have to load some files on it to get it to show the eyeballs but they (Adafruit) have pretty good instructions on how to do it. I think I had it working with their "default" eyeballs in about 10 minutes and I'm no rocket scientist. I was just looking the other day and now they have about 10 different types of eyeball graphics that you can download. You can also edit one of the files they give you to make something custom which is what I did.

If you are interested in making your own here is the "quickstart guide" for the board on their website.

Fyi - You don't have to buy the battery if you don't want to. The board has a micro-USB socket that can power the board. If you do get the battery then it will charge when the micro-USB socket is attached to a charger or your computer and then when you disconnect the cable the battery will keep the board running for hours. The battery only costs about $7 so I would suggest you get it just in case.

If you make one of these make sure you post some photos!
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top