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Hauntless
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Hello everyone. Yes, this will be the place to ask questions about making the Beloved stone. I have already made step by step instructions for Beloved here: Halloween Forum - Terra's Album: Tutorial: Beloved Tombstone
So that will be the source thread. But, I have lot's of other pictures and could do any additional instructions if anyone gets stuck. So, ask away :)

Here is a picture of what you will be making:

 

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Terra I have a question for you. Yesterday I found 2 dresses, one has this beautiful large bow on the back of it below the knees but then the dress is long in the front & gathers up in the back where the knees are & the dress is strapless. So.......I bought another dress that can be cut in 2 at the waist & the bottom half can be attached just under where the bow is on the 1st dress. Then the top half of the dress can go over the top of dress 1 because it has a beautifully draped top & long sleeves.

If I can get my sewing friend to help me put these 2 together (we are just fixing my old singer sewing machine) once you apply the monster mud & drylock you'll never be able to tell these 2 are sewn together>>>Right?

One more question.......did you use a halloween wig or a real one?

Muffy
 

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Hauntless
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You are correct, you won't be able to tell that you sewed seams together. The mudding and Drylok will cover a lot of sins. ;)

Here's a picture of the details I had on the dress before mudding. After mudding, only the bigger details were left showing. Also, you can see her wig here. It's called the Seduction wig. Here's a link to it: Seduction Wig - Brown - Costumes



The high neck and sleeves are important to have because the high neck part of the dress is how you connect the wig head form to your body. The neck material is the only thing holding it in place. The sleeves are important so you don't have to make skeleton arms. Here's another picture to see the wig head attached the body. This is right after mudding:



I can't wait to see the bow part on your dress. Sounds great. I believe one of the key elements of beauty of the tombstone is her cascading dress in the back. The dress was a bridal gown with the long train. I put the train up and got this wonderful effect:

 

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In my neck of the woods finding a long dress is close to impossible to find any thoughts on places to look or is the such a thing as an online thrift store? if not and someone is looking for a business idea you might have an idea here.or anyone have one they want to sell?
 

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STARK Raving Mad
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Terra, we are planning on making one of these this year. However, I was wondering...

We have made several life-size props using the Duct Tape Dummy technique to provide the realistic shape, contours, and poses of an actual human body. Our latest was the Mummy we used in our home haunt last year. It started as a DTD but then we corpsed it (layered paper towels saturated with paint & glue mixed 50/50) to make it more sturdy before wrapping it. The result was an accurate human shape, sturdy, but very light weight. The lighter weight (and resistance to cracking) is why I prefer corpsing to MonsterMudding.

So anyway, I believe for our attempt, we will start with a DTD (at least from the hips up) to get the proper underlaying shape, then dress it in an appropriate gown, corpse it, and finally paint it.

Do you approve?
 

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Hauntless
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In my neck of the woods finding a long dress is close to impossible to find any thoughts on places to look or is the such a thing as an online thrift store? if not and someone is looking for a business idea you might have an idea here.or anyone have one they want to sell?
Yeah, I would think online thrift stores or even eBay would be a good place for a dress. My story of how Beloved started was from finding the dress in the first place. I was at a thrift store and found this beautiful wedding dress for $20! At first, I couldn't figure out why it was so cheap. Then as I really looked at it I realized that it was hand-sewn (not very well - I might add) and it was a tiny, tiny size! Like for an incredibly petite woman or a girl. So, that dress was probably hanging on the hanger for months because no one could fit into it. :) It was FATE!

Well, I'm standing there holding it marveling at the over-the-top decorations on it (I mean it had everything attached to it; beads, ruffles, appliqués) and I was desperately trying to come up with an idea for it. Then I remembered a tombstone I saw in my surfing that could suffice. The Alice Tombstone. So, the dress I found was actually the inspiration for the whole tombstone.

The happy accident was that because it was so small, it was the perfect scale for the tombstone. If you put a full-size woman on on the stone, I think it wouldn't look as good.

The second happy accident was because the decor was so over the top, it has already an ancient look to it (Victorian or colonial) and when I mudded and Dryloked it, the details just showed enough to look good. If the coats weren't so thick, I believe it would have looked silly frilly. But, if you use a plainer dress, she would look plain or modern. Which could work, I guess. It would be a different style of stone.

Bottom line: as you are looking for dresses, look for several important things:
  • Very small size
  • Heavy on the foofy detailing
  • Long train that can be put up or some kind of bustling in the back
  • High neck
  • Long sleeves
 

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Bottom line: as you are looking for dresses, look for several important things:
  • Very small size
  • Heavy on the foofy detailing
  • Long train that can be put up or some kind of bustling in the back
  • High neck
  • Long sleeves
Other than the size...I saw that dress for $20 last night at Savers (a thrift store)

I don't know if I'm going to make 'Beloved' this year, but I should probably go back and get the dress
 

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Hauntless
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Terra, we are planning on making one of these this year. However, I was wondering...

We have made several life-size props using the Duct Tape Dummy technique to provide the realistic shape, contours, and poses of an actual human body. Our latest was the Mummy we used in our home haunt last year. It started as a DTD but then we corpsed it (layered paper towels saturated with paint & glue mixed 50/50) to make it more sturdy before wrapping it. The result was an accurate human shape, sturdy, but very light weight. The lighter weight (and resistance to cracking) is why I prefer corpsing to MonsterMudding.

So anyway, I believe for our attempt, we will start with a DTD (at least from the hips up) to get the proper underlaying shape, then dress it in an appropriate gown, corpse it, and finally paint it.

Do you approve?
Sounds really interesting. So, you are going to show more of the skeletal structure of the woman from what I'm gathering. That is intriguing and a cool take...even more scary. I've never corpsed before so I'm a bit at a loss in advising you on that.

In my tutorial, you see that her torso and arms are basically hallow chicken wire forms with a little fabric and tape around the outside. So she weighs nothing at all. I liked the fact that she was hollow because when I put her on the tombstone, I wanted her to look like she fell asleep and then died and her body inside the dress wasted away to just a skeleton. So, I pressed down on the form when it was on the tombstone to get a little bit of that story across. Also, when I put her on the stone her butt stuck up too much and I needed to mold the form around the edge of the stone. So I smashed her butt down. Wish I could do that to mine... heh. ;) You can see how I flattened her at her hips/butt in this picture:

 

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Hauntless
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Explain Monster Mud please since I have never used it before.
Monster Mud was created by Terror Syndicate. At this link, they explain it http://terrorsyndicate.com/tsp_mm.html

I describe it as the combination of drywall compound (also called drywall mud) and latex paint. The latex in the paint, I believe, is what adds flexibility to the drywall compound when it dries. If it wasn't in there, it would just shatter back to powder when moved. I think of monster mud as a 'bulking up' agent to fabrics. It makes them thick, stiff and stone-like. Perfect for tombstone figures, reapers and scary-looking forms.
 

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Hauntless
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What do you mean by "put the train up"
I was trying to come up with the word for this....You know when you are at the church part of the wedding and your train is dragging behind you? Then you get to the reception and the bridesmaids helps you put your 'train' up in the back of the dress? There's a hook in the center of the train that hooks onto a part of the back of the dress. Then you arrange the folds in a pretty way. I hope I'm explaining that good enough ;)

(I know guys reading this are scratching their heads right now :) )
 

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Hauntless
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Thank you for the link on the Monster mud, I feel more confident in using it on my prop.

My next question, when you join two pieces of styrofoam together, what is the best way to soften the edges of the foam if you do not have a router. Is there such a thing as a corner sanding pad to round the edges???
Great question! Here's a picture of the most used tool in my tombstone shaving and detailing arsenal:



It is called the Stanley Surform Shaver. Stanley Hand Tools :* 21-115 *-* 7-1/4" Surform® Shaver Stanley Hand Tools :* 21-115 *-* 7-1/4" Surform® Shaver

It makes shaping the tombstone very easy (especially the sides). A happy side benefit is that it leaves behind a stone-like texture (see the rough surface on the face of the stone?). The older I want the tombstone to look, the more I use the tool on the surface. Also, the sidewalls of the tool rips open realistic-looking cracks. After jig-sawing the tombstone shape and then Dremeling the epitaph, this is the tool I use to do the real shaping of the stone. Then I do the spray-painting step and that finishes off the structuring of the stone.
 
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Terra, thank you very much for taking the time to teach us how to do 'Beloved'. That is very nice of you!
I plan to attempt 'beloved' this summer, so I will be unofficially following this group. I have the dress and it is perfect in every way, except it is bigger than I wanted. Around here the thrift shops ask too much $ for wedding gowns. So, I took what I could get.
I was thinking that I could somehow pin the front of the dress, but not so much that it gathers too much and looks obvious. Do you have any suggestions? Thanx!
 

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Hauntless
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Terra, thank you very much for taking the time to teach us how to do 'Beloved'. That is very nice of you!
I plan to attempt 'beloved' this summer, so I will be unofficially following this group. I have the dress and it is perfect in every way, except it is bigger than I wanted. Around here the thrift shops ask too much $ for wedding gowns. So, I took what I could get.
I was thinking that I could somehow pin the front of the dress, but not so much that it gathers too much and looks obvious. Do you have any suggestions? Thanx!
You are very welcome. I think pinning the dress is a great idea. You don't see the front of her anyway so it should be fine. The shoulders could look too broad on her back so maybe you could fold in the shoulder at the sleeve too? Oh...or you could also fold in the back seam near the shoulders. Her hair will probably cover an ugly seam anyway. Like I was telling Muffy, with the mudding and Drylok coats, it covers a lot of hatcheting that may have to be done with some dresses. Also, Muffy....if a seam looks too ugly, just have some lace nearby and mud that and place over any too ugly seams. More lace the better with this project :)

Muffy had another great idea too. The train of the wedding dress is hard to find so I would get whatever size I could find. Then find another dress that is a petite size and has the high neck and sleeves. Chop that off and attach it to the bottom of the wedding dress. Like Frankenstein ;)
 
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