I would like to send a special thanks to the pumpkinrot (of course!), spookyblue and stolloween sites for their awesome creations and information on the beloved pumpkinrot scarecrows and paper mache creations. Keep giving us inspiration guys! Hopefully the table of contents will help sort through the mass of info here and if there are areas you think have too much or needs more information I'll make some changes. There are a few great pumpkinrot tutorials out there already but I hope this one brings a couple of new ideas to the pumpkinrot style. Enjoy and have fun building!
1. Frame and ribs
2. Head, hands and skulls
3. Paper towel mache layer
4. Torso build
5. Face and veins
6. Paper mache
7. Painting and sealing
Total cost of about $25 and 15-20 hours of time and many of the items can already be found around the typical home haunters workshop. The biggest costs were the skulls and pvc, almost everything else I had laying around the garage from past projects. No special tools were needed, just the basics like paint brushes, wire cutters and a high quality spray bottle.
1. Frame and ribs (about 1 hour)
Here I started with 1-1/2" pvc pipe and fittings to create the backbone of the pumpkinrot. The only part that is glued right now is the 4-way fitting at the neck. The arms and neck will go through some adjusting to get the sizing right, especially the neck pipe as it will have an eye bolt to hang it for storage and also become a strong point for supporting the head itself. Drilling large holes in the neck pipe now will allow for a smoke machine hookup later that will send smoke out through the eyes and mouth. I also have the back pvc pipe in two pieces connected by a pvc coupler that will never be glued which can be seen in later pictures. This is for easy storage, ability to swivel the pumpkinrot, quick removal from outside if it starts raining, etc.
The ribs are made out of garden hose, the cheaper the better as the cheap ones are nice and stiff. Size out a piece of hose and after making a pilot hole use a screw and washer to secure the ends to the pvc. Repeat for the rest of the ribs. I used green wire to secure the ribs going up and down with some hot glue to hold it in place. Silver wire was used to adjust the depth of the ribs. Duct tape will give the first layer of mache a place to hold onto and keep in mind that the ribs will need to be pronounced so wrap the tape around the contours of the front of the hose to keep the form of the rib.
2. Head, hands and skulls (about 2 hours)
Head - The head armature is made from chicken wire that's about 4 feet long and 3 feet wide. The tape on the chicken wire in the pic is how I cut out the shape for the head. The triangle cutouts on the top and bottom will help when forming the sphere for the head with each triangle connecting at one point to form the top and bottom of the sphere. Cutting along the middle of each wire turns them into their own little connected twist ties that can be used when closing the sphere. Once it's cut out roll it into a tube shape with the triangles at the top and bottom then use the bits of wire sticking out to connect them all together. Do the same with the top and bottom connecting the triangles and cutting off the overlapped wire. Don't forget to wear thick gloves as the metal ends are sharp.
Now this will look nothing like a sphere unless your very lucky. Mine always look more like an amoeba with attitude at the beginning so don't despair. Slowly shape the sphere with your hands by squeezing the wire together to shrink bulges and loosening or pulling the wire to remove divots. This is one of the harder parts of the build so take a break if it gets frustrating.
It's important to secure the head from movement and once you have the sphere to your liking, place it on the frame and adjust the length of the neck pipe so that when you place a pvc cap (with an eye hook bolted through it) the eye hook will just peek out of the head and the head is resting on the cap itself. Now that the neck assembly is to the right length, glue the pvc parts and use wire to attach the top of the head to the eye hook tightly and use a generous amount of hot glue good measure. I also braced the bottom of the head to the shoulders using black ridged tubing. Keeping the head secure from movement is important.
Hands - Fairly straight forward. Pvc forearms with a slot sawed out by hand to insert a board in the general shape of a palm. The fingers are semi ridged tubing used for ice making machines for refrigerators and I ran some wire through the middle to help hold it's shape. Lots of hot glue and ties hold the fingers in place. Shape out the palms and fingers with great stuff and after it dries trim off the excess with some scissors. I Used some construction adhesive to coat the hands and give it a spiky texture. What I did was wear some disposable gloves and pump a bunch of adhesive into my hands then rub the adhesive on the hands and pull my hands away sharply to create the small spikes. Go easy on the adhesive as it heavy stuff.
The skulls have a hole drilled in the back of the head to allow a pvc pipe to fit inside. I applied lots of hot glue inside the skull and glued the pipe then secured it again with more hot glue around the hole. I then used some extra pvc fittings and pipe to help get the shape for the skull assembly to be able to attach it to the torso and used screws to hold it all in place. Use whatever is handy to bulk up the pipe. Paper mache will have a hard time sticking to the skull plastic so I rubbed a thin layer of liquid nails around the area I wanted the paper mache to go.