a view from the laundry pile…

…it's all about perspective.

Is it Halloween yet?

on September 20, 2013

I really love Halloween. The cooler weather, fun costumes, carving pumpkins (and eating the baked seeds!), decorating the house and yard…

Every year, for Halloween (and Christmas), Fred and I decorate the front porch and yard. We live on one of the more traveled streets in town so, I believe, it’s as much fun for people to look at as it is for us to do.  We try to pick a different theme each year and have come up with, what I think are, pretty cool designs over the years. This year we’re doing more a “traditional” Halloween with a creepy cemetery in the garden (I’ll do another blog on that when it’s done) and a witch on the front porch. 

I’m in charge of “creating” the witch and, rather than just buying a mask, I wanted to see if I could make her from scratch. I mean, really, if she turned out ugly, would that be a problem?  

w6I started with a plain, foam mannequin head, a roll of paper towels, and duct tape to mold the final shape. I then used equal parts white glue and warm water, along with smaller pieces of paper towel, as a mache, to add more detail (like wrinkles and warts) and then larger strips to smooth out the rougher spots and cover the duct tape (the ends tend to peel up after a while — especially with the cheaper stuff, which is what I mostly use for art projects).

w5Once that dried I gave it a coat of flesh-colored paint — mostly to see how the facial features were going to look and make any adjustments before adding the next layers of paint. I had to smooth out a few edges, add a couple more wrinkles here and there, and build up the cheekbones a bit more.

w4I happened to have a pair of eyeballs (doesn’t everyone have them lying around?) but my original design only called for one. I glued it in place then used some more mache to secure it. When it was dry, for the skin color, I started with black then dry-brushed on some gray and light green for highlights. For the finer details, like nostrils and lip lines, I used a smaller brush.

w3Then it got some hair (I still have designated it as a “he” or “she” – only because I don’t want to stereotype…). I was going to use a wig but decided to use quilt batting, instead. I liked the fluffy, yet gnarly, look of it and it’s actually pretty perfect for my witch.

Tw2he frame for the “body” is just PVC pipe with a cross-piece in the center (think of an “+” — arms come out the side, head on top, torso/legs is the long piece on the bottom) and added padding (old dog towels) to give it some shape. Fred then secured it to a 2 x 2 board so it would be free-standing.

At 6′ tall, it’s actually pretty impressive and, once Fred lights it (in his “spare” time, he has a light & grip service – lots of fun toys) it’ll look even better. Now on to the 8′ Creeper for the garden… 





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