Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Carving Apple Heads

Making shrunken apple heads is a lot of fun and carving the simple faces on the apples really does help develop your sculpting and three dimensional skills.

Here are some nice close up photos showing the freshly carved apples prior to drying.

Information on how I make my shrunken heads can be found here.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dunninger’s Complete Encyclopedia of Magic

Another recent thrift store find was Dunninger’s Complete Encyclopedia Of Magic, a hard cover book published in 1988 featuring illustrations and details of several hundred magic tricks and illusions.

The illustrations struck a chord with me and thumbing through the pages I saw several tricks that could potentially be used in the world of haunting.

The book is still available from Amazon.

Sleepy Hollow In High Fidelity

Here’s a recent thrift store treasure, 1963 Disneyland Record’s The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle.

The album cover is in good condition which is the primary reason I purchase Halloween related LPs.

I have not had a chance to listen to the record narrated by Billy Bletcher but I’ve got a hunch that it will be a treat.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Weekend Find

My wife really knows her way around garage sales and she proved it this past weekend when she presented me with three rainspout gargoyles.

Each gargoyle is heavy weight, nicely detailed and the moment I saw them I uttered “Toscano?”

Yes, these gems come from Toscano Design and are called “Roland the Gargoyle Sculptural Rainspout", available on their website for $19.95 each.

Garage sale price 3 for $10.00, sweet!

As I said, my wife knows her garage sales.

Check out the cool stuff at Design Toscano.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Shadow Of The Beast

While working on a new and improved Gargoyle tutorial for I stumbled across this photograph of a cool shadow cast from one of the gargoyle armatures. The power of light and shadow.

Get Your Gargoyle On!

Posted a new instructional about creating gargoyles from a variety of recycled materials, the new tutorial is simple and comprehensive allowing you to assemble a papier mache gargoyle with your own creative twist.

A Peek Behind The Scenes

A peek behind the scenes of our Halloween 2009 setup where we battled massive rainfall, cold weather and 40 mph winds, enjoy the photos taken by my oldest son of our funfilled day (and night).

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Dungeon Rat Tutorial

Finally managed to post the "Dungeon Rats" tutorial over on, the tutorial documents making the critters from recycled paint cans, plastic milk jugs, cardboard, newspaper and papier mache.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

200 Days Until Halloween

That’s right, only 200 days left until Halloween 2010.

It seems like a tremendous amount of time but having learned from past experience the time will fly by like a bat from hell, before you know it you will only have 200 hours before Halloween.

Get your build on!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sir Pulp A Lot

There is a great satisfaction to pulping paper, the fact that your piece is 100% recycled materials made with your own hands. I pulp paper by boiling small squares of torn paper for several hours, cool, then shred with a hand mixer or paint mixer attachment.

For the last several years I have used Cellulose Fiber Insulation which is easier and if you consider the cost of energy, water and time probably cheaper in the long run.

But still, pulping your paper is fun and resourceful.

In the spring of 2007 I knew that I would need quite a bit of clay in order to create everything on my list so I resorted to doing it on a large scale. We have a large fire pit in our back yard and most evenings during the weekends you can find us sitting around a roaring fire enjoying some good conversation, drinks and watching the bats swoop around the night sky.

To pulp large amounts of paper I used a large galvanized steel wash tub filled with torn paper and water. The tub was positioned over the fire using three large pieces of angle iron. The fire was stoked up and the paper was allowed to boil and simmer throughout the night.

The next morning I used a paint mixer attachment powered by an electric drill to shred the paper into a yummy oatmeal looking consistency.

The shredded paper was then transferred to some large screens that were acquired from someone’s curbside trash. The excess water was squeezed out by hand and the pulp was spread thin on the screens and allowed to dry for several days.

The pulp was constantly turned to make sure it was completely dry then placed in large trash bags for storage.

This friendly toad seemed to enjoy sunning himself on top of the drying pulp.

Making your own pulp is an enjoyable experience and one that I think everybody should try at least once as it gives you an appreciation for the technique and sense of accomplishment.

Cat In The Hat

Well more like cat in the box or more accurately Krueger in a “Realistic Rotting Skull” box.

Quite sure that this isn’t what Dr. Suess had in mind, now what rhymes with “Krueger?”

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Very spooky picture taken at Chippewa Nature Center in Midland, Michigan during a night walk featuring candle-lit pumpkins carved by the students at Central Middle School. It was a very windy night and a major thunderstorm hit that produced a tornado warning minutes after we got back to our car. Exciting and spooky night.

Assembly Line October 2007

Browsing some old files and found some photos from October 2007 showing the last minute creation of arms, hands, ribs, spiders, coffin and zombie skulls.

The whole endeavor became a family affair as we pushed to get everything completed in time for our annual display.

The photos show my “modular” approach to my large standing creatures, the arms/hands, ribs and skulls are each created separately then attached to a wood frame made from 2x4’s.

This method allows for quick set-up and makes storage much more manageable.

One of the smarter things I did that year was to put a small hook into the end of each arm/hand so that each piece could be hung while drying/painting and sealing.


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