Friday, July 25, 2014

Rusting the Cauldron

I've been using some classic Halloween home haunter techniques lately, and today I want to show the cheap and easy way to rust plastic.

Part of my scene is a guy getting boiled in the middle of the driveway. We have a cauldron to hold the skeleton; simple, cheap, plastic.
It's like every other cauldron out there on the market, pretty much.
But I wanted to age it up, to make it look more like the kind of cauldron a proper witch would use and had used to boil skeletons for decades.

Enter the oatmeal.

All you need to rust and age up a cauldron is:
  • oatmeal
  • sand
  • glue
  • spray paint
Mix the oatmeal and sand with the glue. I used more sand than oatmeal and wet down the glue with water at first. I don't think it did much one way or the other so if you want to stretch your elmers out, you can try it.

Glob it all over the cauldron in various points making a big mess of your hands, the floor, and a dog who thinks she wants to eat oatmeal sand glue.

Let that dry. It will look disgusting and weird, but it's okay. Now we bring out the paint. Black spray paint. I use the plastic adhering because it's what I had and to smooth over any color changes.
 It's not bad, it's got a lot more character now and appears like it's made of cast iron instead of plastic. You can stop here. I thought about it, but I have these orange and dull red spray paints that don't get used as much. So, time to get to rusting.

Orange is the best paint for it. I start at the bottom and spritz at a distance. It takes a few turns of the cauldron. I tried to mix some brown in, but then I ran out. So you can add spritzes of brown if you'd like to deepen the rust.

After that dried, I added flecks of the red. Not too much, it'll overpower if you don't stand way back and only twist with the wrist. If you go too far, you can always go over again with the black to bring her back.
Ta da, ancient rusted cauldron that only took a few things I had sitting around the house. The next plan is to make real looking coals/fire to sit under this guy but I have to wait until stores put out their Halloween lights.

Sigh, how long until labor day?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Free 3D Spiders

While perusing the interwebs to get more Halloween ideas (then cracking out the sand, glue and oatmeal to age my cauldron) I came across something that I thought I could help along a bit.

Courtesy of Lowes (of all things) are some spider frames one can easily make and hang for Halloween. You know, if you're more into subtle halloween than someone who has a 6' reaper standing in her garage.
This is their example and their tutorial, but I got to thinking that what these spiders needed was a bit more life pumped into them. Some shadows would really amp up the scare factor.

So I created these for anyone to print off and scare people with.
Right click and save to print off to your little arachnophilia heart's command.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Scarin' all the crows

Scarecrows are one of two options for me. Either they're cutsey things you find splattered across the walls of birth control denying craft stores, (I get all my cool Halloween craft shit from Michaels, thankyouverymuch) or they're yank your soul out through their cracking eyes and twist inhumanly in the wind.

I decided to make the latter.
This isn't much of a tutorial because I didn't take a lot of step pictures. Sorry.

First off you need a head. I actually made one a few years back and then never got around to the body. I did a step by step process here.
Next up are hands. Again, I used bic pens, a wire hanger, and latex. Which I also documented how to do in my Reaper tutorial.
Okay, to the body. Use 10' of 1" PVC pipe, that was cut down to 5' and then sections for the arms. A few 45˚ joints gave it elbows, then I spray painted it all black to hide the shame of white pvc, and because the costume was actually a kid's one from years back and incredibly short.
After this I just have finished pictures. Sorry. Chicken wire filled the body. Because that's all I know how to do.

In 90˚ heat, curse your deity or force of choice while extra hot glue dribbles onto your fingers as you stuff raffia under the costume of your scarecrow. I did it in fanned out patters under his little burlap poncho I made, as well as the sleeves and under the skirt. The skirt was the absolute worst.

 I used a combo of brown, orange, and black spray paint to age the moss and raffia as well as the fresh burlap and costume. Orange is surprisingly good for rusting things if you're careful, then you add more brown if you're not.

And that's my new scarecrow. I have crazy plans to get some corn stalks and stuff them with lights to give the scarecrow something to guard.

Halloween's coming.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Meet my Meat (or main character)

I’ve been tagged in the Meet my Main Character blog tour by Tony Noland. I assume it's a blog tour because we're always touring other blogs trying to talk people into reading it. READ THE WORDS!
Here are the rules: The taggee must write a post answering the same seven questions about their MC (main character). Then the taggee becomes the tagger and chooses five other authors. 

 1. What is the name of your main character? Is she a fictional or a historical person?
Variel Tuffman, though that's not the name she was born with. Since she lives on a space ship in a universe filled with elves, dwarves, orcs, and various other mythical species, she is clearly a historical person.

2. When and where is the story set?
The when's a bit hard to nail down since it's an entirely different universe, the where is on a space ship. The Elation-Cru was once a cruise ship called the Constellation Cruise but that was one century and many owners ago. She's passed from hand to hand, until a nameless space debris bought her up and dragged the insane onboard computer back to life.



3. What should we know about her?
A deep scar from an orc blade covers her cheek and is about the only telling mark left from her previous life. After abandoning a post as a Knight in the human Crests, she took to life as a low grade mercenary. With a sugar addicted dwarf as a pilot, an elven engineer with anger issues that could scare the hulk, a silent djinn, a mad computer, and a couple high elves that are an assassin and bard, her life's certainly not boring.

I wrote a very short story about her and Orn if you want to read more. 



4. What is the main conflict? What messes up her life?
While on a routine run to drop off a bag of holding for a client her onboard assassin falls into a trap. Against all common sense, she trudges off to rescue him and finds he's run afoul of a fellow ex-Knight. This leads to a mad dash against the galaxy as she tries to piece back together her fractured false life before anyone important notices. When a Crest begins sniffing around asking about the Elation-Cru, the midden hits the exhaust port.


5. What is her personal goal? 
To stay alive. It's rather tricky all things considered.


6. Is there a working title for this novel and can we read more about it?
It's called Dwarves in Space despite there being only one dwarf on the ship. That's just how I roll. Currently it's off in querying hell, but I do have a website set up with more info about the crazy characters on the ship. 

7. When can we expect the book to be published?
 When the mountains wash away into the sea. Or, if querying goes as poorly as I suspect it will, sometime in early 2015.

I believe I shall tag:


  • Monica Marier - She of webcomic and real life word-in-book fame. She's the yang to my fire I just started on accident, I swear.
  • Sue London - Who's a spinner of entertaining and smile cracking historical romances involving haberdashers. They go to 11.
  • Joi - She crafts adorable My Little Pony dolls and writes realistic science fiction. 
  • Kris Silva - who I forced to beat read Dwaves in Space.
  • Mandaray, another twitter friend I forced to read and review my book. 


  • Go forth my minions and kill! Kill!

    Monday, July 14, 2014

    Witch Lanterns

    Need to light an old barn, scarecrow scene, or witch at work? Try this:

    All you need are
    • a mason jar
    • black paint
    • elmers glue
    I took one clear, fresh, crisply a year or so old jar and, with my sea sponge, dabbed black paint on the bottom and then on the inside. I did it in flecks so it'd mimic dirt.

    I also painted some of the black paint in the outside the jar, especially the lip for extra dirt.

    For the cloudy exterior, take elmers glue, dab it onto a paper towel, and rub that over the jar. That really makes the jars look like you dug them out of the back of a rusted and haunted farmhouse.

    Here are the jars with the candles in them prior to me adding the glue.

    Here are the jars after the glue.
    The barely flickering one in the back has an electric tealight in it while the others have real candles. The cheap ones do work, but the glow of course is nowhere near as powerful as an open flame.

    I think I'll string a few on wire and hang them up high while the others I'll put electric tealights in and use to light our steps for Halloween.

    Oh, and thanks to a few smashed fingers and some structural damage to the hair I am now the proud owner of a mannequin. It's insane that I could get a fully standing, human sized prop for $25. Yup.
    We have plans for her. Oh yes we do. Mwhahahahahahahaha!