Monday, June 16, 2014

Make your wraith tutorial

I have a certain gothic aesthetic that has little to do with pale skin and gobs of eyeliner. It's more brooding gargoyles, stripped skeletons and a multi-hued palette from black to white. This means for Halloween I skip past a lot of the blood, guts, and clowns companies put out and create my own.
This guy cost maybe $20 to make total. All you need is
  • Skeleton hands/groundbreaking hands. I have a pile from after halloween sales. I'm always using them.
  • Two sections of PVC pipe
  • Spray starch, the heavy kind. You can get it at the dollar store.
  • 8 sq feet of cheesecloth. I had to buy two packages of 4 sq.
  • A balloon
  • A garden stake
  • Black spray paint.
To start, I attached the hands through the four square joint I got. In retrospect, I probably should have made a slightly larger frame with longer arms to make up for the giant hands but I was afraid it wouldn't support the weight. Well, there's always next time.

The joint has four openings and is 1/2 inch. I needed something to easily take in the hands that I secured with hot glue but not too large. I also added another pipe to create a neck. Just jam some sections together in the hardware store until it all fits.
The reason I wanted the neck and the four joint pipe was to give a longer structure for the stake to go up. This also means you have to plug up the hole on the top. I just stuck in a wad of foam, which this house is full of, and hot glued it in.
I also covered the hands in their tin foil mittens to prepare for what's coming next.
Since I want a black wraith, I knew that having white pipe and white fabric on the arms would be a problem so I spray painted that all black. You need the fusion stuff for the PVC pipe, but if you're a home haunter you already have it.

Once that's dry, blow up the balloon a little under the size of the cowl you want. Anchor it to the neck with scotch tape. Make sure to really anchor the back and front as adding the cheesecloth will cause it to droop/list.

I also made some tin foil folds and taped those on top of the balloon to really give that cowl shape.
Shove it all onto your stake in the yard and now it's time for cheeseclothing.

There are a billion different ways to go about hardening cheesecloth from wood glue and water to your own cornstarch. What I liked about the spray stuff is that I had a good control. If something wasn't still enough I could go back over it and spray it again. And you will, over and over. At least three or four heavy sprayings to get it done.

This is the creative and exhausting part where you cut up pieces of cloth, drape it over the frame and spray it. Then repeat until you have something you like.
I used clothespins to bind the cowl part and to create sleeves. Now to ignore it in the hot summer sun for a few hours while it hardens.

If you wanted a white ghost your work is almost done, but if you wanted black it's time to crack open the spray paint.

I worked the outer edges, especially hardening the cowl. I needed that dry and crusty before the last step.

Once you trust the structural support of the head, it's time. Pop the balloon. It will deflate some but it's no problem. Just pop the head back into place and hose down the inside with black spray paint.

You should wind up with something like this.

And that's how to make a cheesecloth wraith. Glowing eyes and ability to only be killed by silver or magical weapons is optional.

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