Tuesday, August 17, 2010

#2 Please Mr. Gravedigger...

So Now we come to a bigger project.
Creating an entire person out of Paper Mache!!!
 This is our cemetery caretaker.

I wanted to make a life sized figure. I had all of these styro-foam skulls sitting around. I had done some dodgy looking last minute witches out of mache the year before. This time I wanted to spend more time and make a detailed prop.

I was looking at a picture of Lon Chaney on my desk....don't we all have
framed pictures of Lon Chaney sitting around?
I wanted him to be a part of my haunt.
As I searched the web for good pictures I was reminded of Disney's Haunted Mansion.

So now I had the Hat box ghost in my head and the caretaker at the mansion mixed up there.

Then I came across a Dead Spiders, Grounds Keeper, and her amazing tutorial!

Her work is amazingly beautiful and detailed.

So there is my guy a mix of Chaney, Disney and Dead Spider.

So this is a large project requiring lots of steps, and layers, and dry time.
I used Dead Spiders techniques mostly, and modified it to the materials I had on hand.

For his head I used one of those cheap styro-foam skulls they sell everywhere around Halloween.

In the DS tut the inside of the mouth was finished and I just loved that
(plus I kind of also wanted to make nasty teeth and a tongue).
That part could be skipped and it would still look cool.

 I serrated him at the jaw bone with an exact-o knife.

Next I hollowed out the eye sockets with the exact-o, to fit the eyes I made. Then did few coats of regular paper-mache. I went right over his teeth because I am making him new ones.

Here are the eyes. I made these of polymer clay and hand painted them.
But I found an even better idea that I will post it later. It's called easy eyes it's so simple!

When he was dry, glued the eyes in.

I kept bulding his face up with paper-mache pulp and started adding new teeth.
 Building a face is a drawn out process pulp takes a long time to dry between coats.

You have to be carful only to do a little at a time.

The teeth are made of Creative Paper Clay. I also used this to build his lips and eyelids.

I painted inside his mouth top and bottom before reattaching everything

He got a paper-mache tongue, and a coat of glossy varnish on all the parts that need to look wet...gross!

After I reattached the jaw with glue... still more layers of the mache and pulp.
I used more of the Paper Clay to build the features up including his nose and brow.

I decided to get his PVC frame going here. I used a heat gun to warp it and give him movement.

Lots of layers again. I forgot to get a few pics here. His torso, I made chicken wire frame and covered it. I used old pool noodles for his arms and legs then lots and lots more mache.

Here is how I kept him standing. Cement in shoe frames.
I made them using old coke boxes, duct tape, plastic bags, and Jim's shoes as templates

So now that he had a body... I was able to tie the head neck and body together.
 I built his head up more... his brow, his jaw


I spent some time here as well giving him wrinkles, jowls etc. Oh and he got a some ears.

And nice coat of Dry-Lock masonry sealant he awaited the rest of his body.

I am going to post a more detail hand How-To but here is the short version.

I traced my husbands hand and marked all the joints on the paper.
This hand is a PVC Pipe with coat hanger wires.
I cut them to match the finger length in the drawing.
I cut straws at all the joints. Anyway better tutorial later

I started the long mache/pulp process again......build! build! build!

The white is just a different kind of pulp.

So any way his arms attach at the elbow with elbow joints (how appropriate). His cloths are good will finds all for $10. His shovel is ours and his lantern I bought on clearance the previous year at Spirit.

 Oh yeah, I forgot his hair and paint!
 His skin color was some grayish taupe exterior paint I found on the oops! shelf at Lowe's. 
And his hair is from an old cheap wig. I just glued it on.

Below are some images of his 2011 makeover.
He got some new long hair and a pair of gloves, for all that digging he's been doing.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. exquisitely gross!Where did you get all that morbid talent? Phantom Mom Cocoa,Fl