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Making Heavenly Souls

on October 22, 2013 - 3:42pm

I'm still adding finishing touches to the these souls, but so far I like how these simple props are turning out. 

They still need proper lighting and a bit more cheesecloth, but overall I've achieved the effect I wanted with little cost.

I only had $30 to soend on this year's projects. It's a drop in the bucket compared to past years. Luckily I had picked up the paper mache masks on clearance last November. All I needed to buy was the cheesecloth. 

5 packages of 15 ft lengths of cheesecloth. 

Budget spent.

Everything else I had around the house including:

  • paint
  • wire
  • paper towels
  • paper towel tubes
  • tape
  • black tissue paper
  • glue & glue gun
  • invisible thread
  • those packing pillows of air. I have no idea what they are officially called. It's literally a square of air. 

These would look nicer with more cheesecloth, but I think I did ok. Besides, these are not 'really ghosts, they are souls in my mind. For some reason I don't think souls have arms even in a physical manifestation, and that saved on material.

I've taken a few pictures of the process I made up as I went along. Are there better ways to build them? I am sure there are, but this worked for me and my limited resources. Let's jump into the quick how-to.

I took the paper masks I'd painted previously, flipped them face-down, and dabbed glue around the openings. 

I took a folded piece of black tissue paper, lay it over the back of the mask, and gently pressed it into the contours around the holes in the face.

I then took some wire and cut a single long length (I would guess about 2 feet). I shaped one end of the wire into a circle, wrapping the wire back over itself on one side (to make it stronger as this would be the back of the head) and leaving an inch or so at the end to poke through the top of the mask.

I taped those circles (so the non-reinforced side was against the tissue paper) to the mask length-wise.

I popped an air pocket thing-a-ma-jig into the circle, then taped it into place. This saved me from spending time wrangling plastic bags or other fillers.

I made holes in the paper towel tubes (tubes from tinfoil rolls work even better) - one in the center, and then one on either side about 2 to 3 inches from the center hole. The holes went straight through and punctured the opposite side. 

I pulled the wire (attached to my mask balloon creatures) through the center hole, wrapped it up and around itself, the through the bottom of the hole on the left, back up around the wire in the center near the chin, and back down through the hole on the right. Basically, I created a triangle that would flesh out the neck and also provide me with a bendable yet sturdy joint.

I grabbed my paper towels, counted out a line of 8 and detached them from the roll. I folded the long train of towels in half and started wrapping it around the tube and the neck, dabbing hot glue now and then.

I used two more to sloppily cover the back of the head, dabbing hot glue inside the back edge of the mask to hide my wire and air pockets.

I then tore a sheet diagonally (creating a triangle) and tore the edges. That got hot glued into place as well with the long edge of the triangle along the tube, and the single point turned down in the middle. 

Remember that little loop of wire I used to attach the armature to the mask? It's the perfect spot to run invisible thread/fishing line through. Then run it through the cheesecloth leaving enough material to create a little brim like a hood on the forehead.

I found it easier to dress my figures once they were hung. I simply kept pulling up the edge (not the end, but the edge) of the cheesecloth and hooked it over a shoulder. You want a layered look. The more crisscrossing layers, the better it looks. 

Some souls I hung on existing nails and hooks on the wall. I ran wire through the cheesecloth and around the wire frame beneath.

I have a little bit extra cheesecloth that I can spread out among a few souls. Really I could have used double the amount I had. Ah well. 

5 packages (cut in half) dressed 9 souls.

Will share more pictures when I get them finished and lit properly. 

Next project is the souls from Hell. 



Bonnie (aka RoxyBlue)'s picture

I think they're quite charming and you can't beat the price.

Oh, and those pocket pillows of air? I've heard them referred to as "bargain breast implants":)

halloween spirit's picture

I love it when I can create props with stuff I already have around the house.

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