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Crows in the Corners

on October 25, 2011 - 2:41pm

Martha Stewart has good ideas. 

Sometimes they just need some tweaking.

Here's my take on a cool way to display those feathery fiends you've collected for Halloween.

Who Says Plastic Doesn't Have Panache?

on October 6, 2011 - 11:16am

Mirror, Mirror on the wall. Who's the ghoulish of them all?

Wait. Don't answer that. Let me pretend it is I.

Here is the first makeover mystery item from buycostumes.com.

In this post I'll show you how to add simple detailing anyone can do. I'll then continue with uncomplicated dressing ideas, and eventually (as it isn't dark in my part of the world right now) I'll share with you how this style can be dramatically altered using lighting.

I have a store-bought mirror that reflects images upside down.

The frame and "glass" are made of plastic (issue number 1 I'll be focusing on).

The size is 14" H x 21" W which is pretty decent. Placed in a hallway or a nook of the room, it would work well as a focal point. But if you want to display it on a large wall, it suddenly looks smaller than it is (issue number 2 I'll be focusing on).

Plus, the mirror itself has a curved back (in order to create the upside down effect). The dressing approach I use will camouflage that as well.

Let's begin with adding depth and texture with acrylics.

Using PVC for Candle Projects

on September 16, 2011 - 7:17am


Last September I hosted a make & take where Hector of Blackstone Cemetery showed us his tricks for making PVC candles.

While it's possible to make candles using paper towel rolls or cans, you may want something sturdier. PVC pipe is a good choice (assuming you have the tools to cut up the pipe).

He showed us his different methods of creating a shelf inside the PVC pipes where the LED candle lights would sit. The first option was using expanding foam (see the image below, far right). Basically, you fill it up, let it dry and slice off the overflow so it's flush with the edge of the PVC pipe. Then you need to cut out a circle in the middle to drop the candle light in. There are various drill attachments you can use to do so, or you're faced with the task of doing it by hand.

The second method (favoured by Hector over the first method) is using simple pipe insulation.

Sugar and Spice, and Everything Vice

on July 19, 2011 - 10:04am

snake in a jar
To round out my jar project, here are some specimen (or ingredient) jars.

I haven't finished putting them all together, but you get a sense of where I'm going with this.

How are they made? Simple. I coated the inside with watered down white glue and let them dry. Then the fun part begins: figuring out what I have around the house that could be creepy ingredients.

The cool thing about the glue-haze is it allows me to use items I might shy away from normally, because the grimy-screen blots out the details of the item inside. For example, the tiny rubber snake (pictured right) would not strike fear in a four-year old, but placed in the jar, and carefully glued into place with a little epoxy at certain angles, it suddenly looks a little more plausible that my critter is alive.

Jar Lanterns

on July 16, 2011 - 5:37pm

The second project with the jars was to make simple lanterns (or candle holders, if you prefer). Pictures and a quick how-to below.

Sundays Are For Candle Making

on July 11, 2011 - 9:34am

I spent most of my hot and humid Sunday hidden away in my office, trying to forget the heat outside. The best way I know to do that is to make things for Halloween.

A total of 19 candle stubs are ready for their part in my jar project. They are made with hot glue, acrylic paint, toilet paper rolls, and LED candles.

If you're waiting to see the final product of the jars, it'll be posted soon (not quite done). If you'd like to learn more about how I made these, I've included some pictures and basic instructions below.

A Fine Specimen

on July 10, 2011 - 9:02am


Generally speaking, I don't do a lot of gore in my Halloween themes. This year, I need a bit of it for the story I'm going to tell. This was project one of the glass jars (the other plans are much less gross).

What I did was take a few of the jars from yesterday that had been glazed with watery glue. I mixed red and brown paints, watered them down, and mixed them with a touch of glue as well. I poured it into the bottom of the jars and swirled them around.

Then, I dipped my paint brush into the paint mix and splattered it on the insides of the jar.

I took my organs - 2 hearts, a nose, a brain, an ear, lips, fingers, eyeballs, tongue - and painted them as well to give them a more realistic aged look before placing them in the jars.

50 Empty Jars

on July 9, 2011 - 10:58am

I have slowly been collecting jars and bottles over the last year or so. Hoarding them away one at a time, I've hidden them in drawers, piled them into boxes, and even rolled them underneath furniture.

Last night, having realized I didn't have the materials I needed to continue working on pieces for upcoming shows, I decided to round up all the bottles and jars from their spots around the house. I've been saving them for a Halloween idea.

Imagine my surprise and delight when the tally hit 50. What, you can't imagine it? Well, perhaps it would help to know it takes a shockingly long time to polish off a jar of relish or honey, or to use up the last of the oyster sauce on the weekend stir-fry.

The jars will have various purposes, but all of them needed to have that hazy look. Kind of ironic since I spent so much time soaking and scrubbing them to make sure they were clean (I like fake mold in my work, thank you).

As I was getting ready to start hazing them, I was reminded of elementary school when we made stained-glass lanterns by covering the outside of the jars with pieces of tissue paper and coating them with white glue. Anyone else do this? It's actually a neat final effect.

All I did to give them a grimy coat was pour about a 1/8 to 1/4 cup water into the bottom of the jar, added a squeeze of glue, stirred, and then rolled the jars to coat the sides. Then I poured the glue mix from one jar to another, turning each one.

I have three different plans for the jars at this time. We'll see if it comes to fruition.