Monday, February 9, 2009

Smilin' Jack Pt. 1

Hello all! Jayson here. I'm going to talk about our 10'ft tall Monster Mud / Paper Mache creature named Smilin' Jack.

Rotten Gourd

Jack was heavily influenced by Pumpkinrot, Stolloween, and Ghostess Deanna.

He was the result of a happy accident while I was making a paper mache pumpkin. I originally wanted a pumpkin with a thin, wide, and evil grin like the ones done by Pumpkinrot and Ghostess Deanna. I was following Stolloween's technique to build the pumpkin out of layers of paper mache, which is later followed by building up the details with paper mache clay. Well, I got a little impatient and started applying the clay before I had enough layers of paper to support the clay. The clay soaked through the paper and completely crushed the lower jaw of the pumpkin. I was very upset at the time, as this was my second failed attempt at working with paper mache. If it wasn't for my loving wife giving me encouragement, I would have scrapped the whole thing and gone back to just building fence panels and other less "artistic" endeavours.

I decided to rip the bottom jaw off of the pumpking and try something new.

Halloween2 012 I started by building a frame out of coat hangers to create a new jaw. The frame was basically a tripod that was hot glued to the inside of the pumpkin. I then took cardboard from a 12-pack of Pepsi and used it to form a skin around the frame.

Halloween2 013 Halloween2 015 Halloween2 020 Halloween2 021

Yes, that's Duct Tape. Greatest invention ever made!

Once I had the basic shape I was looking for, I started adding several layers of paper mache paper. No rush job this time. I applied about 5 layers and let them dry overnight. (Lots of shop and box fans help) Once the layers were dry, I started adding the paper mache clay. Once this dried, the pumpkin was very strong and no longer needed the wire frame. I cut the center wire and pulled this piece out, but left the two side pieces since they were now encased in clay. I then applied more clay to the inside to make it look like one continuous piece.

Once everything was dry, I painted the entire pumpkin solid black. I then went back and drybrushed with white paint. No pictures for this part, but it looks just like Penelope. Now, you grab your favorite shade of "pumpkin" paint,(We mixed a little orange, yellow, red, and brown to get the shade we wanted) and start dry brushing the pumpkin again with this new color. You end up with a very nice textured paint job at the end. Practice makes perfect on this part, but it's really not that hard to get the hang of.


Ok, now I have a pumpkin, but what do I do with it? It is shaped wrong to sit up on it's own like the other pumpkins. It can only lay on it's side like a lazy good for nothing as seen in one of the pictures above. (The other pumpkin up there is Clarence by the way. You might see him pop up in a few places here and there. He's the dimwitted brother of Jack that was my very first attempt at building a pumpkin)

What to do with the pumpkin? How about build a body for him and allow him to stand guard over the rest of the haunt? I'll show how I did that on my next post.

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