Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sword of Blight ( or me just playing around with rust…again)

After my last post about creating a rust look, I got some really good tips. So, I needed to test them out again.

I didn’t have anything handy that I wanted to look rusted, so I needed to make something. Hmm….we have a graveyard, and everything is old, undead, moldy, and decaying but not dangerous. I need to punch up the danger factor in the yard, so it’s time to arm the yard!

Months ago I took a scrap piece of wood and sanded it down to look like a sword blade. I was just playing around to see what I could do with the piece. I never planned it out or did anything else with the blade. It’s actually a little too short to look like a real sword. I also never threw it away. It’s been floating around the garage since last summer.

Well, I had some new rust techniques I needed to test out, and I didn’t want to use another boring piece of PVC pipe. So, I had a purpose for the wee little hobbit blade now.


I needed a hilt and crosspiece for the blade, so I took a piece of 1” PVC pipe and cut a slit down the middle of the pipe using a hacksaw. Be CAREFULL and go slow if you decide to do this like I did. (NOT advised). What I should have done is place the pipe in a bench vise and cut the piece. What I ACTUALLY did was hold the piece with one hand while cutting with the other. Not smart or safe. Outside I was all cool and businesslike (cause you know, that’s what’s really important, looking cool), inside I was saying, “NOT SMART! NOT SMART!” over and over. (See?!? That’s not cool on the outside.) (Yes…men are stupid, but you love us anyway!)

I think I just demonstrated the classic instance of a dumbass. I knew what I did was wrong, but I did it anyway.


Next I pried the two slit pieces of PVC apart and slid the wooden blade into the slit. Then I took the miraculous wonderment of all haunters, crafters, DIYers, and NASCAR called Gorilla Tape, and locked the blade to the pipe.

Now I needed a crosspiece. I took a small piece of blue foam insulation and cut it down to size. Cut a whole in the center of the foam, slid the foam down the wooden blade, and promptly broke it in half trying to force it over the tape.

SOoooo, I take ANOTHER piece of foam (Pink this time) and make a bigger piece with a bigger hole. This was hot glued to the PVC pipe and blade. I also used the hot glue to fill in the gap between the blade and the crosspiece’s hole. Things are looking better. Except, the crosspiece is shaped wrong and pink. I took a wood rasp to the foam to rough it up and shape it a little. Shape is decent now. Color is still pink.

So, now I put down a basecoat of brown latex paint on the crosspiece, and spray painted the wooden blade silver.

The hilt is still stark white PVC. So, I wrap the entire pipe with the black Gorilla Tape. It gives it a wrapped leather look from a distance. It looks like tape up close. Don’t get up close. smile_wink  I’ll go over the tape later with some brown and black washes to make it look more like leather. It will do for now.

Finally, it’s time to start rusting this thing up. I now have Pre-Mixed Concrete Patch and Oatmeal, as suggested by Dave the Dead and others.

The concrete patch is very nice! I spread it on the prop like peanut butter on bread. Then, I took a cotton swab and started dabbing at the patch to give it a rough texture. Next, I threw the obligatory sand into the mix and added a little oatmeal here and there. I used the cotton swab to press the oatmeal in a little deeper. I only waited a little over an hour for the concrete patch to dry, before I started painting on the rust colors. In hindsight, not a good idea. I learn a lot from hindsight. Not so much by foresight. That’s Dixie’s department.

The finish turned out ok in the long run, but it took longer to dry and every little bump would cause the concrete patch to smear and show from under the paint. I also put some of the patch on a PVC pipe and let it dry for 24hrs. I had no problems with that piece at all. There’s that damn hindsight again.

I still have to try out the Great Stuff technique that Chris Davis mentioned in my earlier post. That’s a two person job, but Dixie is leaving me for a week for Vegas. Looks like I will have to postpone this for a bit. Unless someone wants to come over and help this weekend?

By the way, I posted a How-To on this same topic over on hauntforum_logo_2 after I was asked how it was done. If anyone has some input, chime in on the forum. Here is the link to the post:


Seriously, I could use some help this weekend. The grass doesn’t mow itself you know!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Corrosion Explosion

I got to experimenting with a few techniques for the old rusty nail, guaranteed tetanus shot look in the garage this weekend. I wanted the props to look more realistic during the daylight, and the black PVC fence was just looking too “tidy” for my taste.

I have this:

And I want this:






So, I dug out some left over plastic finials and started my quest for metal decay!



I’m not going to drag you step by step through the errors I made trying to get this to work. Dixie put up with enough abuse to cover everyone. I’ll spare you guys from the ordeal and skip to the end.


After 3 hours I finally ended up with the fine piece of tetanus on the right:


It doesn’t really take 3hrs to accomplish the look, it just takes me 3hrs of playing around and repainting to figure out what works.

Ok, this is what you’ll need:

  • Orange latex paint
  • Small sea sponge
  • Wood glue
  • 50/50 mixture of dark brown latex paint and water in spray bottle
  • Mahogany wood stain
  • Sand

And this is what you do:

  1. Coat the item liberally with wood glue.
  2. Throw sand onto the item ensuring it sticks to the glue. This will give you the grungy texture we are looking for on the prop.
  3. Let this dry.
  4. Take the sea sponge and randomly dab the orange latex paint over the item.
  5. Spray or drip the 50/50 brown paint mix over the item while the orange paint is still wet.
  6. Allow the two paints to run and mix.
  7. Oh, this gets kind of messy so I hope you read ahead and haven’t just ruined your kitchen table!
  8. Now, drip some of the Mahogany wood stain onto the prop to dirty up the look.
  9. Set aside and let dry.
  10. That’s it!

I’m not sure how well this will hold up outside in the elements, so you might want to seal this with a urethane to be safe.

I’ve read of other people using concrete patch to create their texture, so I ran out last night and bought a small tub of ready mix concrete patch for about $8 at Home Depot. I’ve applied it to a PVC pipe and rolled the pipe in sand but it takes 24 hours to cure, so I’ll update this post later with the progress.

I would love to hear how everyone else dirties up their props. The more techniques I can pick up the better, so chime in and let me know what you do with your haunt.

Now, back to the garage! I have to get columns and a Facade/Mausoleum designed and started.


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