Boris Pre-paint


The Boris troll is now completely built and waiting to be painted this coming weekend. The assembly proceeded according to plan and there were no real surprises other than the amount of time it took to complete the texturing process.

The assembly started by attaching the body to the feet. Four 1”x3” pieces of lumber were bolted the short pieces of lumber that had been built into the feet design. The four pieces were secured to the inner structure of the papier mache body then the cardboard chambers were filled with recycled water bottles and expanding foam.


The feet were further refined by adding cardboard strips creating a natural looking connection between each foot and the body.


Next the top of the body was cut to allow a proper fit for the head. Before the head was attached the hands were mounted onto the body using a combination of screws, hot glue and wire. After the hands were in place the head was positioned then all of the connection points were covered with multiple layers of papier mache strips.


A tattered cape was added by coating pieces of distressed burlap coated in a combination of joint compound and latex paint (Monster Mud).  Ignore the color of the cape in the photos because it is the result of the recycled paint used to make the Monster Mud.  After the cape had dried (hardened) the hair was extended off the back, flowing over the cape.

The final step was to apply different textures to the entire sculpture. Texture is very important for this project because the painting technique that will be used is dry brushing. Early on I had decided that I wanted a lizard or elephant-like hide and this could be accomplished by pressing loose weave burlap into the partially dry clay.

Because the troll is so large I didn’t want the same small texture to be used on the entire body so I created three different sized “weaves” that could be used on different parts of his body. The smallest texture was used on the nose and eyelids, the medium size was used on the head, ears and arms and finally a large scale weave was used on his body and feet.


The hair and fingernail texture was achieved by running the tongs of a plastic fork through the wet clay. The cape retained the natural burlap texture and each fray will pop when the paint is applied.


The wrench and bolts received no special texture other than the imprint lettering, again the dry brushing technique will make the lettering stand out as the words will be black against a rust colored surface.

Before the painting begins I need to scrap and sand the base, drill some holes so that the piece can be mounted to a concrete base and do a little tough up sanding to remove any burrs or other unwanted imperfections.


Boris Update

A quick update on my troll for the 2011 Midland Downtown Sculpture Series, each individual element for Boris is complete and the next step is assembling all the pieces and filling the interior spaces with expandable foam.


At this point the basic shape is roughed out but there is still a lot of work to do adding finishing details and textures. Boris still needs warts, hair, arms, burlap cape and the final skin texture.


Note that in the photos the head is just sitting on top of the body structure, when it is actually assembled it will sort of be sunk into the top of the body, lowered about 10 inches and positioned looking more straight forward versus looking up.


Currently his progress is dependent on the weather because he needs to be completed in our garage as he is too large to get through the doorway of our house.  Lately the weather has been a little too cold (and wet) for me to comfortably work in the garage, hopefully this next week temperatures will start to warm up into the mid 60’s.


Overall he is shaping up according to plan and I’m really looking forward to seeing him complete and take his place downtown Midland.


Meet Boris

Boris is a troll designed for the 2011 Downtown Midland Summer Sculpture Series.


The committee meets next week to select a number of trolls that will be displayed in our downtown area throughout the summer.


Boris will be created from several papier mache techniques and sealed with an industrial clear coat.


Boris will stand approximately 4 feet tall and be 3 feet wide and deep.

The rendering is a 1/6 scale clay sculpture based on some rough concept sketches, the clay miniature will be used to obtain proper measurements and proportions for the full scale papier mache version.

Listen Up!

Happy New Year!


Welcome to the year 2011 and time to get busy making your new arsenal of ghoulish creations.


If you are like me and live in a colder climate you may find it hard to find the motivation to work on Halloween props when temperatures hover below the freezing point and the snow shovel becomes your best friend.

Don’t give up, there are a number of ways to get your mojo back and one of the easiest and most effective is to listen to an episode of Hauntcast.


What is Hauntcast?




Hauntcast is a monthly radio podcast brought to you by Chris Baker and his band of merry minions. Imagine a show that gives you a ton of great haunting information all wrapped up in an abundance of gooey R rated humor.


Each month Hauntcast features information on movies, concepts, props and advice that specifically relate to the home haunter. In addition they feature an in-depth interview with well known haunters. Trust me when I say you will learn something from every show and be motivated to boot.


Hauntcast recently moved to a pay per listen format with each episode costing one buck per show and I have to say that one dollar for two hours of information is a bargain no matter how you look at it. Heck you could buy four shows for the cost of one venti double shot mocha at Starbucks.


If you are a fan of Hauntcast please support the pay per listen format and if you’ve never checked it out then give it a taste.


Hauntcast is a great benefit to the home haunting community and supporting the hard work will help keep it around for many haunting seasons to come.


P.S. If you dig through the archives and go way back to episode #4 you can listen to an episode featuring yours truly…quivering voice and all.



First Look 2010

The big day is almost here and I wish you all a safe and happy Halloween!


In addition I offer a huge THANK YOU to everyone that has followed my website, blog and Facebook page…I appreciate all the great feedback and thank all of you for sharing your stories, photos and creative ideas, your encouragement has really helped me keep the pace and produce our display for 2010.


Here are a few photos of the initial set-up, there is still a large amount of work to do tomorrow but overall I’m pleased with this year’s effort….more photos to come after the Halloween.


Be safe and have fun!

Frequently Asked Questions


October is prop building season and with that comes a lot of email and questions.

Thank you for all the nice comments and questions, I do my best to respond to everybody but during the next couple of weeks my schedule is very hectic and chances are I won’t be answering emails.

I love questions and if you have a unique question it will probably be answered on my other blog called Scotty Art.

Take a moment to browse that site and see if the question has already been asked.

Frequently asked questions include:

“How do you make paste?”

“How do you make clay?”

“How do you weatherproof or waterproof?”

“How do you make templates?”

The answers to all of these questions are supplied in The Basics section on this site which goes into detail about my paste and clay recipes, weatherproofing and making templates, please read the information because chances are your question has already been answered.

The Wardens

Completed three new character heads built for this year’s display, the creatures are called “Wardens” and are the result of possessed pumpkins evolving into something sinister, something evil, something big.


My display really needed something creepy to balance the goofy props I’ve been building lately so the pumpkins got some Wardens.


The bodies are still in the construction phase and should be complete by the end of next week.


Fingers crossed.

The Life of Charlie: Day 89

This is the final post of “The Life of Charlie”, the experiment where I put one of my sealed papier mache pumpkins outside to withstand the elements and see how it goes.


The good news is that Charlie survived without a trace of damage due to moisture, this information should give you a little confidence when displaying your hard work outside.


Charlie is still outside, but now he has a little bit of company as he joins 22 other pumpkins for a pre-Halloween display on our front porch.


He’s happy to have some company and even happier that a good coat of Spar Urethane kept him safe and sound.


Thanks Charlie and have a great Halloween!

Five More

Finally painted five pumpkins that were created for a Great Lakes FrightFest demonstration last spring, these pumpkins were painted with an airbrush, sealed, then washed with black paint.

The final coat of black paint was wiped from the surface with a damp cloth leaving only traces of the paint in recessed areas.

The coat of sealant protected the paint applied by the airbrush.

The resulting pumpkins are a little brighter but still have a lot of visible texture due to the addition of the black paint.