STOLLOWEEN How To: Gourdon Rotsworth

How To: Gourdon Rotsworth


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Congratulations go out to Scott Alan Dimmick, the winner of the “Build Me A Pumpkin” contest on the STOLLOWEEN Facebook page.


Scott’s name was randomly drawn from over 90 entries scoring him a custom built pumpkin of his liking. Scott’s concept was a “ground breaking, undead pumpkin, pushing itself out of the ground with its rotting vine arms.


This tutorial is actually a collection of updates posted on Facebook, they do a good job of showing each step and the dates show the timeframe of the process.




August 10th, 2010


Work has begun on the undead pumpkin including the first layers of strip mache and some concept sketches rendered in Photoshop to help guide me in the building process.


The illustrations are for reference only as during the construction more elaborate details will be added specifically the gnarly vines on the arms.


Building a prop for another Halloween enthusiast is sort of cool and you can check out Scott’s love for the holiday on his website called The Never Moor.




Here are some photos of the “Undead” pumpkin during the construction phase.


The design was drawn onto the papier mache shell then the eyes were cut out.


Lately I’ve been leaving the stuffing (newspaper or in this case polyfill) inside the pumpkin until all the work is completed, this prevents any sagging or collapse issues.


Recycled cardboard was used to make the facial armature then covered with additional papier mache strips.


Teeth made from homemade papier clay were added then additional clay was used to define the facial features.


I’m pretty happy with the progress although there is still considerable work to be done on the pumpkin and the body still needs to be created.


August 26th, 2010


So what does an undead pumpkin chest look like?


In this case it looks something like this.


The chest and collar bones were made from recycled cardboard and rolled up newspaper tubes built onto a 1 ½ inch piece of PVC.


The method to display this piece is deceptively simple.


The PVC with the chest is slid over a small fence stake that has been sunk into the ground.


The pumpkin head simply sits on top allowing it to be posed however you like and the arms and hands (claws) will be “hinged” together, again allowing the creature to be displayed in a variety of ways.


Another great thing about using a fence stake is that it can be pushed into the ground on an angle making the undead pumpkin seem to lunge forward.


Simple and effective.


August 30th, 2010


All the pieces of the undead pumpkin are now completed and drying.


The pumpkin dude consists of eight pieces that when joined together can be posed in a variety of positions.


Thin strips of newspaper were rolled into vines and papier mached to the arms and chest but in order to make the whole piece cohesive bundles of twine coated with latex paint will be wrapped around the arms and hands to hide gaps.


The hands or claws were created by using rolled up newspaper tubes for the fingers and balls of crumpled newspaper for the knuckles.


The fingernails were made from recycled plastic milk jugs.


The vines will be painted to match the color scheme of the pumpkin which will be muted oranges, greens and browns.


August 31st, 2010


All the pieces were painted with exterior black latex paint then dry brushed with white latex primer to bring out the texture and details.


Color was added by washing the pieces with diluted acrylic paints then removing the excess paint with a sponge…the process tints the white primer.


The bundles of twine were also colored using this process.


Spar Urethane was used to seal and protect the entire piece, then clear flat enamel was sprayed over the Spar Urethane to knock down the shine.


Finally an eyeball was created for the pumpkin using a plastic Easter egg that was spray painted white.


The pupil was made in Photoshop and applied using a glossy varnish, the veins in the eyes are actually pieces of black thread that were attached also using varnish as the adhesive.