STOLLOWEEN How To: Son Of Buster

How To: Son Of Buster


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My entry for the HauntForum $20 Prop Challenge is a companion piece to my 2010 entry titled “Buster Gravesley.”


Buster Gravesley had a son named Buster.  Buster’s son was a gnarly surfer dude head banging sort of guy, always on the look out for the perfect wave. Unfortunately Buster Jr. met his end in the jaws of a Great White Shark and joined his father in the afterlife where he still raises Hell every chance he gets and never misses an opportunity to break free from the confines of his rotting grave. Like father, like son …. Meet Son of Buster.


The Son of Buster Prop was built almost entirely from recycled materials and papier mache. The prop features a mechanism which allows it to be manually operated. When operated the tombstone cracks in half revealing the Son of Buster creature lurking behind the tombstone. This piece had to be created for under $20 dollars so the hardware choices were economical, if you plan on building this I would suggest using additional material resulting in a sturdier prop (such as larger hinges, etc.). Son of Buster took approximately 30 hours to create over the course of a month. This was a fun build and there was a fair amount of experimentation and new techniques in regards to creating the head and the hands. The final prop stands about 3 ½ feet tall and is 2 feet wide.


The following is documentation of the build process:




The tombstone was made from recycled corrugated cardboard. The basic shapes were made by hot gluing the pieces of cardboard together and covering with newspaper strips coated papier mache paste (flour, water and glue). Once the pieces had dried a ¼ inch layer of homemade papier clay was added to the face of the tombstone and the letters spelling “Buster” were cut from corrugated cardboard and pressed into the wet clay creating the engraving effect.










The look of Son of Buster was based on a very loose concept sketch. The creation of the head for this project was experimental. The basic shape was cut from a piece of corrugated cardboard then warped by rolling the cardboard around a piece of PVC. The curved two dimensional skull was covered with strip papier mache then placed on top of a plastic bowel and allowed to dry. Once the papier mache was dry additional pieces of cardboard were attached to give the skull dimension and shape. The eyes were made from balls of newspaper and the teeth were individually formed with homemade papier clay, allowed to dry then hot glued to the form.


The hair was made from pieces of twine.










A small neck and ribcage were constructed from corrugated cardboard and tubes made from recycled newspaper. A small amount of homemade papier clay was used to add dimension and texture.






The hands were made from tubes of rolled newspaper covered with strip mach and allowed to dry. The tubes were then cut into appropriate finger lengths and hot glued together in the proper pose. Strips of recycled food packaging cardboard formed into rings were used to act as the joints and allowed the finger sections to be connected. Homemade papier clay was used to cement all the sections together and create the knuckles. Once each finger was made and dry the pieces were hot glued onto a piece of corrugated cardboard to form the hand shape. The finished hands were then attached to the tombstone prop.









Two upper and two lower arm bones were made by rolling newspaper into the proper size. The finished prop only utilized two of the arm bones.




The individual pieces were attached to a base made from scrap plywood and boards. Basically the prop operates by pushing down on a lever which raises each half of the tombstone revealing the creature. Each half of the tombstone was hot glued to a piece of 1 foot by 6 inch plywood that is attached to the base with 2 inch hinges. The hinged tombstone sections are connected to the front of the lever with pieces of wire so that then the back of the lever is pushed down the front raises the hinged tombstone sections about six inches. The creature is mounted on a 1”x2” piece of board that is attached to the lever fulcrum. Black fabric was draped over the creature’s torso and arms to hide the lever system. Simple, easy and cheap.




Free Items:


Corrugated Cardboard and Food Packaging Cardboard (Cereal Boxes)

Plastic Milk Jugs


Non-Free Items:

10 lbs of flour at $1.98 per  5lb pounds = $3.96

24 Hot Glue Sticks at .10 cents each = $2.40

4 feet duct tape 55 yards for $4.97= .12

50 feet Bailer Twine at 300 ft for $2.28 =$.38

1/20th  (approximation) Bag Cellulose Fiber Insulation at $6.48 per bag =$.32

1 oz Avocado Acrylic Paint (dry brushing) 4oz for $1.00 = $.25

1 oz Fire Engine Red Acrylic Paint (dry brushing) 4oz for $1.00 = $.25

1 oz Yellow Acrylic Paint (dry brushing) 4oz for $1.00 = $.25

1 Cup Black Latex (base coat, diluted with water) 1 gallon at $15.00 per gallon=$.94

½ cup White Latex Primer (dry brushing) 1 gallon at $12.00 per gallon = $.38

4 Craft Sticks 100 for $1.00 = $.04

2 lbs Joint Compound Recycled Drywall Screws at 63lbs for $10.65 = $.39

7.22 sq. ft Recycled Plywood at .20 per sq. foot = $1.40

22 Recycled  Drywall Screws  new50 @$2.77 x .3 = $.37

10 Office Staples 1000 for $1.00+.01

1 Cup White Glue 1 gallon for $12.00 = $.75

2 Recycled 2” Hinges at $2.05 x .3 =$.62

2 -L-Brackets at $1.18 new x.3 =$.70

Black Fabric approx 1sq. yard from Salvation Army Thirft Store=$.75

24 inches 2×4 scrap lumber at .08 per foot =$1.90

81 inches 1×2 scrap lumber at .03 per foot =$2.40

1 recycled bolt $1.13 new x .3 = .34

¼ roll of masking tape at $.50 = $.13

2 sheets of paper towel at 200 sheets for $1.00 = $.01

2 feet of string at 100 feet for $1.00 = $.02

1 foot of rebar wire for 300 feet for $3.79 = $.13


TOTAL COST= $19.21