Saturday, November 8, 2008
Grim: Step by step
I have had a lot of questions about my "Grim" prop that I built for 2008. I plan to put a full blown tutorial on my website sometime, but for now here is a brief step-by-step tutorial with some never before seen pictures.
I stated with a basic wooden frame, made from 1X2's and 1X3's. I actually stood in the position I wanted "Grim" to be standing in so that I could get the angles of the arms and legs right. I wanted the legs and arms really long and the torso a little smaller.
I came up with this idea from seeing the three skulls on a rope decoration, and thought that Grim needed to be holding these as sort of his "captives". I wanted them to have rather happy faces, as they do not realize the terror they are about to experience. I lit these using three small candelabra sockets that I got from Lowe's, and 4 watt nightlight bulbs.
Next, I covered parts of the body in chicken wire to break up the blocky look, and made a few "thorn-like" projections. I made the hands and feet out of wire coat hangers, paper towels and duct tape. I also ran the wire at this point for the light that would be in the head, and the string of pumpkins that he would be holding.
I used paper mache for the skin, (paper towels, and an Elmer's glue and water mixture: mixed to about a 50/50 ratio). I used both brown and white paper towels... no particular reason, I just had both and was experimenting. The brown paper towels were probably stronger, but wouldn't stick as good as the white paper towels. I used about three layers of these all over the body. While it was still drying I dipped sections of different kinds of rope and cord in the Elmer's glue and water mixture, and wrapped them around the legs, body and arms randomly. I wanted these to have a vine-like appearance, and look kind of like they were just growing wildly. I also tore paper towels into long stringy looking pieces and randomly placed these around in different places.
Last, I painted him flat black as a base coat, then went back over that with a couple of shades of brown. I also added some cheesecloth that was dyed brown and shredded up. I put this around the torso area. The head was a foam "Funkin" that I carved and airbrushed. I lit it the same way that I lit the smaller pumpkins, with a candelabra socket and 4 watt bulb.
That's pretty much it, the total cost to build this was probably about $40.00, with the head being about half of that cost. (I had a lot of the materials on-hand though, if I had to buy everything to make just this prop, it might have been about $60.00.)
Grim at 11/08/2008
Thanks a ton for the how to. This is such an amazing prop and its always nice to see how it was done.ReplyDelete
This will be a big help with an idea I'm working on.
Not to mention just wanting to steal the idea. ;-)
you make it sound so easy,it only took simple materials to make,and in the end it turned out to be this tall evil pumpkin with the grin of satisfaction of holding its three victims. great jobReplyDelete
cant wait to see how you made your lanterns
I have not worked with chicken wire yet but I will have to for the new stuff. Forming chicken wire has me confused.ReplyDelete
It's not too bad really. The most irritating part is it wants to stay rolled up when you cut a piece off. I just wear a good pair of work gloves and mash, bend, and staple it the way I want it. I use a lot of staples to attach it to the wood and a lot of small zip ties to hold it all together. Also, a pair of needle nose pliers will come in handy to wrap the loose ends of wire (where you have cut it) through other loops in the chicken wire to help hold it together.ReplyDelete
Also, one roll of chcken wire will go a looooong way. I bought two small rolls over two years ago and have made three monster mud men, used some for Grim, two cloaked ghosts, and a couple of other things and still have over half of it left. So buy one roll to start with, it will last a while.ReplyDelete
How did you connect the pumpkin head to the wood post? The photos don't seem to show the wood coming through into the empty cavity of the head. I'm putting a light socket in the cavity, as you did, but I don't want people to be able to see a large wood post inside the head. Thoughts?ReplyDelete
The post actually goes into the head about three inches (I cut it off shorter than it is in the pictures where you can see it), but it isn't very visible. I cut a slot in the back of the head the same size as the 1X3, and just slid it on. If you cut the slot out just big enough to get the 1X3 in, it will fit tight and stay on without any glue or anything like that.ReplyDelete
Our Son of Grim has the frame and chicken wire all fleshed (bad pun) out. On to the paper and glue. We were slightly surprised how much he leans.... we made SoG wider than the Father and so it just may be that the simple wood screw and 1x2 joints can't stand up to the weight. Required a lot of reinforcement and redrilling. Sounds like there are a few copycat Grim builders out there, so they should be aware that too much weight will start to pull Grim over. I've already resigned to drilling stake holes in the feet to secure him to the ground.ReplyDelete
How did you build the feet to stand up? I am having trouble figuring out how you attached the legs to the bottom.ReplyDelete
I basically made two triangular shaped pieces to start with, and attached them to the bases with screw coming through from the bottom. Then used to long pieces for the "shins" and attached them to both sides of that triangular piece, and put screws through from the bottom on those also. It doesn't have to be a very big piece, if it's too big it will mess up the look of your foot. Then when you get to the "thigh", use one board attached to the middle of the two "shin" pieces. Hope that helps... you can see it a little bit in the picture where you can see the wooden "skeleton".ReplyDelete
How does this hold up in rain being made of paper mâché? Love love the design!ReplyDelete
It holds up better than you might think. I usually wait for it to dry before I move it, because it can get a little soft. Usually, If I know it's going to rain, I'll move it under the front porch or something. It has been in the rain a few times, and still looks about the same. For future projects, I'm going to brush on a coat of flat black for the base instead of using flat black spray paint like I used to, so hopefully it will help protect my props from rain, etc.ReplyDelete
Love this prop!!!ReplyDelete
I am just curious as to how wide you made the base? I have all the materials, and was guessing about 2' wide. I am creating my diagram before building. Just trying to get dimensions right for balance.ReplyDelete
My family and I are doing this guy, thank you soooo much for the how to and the fun idea!! I would love to send pictures just don't know where... if you would like you can email me where to at firstname.lastname@example.org.ReplyDelete
Kathryn, 2 feet sounds about right. I think I could have made them a little smaller and it would have still worked fine.ReplyDelete
Love it.. we just finished the basic skeleton of it... thanks for all the tips.. is there how to steps on the other creatures??ReplyDelete
Thanks, Sam... I see you found the one for the ghost also. There might be one showing the inside of a groundbreaker and how I used to make the skulls for them around here somewhere. :)ReplyDelete
Thanks yes I found how make the the heads using the skull thanks..ReplyDelete
Where did you find a foam pumpkin large enough?ReplyDelete
You can look in hobby lobby.Delete
I used a "Funkin" that I got at Michael's several years ago. I haven't been able to find them locally for a couple of years, though. :(ReplyDelete
Do you remember the size? I found one that is 11.5" x 15", will that be big enough? We made him almost 7' tall. This is the coolest project I have found! Thank you for posting this and the how too!!!ReplyDelete
We built ours bigger too, about 10 feet. I am making the head out of paper mache also. I'm using a large plastic pumpkin for the shape then I'll just take it off to finish. Good luckDelete
I don't know exactly... that sounds about right, though.ReplyDelete
Do u have any dimensions?ReplyDelete
Not anything specific, I just made it up as I went. The whole thing stands about 5 feet tall.ReplyDelete
I have a question about the base at the very bottom.... how did you get a flat wooden base in that "X" formation... did you have to use some kind of metal enforment under neath?ReplyDelete
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
I used two pieces that were about 2 feet long to make an "X", then cut four additional smaller pieces that I attached to the longer pieces to make them look even and flat across. I attached the feet of Grim with screws through the bottom of the X. I think I could have easily made them even smaller, maybe 1' by 1', and they would have worked ok.ReplyDelete
Here is one version, a little different from how I did it but it should still work.ReplyDelete
what size screws did you use to hold everything together?ReplyDelete
Any idea how much total lumber (in feet) was used to build the frame?ReplyDelete
I can't remember exactly what size screws... I have a big box with four different sizes of drywall screws in it and I would just grab the right size out of there.ReplyDelete
I really don't know how much wood I used, either. I usually have a good supply in my shop to grab from, and I'll just go back and buy more 1X2's, 1X3's, etc. when I run out.
If you coat him with a productReplyDelete
used for roof coating ie
Elastomeric Roof Patch, it will
be totally waterproof. Product
is white and can be purchased
from any home building supply
stores. He is really neat...
Hi, did you ever create the full blown tutorial of this project?ReplyDelete
I really love it and I'm planning on making this one. Awesome job.
I wish I had been able to, but I never had the time to. I should probably go back and edit that out, because I probably will never get around to doing that. :)Delete
We've had two more children since then (3 boys) and I started school again a couple of years ago, so that cut the time I had available to work on Halloween props down to a fraction of the time I used to have.
I'm in the process of planning this out. Which btw, what an amazing job you did here. Love it.ReplyDelete
So I'm thinking of doing this in PVC using 45 and 90 and T elbows.
I read that you used Chicken wire so it won't have that blocky look to it.
So my question is since I'm using pvc and it is round, should I use or need chicken wire?
You would probably be ok without the chicken wire. I'd make sure to add some lumps, wrinkles, etc. so the arms and legs don't look too cylindrical. Good luck!ReplyDelete
Thanks Grim. I think I'm going with the wood. I just came from HD after like hours in there pricing.ReplyDelete
Between all the pvc pipes, elbows, T's, etc. it was gonna be close to $100.
With wood only $25. Plus I already have the wood at home so basically it's free, or at least no money out of pocket right now.
Plus I was talking to an employee and he said it might be a bit flimsy and wobly, especially since I plan to make it 6 - 7 feet tall.
He said that if I want it sturdy and strong, wood is best.
Would you agree?
I would think so... Wood will definitely be cheaper and less likely to wobble. Mine has a little movement, but not much. Also, mine is about five feet tall, so you may be able to use slightly larger sizes of wood.ReplyDelete
Make it modular so you can take it apart. Ours separates into torso, shoulders/arms and head.ReplyDelete
One more question. Did you use any paper mache clay? You know like the ones they use with toilet paper of cellulose insulation.ReplyDelete
Or did you just use the Paper towels and then painted it?
Just paper towels and 50/50 mixture of Elmer's Glue and water. I tried some brown paper towels, but they didn't work that well. Kleenex Viva are the best.ReplyDelete
Every used Newspaper? Wondering what the difference would be and if one's better than the other.ReplyDelete
Sorry for the many Q's. It's my first and just trying to get the right stuff ya know.
Just came from WalMart and man they had like 4 different kinds of Kleenex Viva ;-)
Oh the decisions!!!
You've been awesome. Thank you.
I've used newspapers to make skulls before, but it's very time consuming. I've never used them on anything big, I don't think they'd be as strong.ReplyDelete
You've been amazing. Thanks.ReplyDelete
One last question. How many layers did you do of the paper towel?
Nevermind the last question. I just read that you did about 3 layers.ReplyDelete
I'm almost done with mine. All I need is the paper mache, some paint, and that's pretty much it. I'd love to send you a pic of the final finished look.
Not sure yet if I'll make my own pumpkin head. I'll leave that for the end to see if I find one cheap and a local store.
Anyway, Thanks a ton for everything.
Ok, what if I just sent you $200 to make it and ship it to me ;)ReplyDelete
Perhaps my contractor friend can do for me. I really need to get my Halloween Groove back. It's been gone for 4 years now (due to my daughter's almost fatal accident, which took me down over time after her long recovery)
I love this!!! Thank you so much for sharing!ReplyDelete
This is incredible! You said you airbrushed the head. Any suggestions on colors/ styles if we don't have an airbrush-er? ��ReplyDelete
Ok! I am about to attempt this! Wish me luck!! I can't wait to show you what he looks like when finished! Thanks for the info on the build!ReplyDelete
Almost finished! He should be ready Saturday so I'll post pic. I ran out of elmers glue and found a big jug of wallpaper paste! It worked perfect!!!Delete
I just finished up the form on this and am starting the paper mache. It looks AWESOME! I had to brace up his arms with small brackets to give it more stability, and I used romex shaped and taped with clothes hanger wire for his hands and feet. I also went over the chicken wire with drywall tape, which I think will help hide the chicken wire better under the paper mache. The drywall tape also helps form his hips and joints (wrapped multiple times). The head is going to be a paper mache pumpkin that I'm going to form with a punch balloon and twine. This is going to be the best prop at our party!ReplyDelete
We are building this Grim this year too...just finished the wooden base and the chicken wire..on to the next step of paper mache-ing We are going to try a base of newspaper (we have lots of it here) and then we will paper towel over it Hope it works!! Awesome project!!!ReplyDelete
I absolutely loved how this turned out. Great job! and thanks for posting this. How did you attach the head?ReplyDelete
Like the look, I am wondering how it holds up in the rain, that seems to be my only drawback with alot of prop ideasReplyDelete
JustAnotherBoof: Thank you. It won't hold up in the rain unless we use polyurethane paint and brush it over the body because it's wood, chicken wire and newspaper. And, instead of using the elmers/water combo, I had a couple buckets of wallpaper paste. It worked like a gem! Plus saved $$ rather than buying glue.ReplyDelete
any chance you have any measurements on the feet/legs/torso/etc?ReplyDelete
I don't... Just made it up as I went and didn't really measure anything. Sorry!ReplyDelete
Did you ever get around to posting your step by step tutorial?ReplyDelete
No... This post got so many questions, I think it should be easy to figure out by now.Delete
Hi Grim, appreciate all your input here...I'm starting this project now and am at a loss as to where I can acquire the candelabra wiring. Is this available at ACE, OSH or other standard hardware shores or possibly a craft store like Michaels or Beverly's?ReplyDelete
I just used a brown extension cord, and cut off the female end. This is the same method I use for anything I have that requires electricity.Delete
How did it hold up with the weather. Did you seal it or anythingReplyDelete
It holds up well in light rain/damp weather. I usually move it under cover if I'm expecting heavy rain. I just have to be careful moving it if it does get wet, or just let it dry before I move it, because it gets a little soft. I did not deal it with anything, just used paint.Delete
It is electric powered.ReplyDelete
Sorry Curtis, I didn't mean to delete your comment. I hit delete thinking I was deleting the email, but it deleted your comment.ReplyDelete
Hi did you ever get a chance to set up another site with more detailed instructions? I a m having trouble enlarging your pictures.ReplyDelete
How does the head attach?ReplyDelete
The head just slides on, on the one I made.ReplyDelete
Ivette, sorry but I have not.
I just completed a version of this. I give all credit to you, as this prop inspired me. Thank you for sharing and not giving an exact step-by-step as I needed to get creative. I would love to show some pixtures, but didnt see where I could attach. Thank you again for the inspiration and how-toReplyDelete
That's cool, Ben! If you want, you can send pics to email@example.com. I'd love to see what you created. Thanks!Delete
Thank you for posting this!! Such a cool unique decoration - I am making one based on your steps, I am curious if you guys used a specific paint (waterproof, outdoor.. etc.) or if you just used some that had laying around already?ReplyDelete
Wife and I are making this. Thank you for the idea and the replies. I've been able to get what I need from the responses. Will send you pictures once we finish. -JoseReplyDelete
Dalyce, I just used spray paint and watered down acrylic paint, I didn't water proof it at all.ReplyDelete
I love this Grimm and have made him before. I made another one this year because my original one was damaged by the rain. This time I sealed him with Flexseal. I'm excited to see how he holds up. Thanks for the wonderful inspiration.ReplyDelete