Trading tips for dark displays and prop production.
Thanks for the nice comments. I'm even happier with them now that they are dry and decorating my living room. :D
monstermash wrote:They are gorgeous, all of them. If I were making them (and I might just do that) I might be tempted to stick a few LED's behind their bottom jaw area so the mouth cavity glows a little bit.
My party is mid-day, so there was no need for them to glow. But, if you did that, you might need more depth to create a bigger cavity. Also, I think you'd need to use a lighter color for the back to let the light bounce off.
monstermash wrote:So what's the main theme for this year then Mes? Is it pumpkin themed or general halloween or something completely different?
This year we're going to be ninjas. I just decided to do a general Halloween theme for decorations. I can't spend another year making a bunch of things I can't reuse. :?

I will reuse the haunted house and instead of scary things, I'm going to make it a bit like a maze. That way I can call it a ninja house. :thumbsup:

I'm going to have walls that close in on you. I'll have loose fabric on either side. I'll have fans on both sides. When someone walks through, the fans will turn on and should blow the fabric all around them. I have to do some testing though to see if I can get it to work ...

I'll have some other stuff as well.
These are absolutely sensational. Truly, they are amazing quality and as usual look like professional props. Your annual display is one of the highlights of Halloween for me and I can't wait to see the final reveal.

I have been well and truly inspired by these. Foam is very expensive here so I am restricted to 2D, flat versions from 5mm MDF. If I ever finish them!
Raven wrote:
keifferone wrote:WOW. Excuse me as I pick my jaw up off the floor.
That's what I just tripped on!! :x

LOL Thanks I needed a laugh today dear.
keifferone - Thanks! And, don't worry about the lost jaw. I'll make you a foam pumpkin jaw you can use instead :P
nosferatu wrote:These are absolutely sensational. Truly, they are amazing quality and as usual look like professional props. Your annual display is one of the highlights of Halloween for me and I can't wait to see the final reveal.
Nos, I'm flattered. And your comment and mascot versions couldn't have come at a better time. I always seem to hit a low right at the beginning of Oct. Maybe it's the transition from big projects to little projects, I don't know. But, I'm in better spirits this week. :phantom:

However, don't get too excited for this year's decorations. I'm not doing too much more. And compared to last year, it's going to look like I'm really slacking ... :oops:
My last large project for this year was a Halloween sign. It will go in my photo spot with the ZP mascots. I'm going to have a light and dark purple background. I'll put up some sheets of fabric - light purple, dark purple, light purple, dark purple, ...

Here's the sign idea/diagram:

And here are the pieces all cut out:

In the top side corners I made some vine ornaments just in case I couldn't work out a good system for the spider webs in the corners.

The corner spider webs:

For the longest time, I was trying to think of how I was going to use thread/string to make cool looking spider webs (not cheesy looking shoelaces.) I was thinking about the thread size, color, how I would paint them, etc. Then on the way to the store it hit me that I could just use wire. So much simpler and easier to work with.

I used a dark brown wire. I thought a white wire or silver wire would stand out too much. Turned out the brown wire was too dark to really see the spider webs.

So, I painted the webs with a metalic silver. It worked out well, the webs now stand out, but don't draw too much attention to themselves. All's well that ends well I guess.

I also moved the "happy" down below the pumpkin. It was easier to read and didn't look as crowded.

Here's the sign:
Last edited by mesmark on Sat Sep 03, 2016 7:59 am, edited 2 times in total.
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By nosferatu
I'm with zombombie on this one, I'd have that up all year too. That's better than any decorations we have commercially available in the UK. I love those webs, such a great idea and they look stunning.

Can't wait to see it in all its purple glory.
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By pagemaster1993
I believe you are one of our best prop makers. Keep up the good work.
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By ghostface
pagemaster1993 wrote:I believe you are one of our best prop makers. Keep up the good work.
Totally agree. Beautiful sign mesmark!
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By shaft28
Love these man, I mean they are amazing!
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By monstermash
That sign is beautiful. It's got the perfect mix of spooky and fun. The stylised vine edging is great. It's all great.
User avatar
By mesmark
Thanks for the nice comments on the sign. I was able to get the webs to work and so i was happy about that. The sign looked pretty good in the photo spot with my ZP pumpkins:


those are just 2 of the party guests. We took a picture in the photo spot, but there are too many of us for you to really see the props :D


I didn't make much more. I made swords for the family, 6 short swords and 6 long swords.

first I made the cross guards:

those were pretty easy. I just drilled holes and then used a jigsaw to cut out the center. Ninja swords are much easier than pirate swords since the hilts don't have knuckle guards.

then I cut out some blades and handles and slid them into the cross guards. I also sanded them to give them a blade edge:

I also made scabbards for each. Here they are painted with back shoelace from the dollar store wrapped around the handle:

For the party this year, I made a ninja house. Here is a look at the outside:

I painted the pillars from my pirate deck gray to match the scene. I added a small family crest above the doorway. There was a group of famous ninjas from my town and that was their actual crest. I also added some throwing star targets to either side in order to sell the scene :)

add ninjas and it works ... maybe ...


As you step inside the house, there were some bamboo that I cut from the forest. They were hanging a bit like wind chimes. Back in the ninja days, ninjas would hang these in the forest on a trip wire. When intruders came into their territory, they bamboo would clank and warn the ninjas. So, when people walked through mine, the ninjas would know someone was in the house.

There was spot with a ramp the kids had to walk up. over the ramp, I had a sheet hanging down over the ramp, like a "U". The idea was that the pathway would get smaller. As they walked up the ramp, they would need to duck down and crawl under the sheet. Here's a photo of the ramp almost completed:

We did build the closing wall segment. I got a hold of a sensor we used to turn on two fans as they walked down a small portion of the hallway. The fans blew the fabric walls, making them close in on the guests. It worked OK. Definitely not like the image in my head, but it's really my fault. I used my Egyptian sheets for the fabric, but I should have bought a lighter material, something like a windbreaker fabric.

The physics of the fans in small areas made it so they couldn't pull enough air to really get the effect I was looking for. When I tested with the Egyptian sheets, I had the fan set in an open space and it worked wonderfully. Anyway, live and learn.

Inside the ninja house is was really dark and set up more like a maze. We had two projections from AtmosFear running. One was the new skeleton video on one wall and the other was a creepy-crawlies video with spiders on the floor. As a game, my son was hiding in the dead spaces of the maze. If people could find him, he gave them some candy. My son said it was a lot of fun. People would be really close to him and not see him. I was glad to hear that since I basically made him work for a good party of the party.

That's it for this year. Thanks for taking the journey with me. A little late, but ... Happy Halloween!
Last edited by mesmark on Sat Sep 03, 2016 8:08 am, edited 2 times in total.