Introduction: Flayed Human Flesh Table Cloth (or How to Ensure Your Mother-In-Law Never Eats at Your House Again)

Picture of Flayed Human Flesh Table Cloth (or How to Ensure Your Mother-In-Law Never Eats at Your House Again)

Okay, so this is by far my favorite Halloween project so far. It started out as a special commission for a feature horror film called "A House is not a Home" and I had such a fun time doing it and was so happy with the results, I had to make one for myself...and now I'm sharing it with you too.

Please vote for this if you like it...and more importantly, if you make one of your own...send me pics. I can't wait to see it!

Step 1: MATERIALS

Picture of MATERIALS

For this project you will need

1. Acrylic paint in various gory colors. I used the cheap stuff from Michael's (about $1 a bottle or less with coupons) in the following colors: Red, Black, White, Brown.

2. Foam brushes. LOOOTS of foam brushes. You'll go through a ton for this so get a pack of 10 from Michael's for about $4.

3. Liquid Latex. You can pick this up either online or at any Party City, RIP, Spirit Halloween...etc. I bought 4 16oz bottles (about $14 a bottle) and had a bit left over at the end.

4. Headliner foam in tan. You can get this at Joann's fabric. By far the most expensive thing on my list at around $18 a yard, so bring along your coupons when you go. I used a 60% off one and scored 2 yards for around $15.

5. Clear acrylic spray/sealer (for the end)

6. Scissors (not pictured, but I hope you know what they look like already)

7. Waxed leather working thread in black. I got mine at Tandy leather but I think you can also buy it at Michael's in the leather section. I like the thick stuff because it really stands out but it is harder to sew with.

8. BIG sewing needle. I used a leather needle.

9. Hair dryer -- Not essential, but if you're impatient like me, it helps. (see #6 for note about image)

10. Big flat cookie sheet (same as the note for 6)

11. Spray bottle of water

12. Grommets (optional)

Step 2: Measure Twice, Cut Once

Picture of Measure Twice, Cut Once

First thing you want to do is measure out the table you want to cover. I made mine big enough to not only cover my entire table (8 feet long by 3 feet wide) but wrap around at the edges by a good 6 inches. The nice thing about this project is it's supposed to be a patchwork look, so if your fabric isn't wide enough, just hack it into pieces and stitch it together!

Now with the headliner foam, you want to remember that the foam (yellowish) side is the back and the fabric (tan) side is the front...

The reason I use the headliner foam is twofold. First off, it's already a sort of fleshy color which is great and secondly, the foam adds a bit of "spring" to the material when you press it down which mimics the feel of real flesh in just the right way (read: creepy!)

Now it's time to cut out your fleshy bits! (that just sounds wrong).

I started out by marking roughly how I wanted each piece to look by first making a stippled outline using red acrylic paint, but you can also just freehand it as you go along and just cut the fabric into random shapes. I've found by stippling the shapes I wanted, it also helped me cut down on my overall edge painting time, but it's up to you...

Step 3: Paint. Paint. Paint.

Picture of Paint.  Paint.  Paint.

Guess what we do in this step?!? That's right...paint!

Take your acrylic paints and thin them down using water and just start dabbing away on each piece until you get a look you're happy with. I liked making my edges darker and letting it stay lighter towards the middle of each piece to help really sell the idea that these are bruised and abused pieces of flayed flesh.

I found that by spraying the foam pieces with water and really saturating the material, the paint would "crawl" along and help diffuse any brush marks, making it really look good and real.

I did a lot of layering and subtle shading to try to get the depth I wanted to the look. You can see in the photos where there are painted pieces next to unpainted pieces just how I worked from the edges in towards the center.

Use your brushes to not only add in the bruising, but faint blood vessels as well. I did my vessels in a red/brown blend and then spritzed them with water to fade them a bit so they look more "sub-dermal." We'll get to exterior veins in a bit...just wait. :)

Once they're dry (here's where you can use your hair dryer if you're impatient!), brush a coat of liquid latex over the top of each piece. It'll be white at first, but as it dries, it'll turn to clear so don't worry.

**Note** Liquid latex contains AMMONIA which STINKS and is also really bad for your lungs. Once I started using the latex, I moved my project out into the garage for better air circulation.

Step 4: CRUMPLE!

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Once your first coat of latex is dry take each piece and crumple it up just like you'd ball up a piece of trash paper. Don't compress it too hard, you're not actually throwing it away...you just want to give the surface of the material some wrinkles and creases (I call it character...)

Step 5: MORE Painting...more Latex...and Now Some Stitching Too!

Picture of MORE Painting...more Latex...and Now Some Stitching Too!

Once you've painted your pieces with the acrylic paint, added on your first latex layer and lightly crumpled them all...it's time to really get to the "meat" of the project. Ha ha!

First thing I did was put all my pieces together in the order I wanted them. The clamps you see in the picture were more to hold down the edges I'd extended past the table so I wouldn't keep bumping into them and knocking them onto the ground...nice to have but not necessary. Now that you've got it laid out, time to start stitching your pieces together using the thick wax thread... Use a rough and sloppy stitch. This ain't pretty and we ain't Martha Stewart so make this look as bad (or as good) as you want! As you stitch each piece down, you also want to start brushing on the second coat of latex.

Again, this ain't Martha so get sloppy with that latex. You want to make sure you cover every part of the surface of your material, but don't worry about some spots being thinner or thicker than others...this adds to the idea that you're using actual flesh for your table and helping disguise the fact that it's fabric.

You can see in the photos how the latex goes on white, but dries to a clear(ish) finish.

***Note*** Dog is optional assistant. You don't need one in order to make this project work, but it helps.

Step 6: You're So Vein!

Picture of You're So Vein!

Now that we've stitched things together and put on another coat of latex, it's time to start adding in some gore!

First you want to pour out a tiny bit of latex into a shallow dish. Add in some of your acrylic paint and mix it up until you have a color you like.

Now you get to use the cookie sheet! Using a foam brush, lightly brush a thin layer of latex on the surface of the metal. Then...wait! The latex will dry quickly but if you're in a rush, you can always use your handy hair dryer.

Once the latex is dry, gently rub your fingers along the edge of the sheet to start creating a "roll." Roll the latex up into long worms. Don't worry, latex loves to stick to itself so this will be a simple task!

Roll your veins as thick or as thin as you want and then peel them off the cookie sheet.

Figure out where you want them on your stitched flesh pieces and put down another thin layer of latex "glue." Gently press your veins into these spots and let the latex dry. If you find your veins aren't sticking down exactly as you want, you can first dry your latex glue a bit with the hairdryer until it's good and tacky and then stick them down.

Once you have them where you want them, go over them with another coat or two of latex to help seal them in. This keeps them from not only not peeling off, but makes it look like they're a part of the skin.

But why limit yourself to just veins? I've peeled dried latex out of the bottoms of my paint dishes before and just stuck that down and it looks equally disgusting! Play around with this stuff...make it nasty!

Step 7: Almost Done!

Picture of Almost Done!

We're so close to being finished, I can almost taste it! Now comes the final steps.

PROTECT: Yup. Spray that puppy with a good coat of your acrylic sealer. Now for this you have two choices...if you want a "gooey" look, go with crystal clear. If you want a slightly softer look, go for matte. For this one I did a combination of the two, first hitting the entire piece with matte and then focusing in on spots where I wanted high gloss (ie, wet blood spots)

OPTIONAL STEP: Grommets. I put these on because we wrapped the edges around the table and used cord to zigzag tie the material down. This kept it flat as well as slightly stretched it out...it also kept it from slipping and sliding.

Step 8: Bask in the Glory of Your Disgusting Creation!

Picture of Bask in the Glory of Your Disgusting Creation!

Congratulations! You've made something that would make any serial killer proud! Now sit back and enjoy looking at your new table cover...or better yet, put it to good use this Halloween and throw the most disgusting dinner party ever. Just be careful when you post photos on social media...you might have some explaining to do!

SHAMELESS SELF PLUG: Like I said in the intro...this was originally done as a prop for the film "A House is Not a Home." If you want to see it in action, feel free to check it out!

Trailer here:

I have even more disgustingly delicious recipes available online both through Instructables.com as well as my blog, The Necro Nom-nom-nomicon. Enjoy and have a deliciously disgusting Halloween!!

Comments

SebastianW1 (author)2016-10-13

I have a feeling like human skin leather would not be that thick. Even very heavy tanned cow hides are not that thick. I get the impression human leather is actually fairly thin. The irregular shapes also don't make much sense logically. But it obviously reads very well for the camera!

WeyrCat1 (author)2016-06-09

Needs a "discrete" tattoo; so it can't be confused with pig.

vorbmage (author)2016-05-31

I think I'm in love

woadandbones (author)2015-10-21

You are officially one of my favorite people.

gravityisweak (author)2014-09-22

This would also be a great choice for anyone making a Necronomicon style book cover. But what about keeping it a vaguely human shape, and adding a fake head to one end, and using it as a throw rug in front of the fireplace. A macabre interpretation of the polar bear type rug.

lspurgeon1 (author)gravityisweak2015-09-15

totally EPIC idea!

Miffietills1988 (author)2015-09-11

LOL, I'm going to make one and add ruffles to the edges. BECAUSE REASONS. Love it!

ArtH5 (author)2015-09-10

I bought a really cheap leather abron/gloves welding set from Harbor Freight and I'm wondering if I could use this technique to turn them in to human skin. Any thoughts on using acrylics and latex on leather??

dmnknite (author)2015-09-10

So about how much did this project cost you..Working on a tight budget but it's too cool to pass up

moonchylde (author)2015-09-09

I kinda want to make this and use it to reupolster some armchairs...

RavenWolf666 (author)2015-03-16

i may have been reading this out loud in front of my family... i got to "Now it's time to cut out your fleshy bits!" before i noticed... i may need to find a new family... btw do you think it would be possible to do this like a blanket; mabey some sort of quilted insulation sewed under it?

rolltidehank (author)2014-09-18

Very House Bolton of you!

rattleshirt (author)rolltidehank2014-10-20

Exactly what I was thinking!

George RR should make one for his office!

resika (author)2014-10-17

Question: will this work on pleather? I need it for a garment project

Tye Rannosaurus (author)resika2014-10-20

I have no idea how it would work on pleather.

Keep in mind that latex needs a surface to grab onto and that pleather might be too smooth and the latex would peel off or lift off instead of soaking in and really becoming a part of the material. If you get it to work...post photos and tell me how you did it! Good luck!

SkyProductions (author)2014-10-12

This is my new favorite thing. Hands down. Holy moly wow fabulous job!

samuraiseopro (author)2014-09-22

That is sick... just to come up with that gotta have a really warped mind

you think this is warped...just wait for the Halloween food contest entries I'm putting up after the 25th. This is sick and gross, but I really bring out the big guns when it comes to food. Yay!

wolfgang64 (author)2014-10-05

I'm sorry This is very cool But I am grossed out.

no need to apologize...the fact that you're grossed out and it's nothing more than foam and paint means I did my job right...so actually, that's a compliment. Thank you!

Steam Titan (author)2014-09-21

About how thick is the foam? I like this Idea and was thinking maybe of making an apron for Halloween of human skin. Might the thin craft foam work in a similar way?

ejensen10 (author)Steam Titan2014-10-06

nice idea!! :O

The foam headliner is around a quarter of an inch or so thick and is pretty durable because it's fabric backed. However, if you want more stability, you can further back it with an even heavier duty material. I have thought about making an apron as well and wanted to use a canvas pre-made apron as a "base" for it and simply sew it to that over the materials. Both Michael's and JoAnn's sells blank canvas aprons for crafting for pretty cheap that would be a perfect base for this idea and in a variety of colors (red could be awesome as sort of "blood" base...or black...either would be easy to work with!)

wolfgang64 (author)2014-10-05

I'm sorry This is very cool But I am grossed out.

wilgubeast (author)2014-10-02

Great documentation, cool project, and good luck in the contest!

This is the perfect table to serve some https://www.instructables.com/id/Man-Bytes-Corndogs. Or perhaps some https://www.instructables.com/id/Monkey-Brain-Cake/

chrisgward (author)2014-09-26

0/10, not made from real human flesh

LoopyMind (author)chrisgward2014-10-02

Yes very disapointing ... and the fact there's nobody screaming "put the lotion in the basket, PUT THE LOTION IN THE BASKET!!" ;)

Groob (author)2014-09-22

I saw this and my first thought was I need this for my horror tabletop gaming group. They come in to see everything setup as per usual, low-ish lighting and led candles, but after they sit down and roll a few dice and start to see the details...the faces would be great!

eclark9 (author)2014-09-22

Buffalo Bill Comes to mind...

Bwa hahahaha!!!

gearup500 (author)2014-09-22

This is some some rough stuff. Nice job

skarvha (author)2014-09-21

Is it just me or does anyone else think adding nipples takes this to a whole new level!! Awesome design, definately making next year.

Jack Regent (author)2014-09-21

It's very nice, but could use a couple of tatoos.

wolfgang64 (author)2014-09-21

I Don't Know what to say. I know there is a be nice policy bit you have officially kreep me out.

oilitright (author)2014-09-21

If I were to do this I believe the addition of some faded "tattoos" like 'Mom' or a flaming skull. You get the idea. Also I wonder how you might go about simulating a navel?

PeaceNZ (author)2014-09-21

I can only think of one way to make this even the creepiest thing ever. Draw on a couple of tattoos. Make them look a little faded like old ones do. Now that would be creepy.

mknollhoff (author)PeaceNZ2014-09-21

You could use temporary tattoos to give it a realistic look too.

Tye Rannosaurus (author)PeaceNZ2014-09-21

I agree. Looking into how to make this happen...

jsadler1 (author)2014-09-21

A very similar look can be had by using brown paper bags and crumpling them up, then sort of flattening them out again as you wet them with dyes and a sealer. It is used to make some wonderful flooring and can be sturdy and permanent. One might try to cut shapes that looked like an arm or foot had been skinned and maybe some numbers tattooed on the arm as well as a shocker. Google paper bag floors for details.

Tye Rannosaurus (author)jsadler12014-09-21

those sound like great ideas and certainly a good alternative for someone trying to make this on a smaller budget than the foam allows (at around $15-17 a yard). If you've done something similar, it would be fun to see it! My only question is, how is it for durability and flexibility? I think for a floor it would be really cool, but for costume applications, would it be soft enough to wrap and sew like fabric? Very curious!

jsadler1 (author)Tye Rannosaurus2014-09-21

If created for fabric rather than flooring adjustments would have to be made. As flooring it is durable. But applied to fabric is another case altogether. For example for flooring the glue is used to coat the entire piece both top and bottom. That would make fabric too stiff so thinner glue and less of it would be required. Also the bag pieces may take two weeks to shrink down to make a flat floor and if fabric was involved the fabric would need to be tightly stretched during drying in order for the paper to flatten. Numerous tints or paints are used and that would also be a consideration and top coats have been either epoxy or polyurethane. It all suggests to me that formed fabrics like a motorcycle saddle cover or form fitted table cloth would work out but bedding might not be the right place for the idea to be implemented. You can find a huge repository of beautiful bag floors online in every style and color.

Manape (author)2014-09-20

Love it, Next one you need to add one or two face panels so that people know that it was human.

Tye Rannosaurus (author)Manape2014-09-21

I am actually molding an ear this weekend to see if I can incorporate it into a new one I'm working on as well. I'll keep you posted.

Manape (author)Tye Rannosaurus2014-09-21

It looks like the work if Ed Gein.

plindo1 (author)2014-09-21

I think a few strategically crafted tattoos here and there would make it more up to date. Come on everyone has ink now a days. lol very creative for sure

Tye Rannosaurus (author)plindo12014-09-21

I actually consulted a friend of mine who does special fx makeup on sets and we talked about a few options to give this a try and I'm thinking I'll give a few a shot and report back as to which way works the best (paper transfer temporary tattoos or hand inking them on). Will keep you guys posted.

Giu5liano (author)plindo12014-09-21

A good butterfly tramp stamp wouldn't hurt.

surethingdollface (author)2014-09-21

Some people would call this a Halloween instructable... I for one see this as a fine decor choice all year round :D. Definitely going to try this! Thank you for this wonderful instructable.

dpiccine (author)2014-09-21

HEEL YEAH! I definitely need some of this to scare the mother in law forever! hahahaha! You got it dude!

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Bio: Just a writer living in Hollywood making ends meet by doing costume design and props on the side!
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