Introduction: Rotoff the Deadnose Reindeer

Picture of Rotoff the Deadnose Reindeer

If you take a deer skull and cross it with a wire Christmas Reindeer frame what do you get?
Well, I guess the answer to that could be more than one thing, but I ended up with a 2 time award winning, rotted and grotesque looking reindeer suitable for Halloween. LOL!!

Step 1: Step 1

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First get yourself a deer skull. Mine came from my brother-in-law who got it from a butcher during deer season. They just throw them away so you can probably get one for free. Only problem is, it's gonna be whole and you will either have to clean it all yourself or wait until the spring and let the nasty little bugs do it for you. (**Note - you should check on the laws in your area about possessing wildlife remains. I have heard that in some states it's a no-no.) After it is all cleaned off you are going to have to re-attach the lower jaw. I drilled a hole and attached it with small screws. Be careful not to tighten too tight or you will crack the bones. If you are going to remove any teeth, you should do so before attaching the jaw. It will be much easier. While you have your drill out, drill one or two holes in the top of the head for antlers (size of hole(s) will depend on the base of the antlers you chose) and a small hole in the back of the skull to attach to the wire frame.

Step 2: Step 2

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What to do for antlers? Well, I just took a branch from my corkscrew willow tree and painted it black. I liked the twisted branches because it gave him more of a wild look. But you can use anything you can think of really. Currently I am working on upgrading Rotoff's antlers and will post a pic when they are completed.

Step 3: Step 3

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Now you can begin corpsing the skull. I used the liquid latex over cotton batting technique but there are different techniques for corpsing, so go with what you are most comfortable with.

Step 4: Step 4

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Time to prep the frame. First remove the motor mechanism if it is an animated deer. The head will be too heavy for this motor so take it off so you can use it for something else. Next cut the head of the deer off with a hacksaw or your tool of choice, but leave the top piece of wire to slide the head onto. If it is an animated deer, you will also have to secure the neck to the body of the deer in whatever position you want. I used zip ties. Next cover the body with chicken wire so that when you go to corpse the body it does not sag in between the wire sections. You can either use chicken wire on the legs or go with the spray foam to give it more dimension. Take Styrofoam poster board and cut it to fit inside the leg areas. Now spray the foam to give it musculature. Take another piece of Styrofoam poster board and rap it around the underside of the midsection and use the spray foam to create a few ribs. Design something for a tail. I used a piece of chicken wire and attached it to the back end.
If you plan on lighting your deer, now is the time to do it. I used 2 strings of orange lights (replacing 2 with green for the eyes and one purple one for the nose) but I am sure that LED lights would be much easier if you know how to do them. To secure the lights in the eye sockets, I used rope caulk. I lined the eye sockets with a piece of a disposable aluminum pan to reflect more of the light. Leave the extra lights hanging out on both sides of the skull where it attaches to the body. Once you have any lighting you want to do completed, attach the head.

Step 5: Step 5

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Corpse the entire body making sure to overlap onto the skull. Now you will have a deer that looks like a ghost. LOL!! It would be wise at this point to cut/poke a few holes in the underside of the deer so that any rain that may enter through the open mouth of the deer can drain out.

Step 6: Step 6

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Now you are ready to stain it. You will need at least 3 different colors of stain. I used oak, maple and mahogany. I used the oak (darkened slightly with a bit of the maple) to cover the body. Then I used the maple to darken creases and areas of the hanging/torn pieces of flesh. The first pic is with just the oak and maple stains applied. The following 2 pics are with the 3rd color - a reddish mahogany - to give it more of a dried blood look.

Step 7: Step 7

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Once the stain is dry you will want to seal your creation to protect it from the elements. I used polyurethane and applied it liberally. I even applied it to the teeth to help protect them too.

Step 8: Step 8 - Optional

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This step is an option. I used horse hair to give Rotoff a little bit more freakiness. You can apply as little or as much as you like. Use a bit of the liquid latex to attach it. Then use stain to blend it in. Finally seal the areas. I like the look of the hair when the wind blows. It give Rotoff a bit of animation.

Step 9: Step 9

Picture of Step 9

Time for some reins. I bought 5 black faux leather belts at the dollar store (one for the neck and 2 for each side) cut the belt buckles and part with the notches off. Sew, stitch rivet or tape 2 of them together for each side of the reins. Measure and cut a piece for the collar. Now poke holes through the collar and reins for the lights. I taped the wire between each light to the back of the straps but it's not mandatory. Don't worry about the extra lights. They will be concealed inside the "Slay" with Crisp Kringle. You can also use the extra lights to light part of the Slay if you choose. I used 2 of them to light the eyes of the skull on the back of the Slay.

Step 10: Step 10

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Make a Slay & corpse to drive the Slay. I used a Blucky, corpsed it and dressed it in a black robe from the dollar store. I used a witches hat with the brim cut off for the elf/santa hat. The Slay is constructed from insulating foam board that you can get at any Lowes or Home Depot. I believe I used the 3/4 inch. The drawback to using foam as opposed to a thinner plywood is that it will break if you are not careful. The wind can also snap it. However, it does have it's advantages. It is lighter weight and much easier to cut when doing more detailed things like flames and cobwebs.
Well, that is it! You know have a creepy Reindeer for Halloween. Hope you have as much fun as I did in making him!


miamitreasure (author)2013-09-20

I am in awe... Halloween is my Favorite time of the year and I am definately, with full Credits to you, going to copy this Idea!

Thank You very much! I love seeing other people's take on things I make! If I were doing this again, I know there are some things I would change up, like better shaping in the legs & body. If you do make one, be sure to let me know so I can check it out! :)

DreMMoore (author)2011-03-09

What material did you use for the corpsing?

I used cotton batting and liquid latex. It is best to use 100% cotton batting, rather than the polyester type. The cotton batting can be found at stores like JoAnn Fabrics. It comes in a roll and you will need to tear pieces off. The sizes of the pieces can vary, it just depends on if you are doing a large flat area or going around a curved area. Make sure that you fray/tear the straight edges of the ends of the roll too. They will blend into the other pieces much better that way.
To apply, coat one side of the cotton batting with liquid latex and then lay it over the item to be corpsed, overlapping each piece. Once you have a layer of it on, you then brush liquid latex over the top of the cotton batting and let it dry.
Hope that helps. If not, let me know.

Quizicat (author)2009-03-19

A red light for the nose would be a nice addition. Though green might be more in the spirit of things.

iain010100 (author)2008-02-07

This will go great with my valentine-themed erotic dungeon.

Complete with undead dominatrix I hope!

"Un" dead? Opps. Now I need to find a van and an isolated swamp.

Somehow I couldn't see myself hooking up with an undead chick. You know she's really got some cobwebs in her rafters and my kidney meds give me a dry mouth as it is. :/

I think it depends on the type of undead. Zombies, while easy, don't make for good conversation, Frankenpeople decay after a while, Werewolves have that whole bi-polar personalty issue, and vampires are too much into blood play and don't stick around in the morning. I guess you have to pick your poison. I guess I'd go with a Zombie, even though she'd keep trying to pick my brain.

omnibot (author)iain0101002008-10-07

Have you guys seen Zombie Strippers?

iain010100 (author)omnibot2008-10-07

No, but I've seen Ninja Cheerleaders. Yes, I know ninjas and cheerleaders are not undead... that we know of.

omnibot (author)iain0101002008-10-07

Ew .. that's creepy.

Shagglepuff (author)2008-10-04

I can imagine the neighbors taking their kids trick-o-treating...
"Hey kids! It's santa! Cmon, lets sing! Rudolph the red nosed rie-HOLY CRAP! What the hell happened to him?

pokiespout (author)2008-09-13

My friend, this is absolutely beautiful. Consider me inspired.

GreenDay (author)2008-02-06


Granny_Leah (author)GreenDay2008-03-14

I don't know what my DH will think of this, but the neighbor kids will go nuts! Bookmarked, thank you.

Oh yeah!! People will go nuts when they see it. LOL!! Although, as mortified as they are to see it for the first time, they can't stop looking at it!! Hee hee hee!! I had people taking pics of it too!! First time I ever had that happen. Good luck with yours, If you need any help just send me a note and I will do my best to help you out!!

dude i am so making this lol

Glad to hear it!! I would love to see someone else make one just to see what they come up with. Make sure you send me a pic!!

though i'm thinking a rotting deer won't be too uncommon near the tennessee mountains lol

ChrissyStarr (author)2008-08-25

This is so hilariously gross!!! Rotoff looks like he came right out of Tim Burton's sketchbook.

cubemonkey (author)2008-02-07

That is pretty f-ing cool!

canida (author)2008-02-06

Wow, that's incredible!
You should go ahead and add it to the 2008 DIYHalloween contest group.

Kiteman (author)canida2008-02-06

Ha, I bet you started that group just for this 'ible!

I don't blame you

canida (author)Kiteman2008-02-07

Indeed! It had been on my to-do list, but this project gave me a solid kick in the pants.

PaHalloweenFreak (author)canida2008-02-06

Thanks for the compliment and the tip on the group. I have joined the group but how do you add something to the contest? Gin

On the top right you'll see a button that says "Add to Group." Click that and then the group name to add it.

Thanks!! I didn't notice that before. I am a newbie here so I guess I need to look the pages over more carefully.

No worries and welcome to Instructables!

GorillazMiko (author)canida2008-02-06

So I can start adding things in right now if I wanted too? Halloween is a long way from now.

wilksterdog (author)2008-02-07

i love the prop as you know ginn! now i need you to make me one!!!!

incorrigible packrat (author)2008-02-06

"Look good to Igor for feasting!!!" ("DOWN Igor, Down! Step away from the keyboard, or it's the dungeon again") Sorry about that. Nice Instructable. My only criticism is that Rotoff looks a little thick about the ankles.

No need to say sorry! He was my first attempt and I always say there is always room for improvement! When you put something like this out there, you have to be able to take the good with the bad. I welcome any input! How else would I be able to improve upon him?!!

I was only apologizing for Igor's impertinence, in wanting to feast on your fine carrion. He's been getting uppity of late, and may soon require corrective administration of the board with nails in it. Excuse me, I must retire for the evening, as the room seems to have started spinning...

darkmuskrat (author)2008-02-06

I just stocked up on some stain for my shop class..... I dont think I will ever look at it the same :P

LinuxH4x0r (author)2008-02-06

AWESOME! this is the best instructable I have seen in a long time! I want one!

code_e (author)2008-02-06

Oh s**t this made me laugh! Awesome work, glad to see there's someone else out there as twisted as I am.

GorillazMiko (author)2008-02-06

This is a really cool Instructable!
The idea is really good, it looks awesome too when painted, and the sled and stuff just look awesome!
But if I were to do this, my parents would go crazy.
Nice job!
+1 rating.
(added to favorites)

Patrik (author)2008-02-06

Hey, I learned a new word - "corpsing"! :-D

Excellent work! I have to admit I like the close-up pictures much better than the ones from far though - the somewhat cartoonish shape of the frame you used in step 4 doesn't fit that well with the ultra-realistic corpse texturing.

woofboy111 (author)2008-02-06

That is amazing! I've always wanted to some sort of twisted Christmas decorations, but I've never gotten anything finished ever. If I put this on my roof I think the nuns that live next door would try having me evicted...

ROTFL!! That is too funny!! Yes, putting something like this out will definitely get you the "So, That's what a crazy person looks like" stare! Luckily most of neighbors already knew I had some screws loose so they were not too shocked! Hee hee hee!

netzuke (author)2008-02-06

great job

PaHalloweenFreak (author)2008-02-06

Thanks for the compliments!!! I never expected Rotoff to turn out so wicked, since this was my first time working with liquid latex and even trying to corpse anything. I had a great instructor though! My friend Grim Daddy answered every question I had (and there were many LOL!!). I also had another friend, Susan who sent me hair from her horse to use. It was a just the right touch, I think. :)

tiuk (author)2008-02-06

Wow, that is twisted. Nice work ;)

alexsolex (author)2008-02-06

well done ! Just seeing the pics, it looks soooo disgusting ! :)

About This Instructable




Bio: I am a Halloween freak!! I love everything creepy & spooky about it. My favorite Halloween things are skulls, skeletons, spiders, cobwebs, gargoyles, bats, vampires and ... More »
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